The most common things I hear from folks who come to my postnatal classes are that no-one told them about how common birth injuries and trauma can be and how to prevent them, how challenging breastfeeding is and how they could have never expected how hard it is to go back to work.
The most important choice you will make is picking you care provider. I recommend not using someone just because they were your gynecologist, recommended by a friend or you like them personally. Make sure that they share and respect your point of view. Especially for those who are planning to try a non-intervention, un-medicated birth, you can do yoga, get a doula, take all the classes and be incredibly prepared but if you and your care provider don’t see eye to eye on electronic fetal monitoring, laboring at home, doulas, inductions, eating and drinking during labor, pushing techniques and positions it can not only create unexpected challenges and tension in your birth but also result in not being able to have the kind of birth you may want.
Birth injuries in both vaginal and cesarian births are extremely common. It could be pelvic pain from a vaginal birth, headaches and spinal tenderness from an epidural or getting an infection from surgery. Another reason for why you want to be able to trust your care provider whole heartedly. Do you feel like you’re in good shape physically for this very physical and emotionally challenging event. I had one client tell me that she felt like she was in the best shape of her life just before she gave birth and completely prepared for the endurance needed for birth - that’s how I want you all to feel!
Breastfeeding support in hospitals are diminishing. Most clients only get about 5 minutes with a hospital lactation consultant. New parents go home with very little information, expecting things to go perfectly and they almost never do. Take a breastfeeding class prenatally and seek help from a lactation counselor as soon as possible.
Many of my clients are high-powered, ambitious, career-oriented women. Most planned to take their maternity leave, usually about 3 to 4 months and then go back to work. About half of those who intend to go back to work have either extended their maternity leave by an additional 3 - 4 months and a few who have have quit their jobs. The shift and change in identity is hard to explain unless you go through it yourself. Be prepared and and expect as much as you can for the transition back to work to be challenging and hard. The easiest way to transition back to work is to do so slowly. If you are able negotiate to work from home, come in a few days a week or part-time before you go back to full time. Most people have found it easier to go back to work at around 6 - 9 months. I’m sure you’re already planning financially so something to take into consideration.