Things you'd tell your pre-birth self

Couple expecting their first baby

Are you nervous about giving birth for the first time? Wondering how you'll welcome a new baby into the world? A bit of worrying is completely natural – but you needn't become overwhelmed. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and Mumsnetters who've been through childbirth – and come out the other side – are more than happy to offer some pearls of wisdom

Remember the end 'goal'

“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.”
mother newborn baby

Try not to sweat the small stuff

“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.”

“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 a caesarean etc.”
throw papers up in air

Believe in yourself

“Stand up for yourself.”

“Go with your gut instinct. You know your body best. Just remember, the second it is finished it'll all be worth it!”

“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.”

powerful speech Hillary Clinton

Don't be afraid to ask for help

“Don't be embarrassed about anything! Just tell the midwife what you're worried about and let them 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!”

“I'd prepare my partner to be my advocate and stand up for me when I can't do it myself.”

And don't suffer in silence

“Have an epidural early. If you feel the pain through the epidural, don't just accept it – tell someone.”

woman in labour

“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.”

Takes things nice and slowly

“Be in the moment and breathe."

“Chill out – the first birth will be a long time after the first contraction.”
pregnant woman packs hospital back prepares labour

And keep things simple

“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!”

Remember, giving birth is just the beginning

“Going for your first poo after childbirth is almost as scary as the giving birth itself.”
shocked scared reaction

“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.”

But this truly is a magical experience – treasure it

“Remember every minute, and take lots of photos because it is the most amazing day!”
remember every little thing