Pregnant women are magnets for unsolicited advice – even perfect strangers may offer their personal wisdom. Some suggestions are decidedly unhelpful, while others are golden.
Here are seven nuggets of helpful birthing advice, straight from the mouths of BabyCenter moms.
Read moms' inspirational birth stories: Natural, c-sections, inductions, even birth in a minivan.
- We make it a point to learn a lot about what happens to our body during pregnancy. However, I never really took the time to learn about what happens after the birth. My body went through all kinds of changes that I wish I'd known about beforehand.
- Ask lots of questions at your prenatal appointments. I just assumed I wouldn't have to have a c-section. so I didn't ask any questions. I ended up having a c-section at the last minute, and I was nervous and scared and trying to get all my questions in at once.
- Read all you can about pregnancy, labor, and delivery – as well as about the first few weeks after the baby is born. You won't have as much time once the baby arrives!
- Learn as much as possible about labor and delivery and attend a childbirth class. I felt completely prepared going into labor. I was still nervous, but at least I knew what my body would be going through.
- Educate yourself ahead of time so when it's time to make decisions, you can make a choice that's right for you.
Accept help after the birth
- "Mother" should never equal "martyr." Take all the help you can get – and don't feel bad about it.
- If I were to do it over, I would let the nurses take the baby to the nursery for a while so I could get some rest. I don't think I would have been as exhausted the first few weeks if I had some rest in the hospital. The constant attention from the staff, attending to the baby, and visitors kicked off the sleep deprivation.
- Line up help for when you come home from the hospital – it makes it so much easier. Rest as much as you can in the hospital.
- Accept any help the first few weeks, but don't be afraid to tell people that you need time to yourself.
Some of my favorite moments were with just my husband, son, and daughter, doing absolutely nothing at home.
- Get all the help you can. Try to get someone whom you trust and who has experience with babies to come stay with you. Let them help as much as possible and don't feel guilty for sleeping. You'll have your baby for a long time and you need to remember that you're healing from something major.
Don't worry if it takes a while to bond
- Although I fell in love with my baby right away, it still took some time to really get to know her. She seemed like a little stranger at first, but over the first few weeks of her life, we really bonded. Now I think we fit together like two peas in a pod!
- The love you feel for your baby far surpasses everything else – even if it doesn't "click" right away, it will. Believe me, it will.
- Tell your partner exactly what you need. He can't read your mind, and he wants something to do to help.
- Make sure your questions get answered – and that you ask the questions! There are no stupid ones!
- I'm a single parent by choice, and the one thing that I really wanted to do was cut the cord. I made sure that my mom, who was with me the whole time, knew this – and she made sure to let the doctor and the nurse know this.
- If you don't like something the nurses are doing, don't be afraid to speak up.
- Don't be afraid to be assertive while in the hospital. It's easy to feel like you have lost control, that things are being done to you, but you have the right to be in control of your treatment. Also, be patient.
Get the breastfeeding help you need
- If you decide to breastfeed, be very adamant with the nurses about having someone assist you in learning how to do it.
- I recommend taking a breastfeeding class during your pregnancy. It made breastfeeding so much easier.
Catch those memories
- Remember to have someone take a picture of the baby right after he or she is born.
- Take tons of pictures and video! I didn't, and now I wish I had!
- Have your partner take pictures of the baby on the warmer, on the scale, etc. Give detailed instructions beforehand. I got one picture and I wish I had more.