In my second trimester of pregnancy, I put together a series of Instagram polls and questions asking real moms about their experience in giving birth, and for their best pregnancy and labour tips, catered towards first time moms. I received hundreds of replies and, for the most part, found reading their pregnancy and labour tips both interesting and therapeutic. Knowing that countless women have gone through this experience before me, I found strength, hope and encouragement that this first pregnancy is something I’ll be able to get through too.
If you’re currently pregnant and on your way to becoming a first-time mom, and are looking for the best pregnancy and labour tips from real moms, read on! Please keep in mind that I haven’t gone through this process myself yet. I am simply taking the advice of a hundred real moms who follow me on Instagram, and paraphrasing their pregnancy and labour advice for myself and my readers.
- If you want to read about my personal experience in my first 20 weeks of pregnancy, check out: 20 Surprising Things I Learned in My First 20 Weeks of Pregnancy
Who were the moms who provided pregnancy and labour tips?
First of all, here’s some context about the moms who responded to my poll questions. I started off with basic poll questions, where I received approximately 100 responses per question.
- Where did you give birth? Hospital (95%) / Home (5%)
- Who delivered your baby? OBGYN (69%) / Midwife (31%)
- Did you have a doula? Yes (20%) / No (80%)
- Have you heard of hypnobirthing: Yes (58%) / No (42%)
- Did you do hypnobirthing during labour: Yes (6%) / No (94%)
- Were you scared before giving birth: Yes (76%) / No (24%)
Now that you have a better idea of who was answering my polls and their experiences and where they are coming from.
Here are their best tips and advice for pregnancy and labour that were shared with me.
Pregnancy tips for first time moms
- Preparation during pregnancy – Pregnancy is a time for preparation. Creating a birth plan was mentioned in several responses, but always with the caveat that it’s very unlikely to be followed so just “go with the flow”. Invest in a prenatal course (for those of you in Vancouver, I’ve heard good things about the one at Douglas College) and learn breathing techniques, be it Lamaze or Hypnobirthing. Beyond a pre-natal course, do brush up on how to take care of an actual baby – several of the responses mentioned that birth is the start (not the end) of a journey, and once that baby lands on your chest, it can be overwhelming for first-time moms to know what to do next.
- Take care of yourself – Taking care of yourself, specifically in the areas of sleep and rest, is recommended during pregnancy. Responders absolutely raved about investing in a full-body pregnancy pillow (even if it takes up half the bed and your husband doesn’t love it) as it will help with sleep as your belly continues to grow and you’re looking for safe and comfortable sleeping positions. Other areas of self-care included meal prep and asking for or accepting help when you need it.
- Trust your team and service providers – The nurse, doula, and midwife were all caretakers mentioned in the responses. The key takeaway from these answers is to believe in your birthing team, your service providers, and hospital and surround yourself with a team you trust.
- Enjoy your pregnancy – the general theme here was to try to maintain positive and enjoy this short and special phase of life. Pregnant women tend to get extra special treatment and attention, so milk it while you can!
Labour tips for first time moms
- Be okay with your birth plan not working out– ah the elusive birth plan was mentioned over and over again here. Despite careful planning with a birth plan, responders all cautioned that it’s unlikely to be followed to a tee as baby has a mind of its own.
- Breathe, breathe, breathe – Breathing through contractions is crucial for providing a more comfortable birth experience.
- Epidural – A lot of responses also raved about the use of drugs ASAP. A few cautioned that if you’re too far along in labour and too dialated, you can’t get the epidural. So if this is something you know you want, get it before it’s too late.
- Tens Machine and other equipment – consider the use of equipment like a tens machine or birthing ball.
- Eat and Drink – often times people forget that labour is like running an (ultra)marathon and can last for hours. Eat and stay hydrated, bring snacks and a waterbottle (or Gatorade).
Words of encouragement for pregnancy and labour
Lastly, here were some general words of encouragement provided to me, but apply to you too!
- Enjoy this extraordinary time and trust your instincts
- The best moment of your life is about to happen when you hold your baby for the first time
- Your body was made for this
- It’ll be over in a few hours
- You’re in good hands at BC Women’s, nurses are great! No worries!
In the meantime, if you’re looking for something to pamper yourself with while you’re pregnant (or a gift for someone who is), check out the Oh Mother Canadian Gift Box for Pregnancy, Post Partum, and Beyond. The Soon-to-be-Momma gift box comes with a pack of birth affirmation cards to give you a more positive mindset about birth.