New Year's resolutions may take on new meaning if you're preparing for the birth of a child in 2015. This year, perhaps for the first time, "join the gym and lose 10 pounds" isn't on the list. At the same time, many of the resolutions you make for a healthy pregnancy look a lot like those you would make for a healthy lifestyle, pregnant or not. For example:
- eat fruit and vegetables daily
- get 8 hours of sleep
- regular exercise
- carve out time for yourself
- ask for help when you need it
If 2015 is your year to give birth (whether it's your first or fifth), take some time now to plan for your best birth with the following resolutions.
Learn about evidence-based maternity care. You can't always count on your friends, family, or even your care provider to give you the best, most up-to-date care and evidence-based information. How do you know if you're not receiving the best care? Learn how to navigate the maternity care system and how you can get the best care.
Plan for the best support. Who will attend your birth? Do they support your wishes? Will they provide positive energy? Think carefully about your birth support team. Look into hiring a doula. Share your birth plan with everyone well before labor begins.
Move your body regularly. Regular exercise -- even a 15 to 30 minute walk -- has so many proven benefits for you, your body, and your baby. Aim for physical activity 4-5 times a week.
Sign up for a childbirth class. Even with all of the information freely available on the internet, you can't replace the value of an in-person, in-depth, good childbirth education class.
[Re]Evaluate your care provider. If you don't feel confident in or comfortable with your care provider, it's a good sign you may want to re-evaluate their care. Start by asking some simple questions.
Take labor one step at a time. Humans are hardwired to think about what's going to happen next. With labor, it your energy is better spent to think only about what's happening right now. If you can take each contraction, each stage, each moment one by one, you'll be able to focus more on the task at hand and worry less about what's to come.