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I found with my first that the very best preparation was to be completely prepared for what would happen, and then to tell myself, "my body was made for this. I can do this. This is not more than I can handle."
I didn't practice any breathing techniques or specific ways to cope with labor pain. Instead I watched birth videos and read birth stories and reminded myself that my body was made to labor and birth my baby. My midwives had told me a lot of helpful information, reminding me that this was how nature intended our bodies to birth our babies and to find my comfort zone and do what felt most natural to me. I think a key is being someplace you are comfortable (at least it was for me). When you are comfortable, you will feel free to work with with your contractions and act any way that you want to. That means making sure you are in an environment that relaxes you and having only supportive people around you.
Andrea, mom to 3 beautiful girls - Abigail (8) Annabelle (6) and Alexis (3)