Preparing for childbirth and labor can reduce your stress and anxiety. Here are a few tips for an easier birth experience.

Read books

Books are a good way to get started on preparing for the labor and birth. You’ll find answers to some of your questions in many of the books you’ll read. That should give you a bit of background about what’s going to happen.

Join a class

Reading helps. But it does come with a few limitations. Joining pregnancy classes is ideal if you want to cover a lot of ground, from coping techniques and tactics to reduce the pain during labor to tips and advice on how to care for a newborn, Fit Pregnancy says.

Time it right

Don’t wait until you’re well into your third semester to join a class. The second trimester is probably the best time to enroll in your pregnancy classes. Joining a class too early isn’t advisable either since you may feel too removed from experience yet, which means you’ll be less engaged with the lessons. Enrolling too late, on the other hand, means you could end up not finishing your classes. You could give birth beforehand, leaving you ill-equipped to handle the experience.

Pick the right educator

Look for an experienced educator for the classes. You’ll want someone with more than enough experience in teaching about pregnancy, childbirth and childcare topics.

Ask for a doula

Studies show that having doulas on hand for the birth dramatically decreases the chances of a Caesarian birth. If you want a natural birth experience, having an expert doula offer support and advice before, during and after the birth can make all the difference. With a supportive and knowledgeable doula by your side, you and your partner can better prepare for the pregnancy, birth and your first step towards parenthood.