So the big day isn’t far off! Aside from packing your hospital bag and writing a birth plan, are there any other ways you can get yourself as mentally and physically prepared as possible for welcoming your baby into the world? Shereen Zarroug, birthing doula and hypnobirthing instructor, gives us her top tips…

1. Get a birth ball

Also known as a yoga ball or exercise ball, this inflatable ball can replace your chair or sofa at home or at work, by sitting on it and rotating in a circular motion, leaning over it, resting your head and arms over it while in a crawling position or even bouncing gently on the ball to help baby get into an optimal position for birth.

2. Explore Spinning Babies’ exercises

Recommended by most birth workers, spinningbabies.com has a fantastic section on pregnancy and labour positions, with illustrations and videos. The exercises can help with assisting a breech baby to turn, getting baby to engage in the pelvis, relief with pelvic and back aches during pregnancy and much more.

3. Swimming

Considered one of the best exercises to do during any stage of pregnancy, it works out most – if not all – of your muscle groups, while staying cool!

4. Yoga/Pilates

Establishing flexibility and strength during pregnancy using yoga and Pilates can have a very positive effect on your labour and birth, as you may want to get yourself in a deep squatting position or might perhaps experience a long labour, so preparing using yoga and Pilates during pregnancy is highly recommended.

5. Stay positive

Sometimes easier said than done, maintaining a positive outlook during pregnancy can definitely aid how your birth experience will play out. Stay away from negative birth stories (from friends or family), horror birth scenes or movies, and stay away from Google – seek professional advice from your doctor or birth workers in your area, as the internet can provide some bad advice!

6. Don’t be afraid to ask for help!

Join your local mums and pregnancy groups on Facebook, which are saturated with experienced mums, medical professionals and birth workers who can often offer great advice, tips and answers to your questions. Also try to attend local mum-to-be coffee mornings to get to know other mums and share your experiences. Pregnancy can make you feel lonely a lot of the times, and so sharing your feelings and concerns with others can sometimes be quite uplifting and comforting.

7. Deep breathing

Whenever you feel stressed or have just had a long and tiring day, sometimes a nice, long deep breath can be all you need to get you through. If you haven’t taken up Hypnobirthing classes, where you learn a couple of very useful breathing techniques, a simple deep breath in and out through your nose, while counting down from 10 to one, can help bring you back to a relaxed state of mind and ease your worries for the day.

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