16 things you'd tell your pre-birth self
If you could go back in time to before your first birth, what would you tell yourself? We asked Mumsnetters to use the magical power of hindsight, and share their tips.
1. "All that 'push into your bottom' stuff that midwives say confused me. If they'd just told me to push like I was having a massive poo, I'd have got the hang of it much quicker!"
2. "You're right to start the TENS before you can really feel anything – the same is true of the gas and air. Get the hang of it
or let the midwife know it's broken before things get going."
3. "You will get a small, completely dependent human being at the end of this. When she 'popped' out I was utterly shocked that there was a baby in my arms. Even the midwife commented that I looked surprised I had given birth to a baby! I think you get fixated with the journey sometimes and forget about the destination."
4. "Going for your first poo after childbirth is almost as scary as the giving birth itself."
5. "Stand up for yourself."
6. "Don't be embarrassed about anything! Just tell the midwife what you're worried about and let her/him reassure you. I was really worried about weeing or pooing in labour - as it turned out, I didn't, but I realised that it wouldn't have mattered if I had as they've seen it all!"
7. "Be in the moment and breathe."
8. "Have an epidural early. If you feel the pain through the epidural, don't just accept it - tell someone."
9. "Remember every minute, and take lots of photos because it is the most amazing day!"
10. "Chill out - the first birth will be a long time after the first contraction."
11. "It's going to be OK. You're both going to be fine. You'll be able to see your toes again. But do get one of those doughnut cushions, they'll make things a lot more comfy while the stitches heal."
12. "I'd prepare DH to be my advocate and stand up for me when I can't do it myself."
13. "You don't have a huge amount of control over a lot of things, so try not to get too attached to a particular birth plan. Try and have a mini birth plan for each kind of scenario - for example one for a vaginal birth, one for for a caesarean etc."
14. "As long as you all come out OK it doesn't matter what happened during your birth. It's common to have questions afterwards, so do ask for a debrief if you need to talk through anything that happened."
15. "Believe you can do it. When the fear comes, face it, don't run. Speak out loud about what is bothering you and insist it is fixed."
16. "Go with your gut instinct. You know your body best. Just remember, the second it is finished it'll all be worth it!"
- Find out the truth about pregnancy
- Myths about giving birth
- 11 things you don't want to hear when you've just had a baby
- Watch: Life with a newborn - what to expect