1- Familiarize yourself with different techniques of coping with pain. Educate yourself on pain relief methods, why you may or may not want medical pain relief. Pain in Labor- What's the Point? The book, Natural Hospital Birth by Cynthia Gabriel is a worthwhile book to read, that explains many of the medications offered, and other pain relief measures you may be able to use in labor besides drug options.
2- Consider hiring a doula. There are many young mothers, and even husbands that do not understand why they would want to hire someone else to be at their labor and delivery. They balk at the cost, (which is actually usually quite reasonable for the job they do) and generally believe that the midwife, nurses, doctors will be enough support for their partner and themselves. Here are a couple of articles to read to consider why you may want a doula. Why use a doula? Labor Support with a Doula The Importance of using a doula How do you go about finding and hiring a doula in your area? -There are several ways to find a doula. -Through Word of mouth - Online listings- Doula Match, DONA are just a couple of reputable online sites that help you find a doula in your area. - Ask your doctor or midwife for business cards or references to doulas in the area. Depending on what style of birth you want, you would like to interview a doula to see if she fits your style as well. Most doulas are adaptable and are ready to help make this the birth that you desire, despite their own wants or needs.
3-Exercise and actually follow the diet plan your care provider has recommended. Don't fudge and say "I exercised yesterday when I brought the laundry upstairs." Plan and take a 15 minute walk everyday if the weather permits. Have an exercise routine you go through on your living room floor. Generally, a care provider has your best interest at heart when they recommend you eat more protein, get a little more exercise etc. But sometimes, they assume you know that it will make a difference, so if they have not told you, ask them what they recommend for you.
4- Be fluid in your planning. Remember that nothing in concrete in pregnancy and labor. Be educated and ready for every change by reading books and articles that are scientifically based and allow you to keep an open mind to changing your mind. Stay firm when you need to be firm, but allow for changes. Labor and pregnancy can change on a dime and you have to learn to have flexibility.
5- Stay Positive! Do not approach labor with dread or fear! Use means of encouraging yourself that you can do this. This will be hard work, but psych yourself up for it. You are made beautifully and are designed to give birth. There are the rare cases where women are unable to give birth in the naturally designed way, but you are still designed in such a way that you will be able to give birth surgically. You can do this!