A decade ago, it was practically a given that most—if not all—pregnant women would take a labor-preparation class midway through pregnancy. "Not anymore," says Susan Cooter, R.N., a certified childbirth educator and labor doula in Hatboro, Pa., and director of Prepared Childbirth Educators, an organization that trains registered nurses to teach childbirth education courses. "I work with so many women who think that watching Birth Stories on TV will prepare them for labor. Then, when they come in to the hospital to have their baby, they are shocked—shocked—to learn what labor is really like."
While we agree that preparing your mind for childbirth is important, we also know how vital it is for you to prepare your body. That's why we've put together this labor-prep plan. No, it doesn't take the place of a class, but it does provide some solid tools to help you get ready. Our simple yet effective workout will strengthen your body for the rigors of childbirth, and our labor positions and relaxation tips will help your body—and mind—sail through the big day. So, do your exercises, practice your relaxation techniques and get ready for the miraculous event that is your baby's birth.