Your midwife may bring around a pack about now, which contains all the items she will need. To make her task easier, make sure the bed on which you're going to deliver (if you plan to use a bed) is easily accessible from all sides. You might also want to ensure you have plenty of extra pillows on hand as well as several changes of bed sheets.
Even if you plan to labor in dim lighting, there needs to be a good source of light for the midwife, especially after the birth when you may need stitches.
Is pushing the baby out natural and instinctive? All women will feel an urge to push during labor, but because it's painful they might resist doing so. Medications, such as an epidural (see Epidurals), will interfere with the sensation of needing to push. Your midwife will help you throughout and guide you as to when it's safe and most effective to push.
First of all, take every opportunity you can to rest-even if this means napping several times during the day. Every bit of sleep you get will make a difference to your energy levels, especially if you're having broken sleep at night.
When you are feeling active, try to do some gentle exercise since this can encourage healthy, restful sleep. Swimming can be a great way to expend energy, and take your mind off things and it puts little or no pressure on your belly or your aching muscles and joints.
Try eating food containing tryptophan (see ... Nutritionist) before you go to bed, which can encourage sleep, and make sure that you get plenty of high-energy carbohydrates (see Get carb loading) during the day, to keep your blood-sugar levels stable and prevent energy slumps.
Excerpted from Pregnancy Day by Day.
Copyright © 2008 Dorling Kindersley Limited.
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