We recognise that preparing for the birth of your baby takes a lot of thought and planning, especially if this is your first baby. It is also wise to put the same thought into your postnatal recovery, as this is a time you will need to be looking after yourself aswell as your newborn. Our in-house midwives have created 5 steps to help you to prepare both physically and mentally.

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Where do you start when thinking about planning for your birth? There are many choices available to you, but finding out what they are can be difficult. Here are some tips on how to start:-

  • Ask questions - understanding what your choices are for your maternity care means that you can tailor your care to your specific liking or needs which can lead to a better experience for you
  • Research into antenatal classes, and find the best experienced teacher who can help develop you and your partners knowledge and learning (normally start classes around beginning of the third trimester)
  • Researching how to build a birth plan and what to include can help you prepare both physically and mentally, and can include things like types of pain relief, types of birth, birth positions, and so on

For more detailed information and advice visit our how to plan my birth page

Preparing your perineum before birth can help stretch the skin and muscle and so reducing the risk of tearing or need for an episiotomy. Here are some tips on perineal massage that will help you get prepared for your baby’s birth:

  • Start perineal massage at week 34 of pregnancy
  • Find a perineal massage oil. You can use one specially blended and designed for perineal massage or an oil such as almond oil
  • Make time to do this 3 or 4 times a week
  • If you struggle to do this yourself, you can ask your partner to help

For more information on why and how to do perineal massage visit our perineal massage page.

What do you really need in your hospital bag? Our midwives have information and top tips to help you get organised. The best way to pack for hospital is to be have everything organised in 3 separate main bags that you will take in with you:

  • a main bag for you, which includes a labour bag
  • a bag for your partner
  • a bag with baby’s things – a changing bag is a perfect size

Pack what you’ll need later in your stay first, so that these items are at the bottom of your bag.

Download our Hospital Bag Checklist so you don’t forget anything at the last minute

Our hospital bag page has videos and blogs to help you decide on the essentials you will need.

Remember that self care post partum is just as important as looking after your newborn, and will help you to recover quicker both physically and mentally

  • Make and freeze nutritious but easy meals to save time
  • Make sure you have aids to help you recover such as pain relief, heat packs, perineal spray, nipple balm and a nursing cushion
  • Be sure to have a regular part of the day where your partner or family helps with baby so you can take some time out to relax

Download our new mum checklist for tips and advice to help support your recovery.

Visit our birth recovery page for information, and as mental health is just as important we have partnered with Pandas Foundation – find out more here

It is good to be prepared with useful tools and information that can help you to overcome possible challenges in the early days of breastfeeding.

  • Hand expressing or colostrum harvesting can be started from 36/37 weeks of pregnancy, to give you a head start
  • The first hour after birth can often be when your baby is most receptive to feeding, try to get uninterrupted skin to skin time to help this process
  • Ask family members and friends who breastfed to share their stories about what worked and didn’t work for them, so you can try different techniques

For more hints and tips from our midwives visit our breastfeeding page