How to Prepare for Vaginal Delivery

By Stacey Feintuch
Reviewed by Alyssa Quimby, M.D.
April 28, 2022

Although you can never predict exactly what will happen during childbirth, the majority of birthing parents in the United States are giving birth vaginally: 68% in 2020, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (This statistic looks at all births, including people who delivered by repeat cesarean section. The rate of vaginal delivery for first-time birthing parents is even higher.)

Planning ahead and understanding labor and vaginal delivery can make the experience feel a little less daunting. Here’s what you can do in advance to prepare for labor, as well as some information on how vaginal birth typically progresses.

Take Classes During Pregnancy

“Every birth is unique, and we can’t control the labor process,” says Talitha Phillips, a labor and postpartum doula and CEO of Claris Health in Los Angeles. “That said, the more educated you are, the better prepared you are to make decisions along the way. You’ll feel like you’re a part of the process and not that it’s being done to you.”