Based on my own experience, the best thing my husband and I did in preparation for the actual event of childbirth was connecting with a doula (YOU in particular!). When we found out we were pregnant, we bought a million books, enrolled in all kinds of classes (hospital and alternative--Bradley), and started collecting advice from friends and family, and from the internet, of course. Other than hiring a doula, what would you say is the best way for a couple (the mom to be, in particular) to prepare for the actual event of childbirth?
What is the best way for a mom to be to prepare for childbirth? Run a marathon.
I'm kidding, of course. Mostly. (Though, I often compare endurance sports to labor since they both require preparation, stamina, food and water intake, and mental and physical perseverance.)
I tell my clients to take a childbirth class if they can. Specifically, a childbirth class that seems to cater to the type of birthing parent you hope to be. Classes like Christian Childbirth, Bradley, or hospital classes, can and do go into much great depth and detail than you and I and your husband ever can during a prenatal meeting. This is extremely helpful in labor for you to have heard, and likely participated in, discussions about labor and birth. That way, for instance, if the nurse at the hospital tells you you are 80% effaced, you have an idea of what that means and won't give me the stink eye when I use my upside down coke bottle reference.
If childbirth classes are not an option, I highly recommend reading, reading, and MORE reading. But, the right kinds of things. Stay away from scary birth story blogs, or the internet as a whole. Read things by Ina May. Read The Birth Partner, with your partner. If nothing else, it will be a spring board for questions for you and your doula to discuss.
Thanks for your question,
Tracy Abney is a certified birth and bereavement doula serving Huntsville, Madison and other parts of north Alabama.