It's getting close to go time, are you ready? Preparing for birth & labor is tremendously vital. (So is knowing when to go to the hospital) These preparations include mental, physical, and spiritual aspects. Do not neglect one for the other.
Labor is very much a mind game, so to not be mentally prepared is unwise. I have had six natural childbirth experiences myself, and I can resoundingly say that YOU MUST EDUCATE YOURSELF AND BE PREPARED! If you're considering an unmedicated birth, you should definitely click here!
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For me, me-time can be simply a run to the store by myself. Lol, but for a mama who is preparing for birth, you should try to get creative. I know as you prepare for your birth, you may be tempted to forget about yourself and focus solely on the baby.
I want you to take some time to plan some mama time, now before your baby comes. Maybe meet a friend for lunch, get your hail done, or simply spend a day binge-watching a favorite show.
I recently took a little time to foucs on myself and decided to spoil myself and do a few things special for my bedroom (which is my fav place).
I highly recommend everything Ina May Gaskins has written.
Now granted some of it is a little extreme but it will help you mentally prepare for labor. It's informative and reminds us that birth is natural. I recommend this book even if you are not planning a natural birth. Ina, who is the midwife guru of birth, has this cool birthing farm in rural TN. The Business of Being Born by Rikki Lake is a documentary about birth that features The Farm Midwives, be sure to watch it. (Anna & I are trying to work out a visit to The Farm) I wanted to give birth to Greyson there, but I was high risk due to being an old lady and all! is just a fun read. The job description for Mother is hysterical and laughing is good for your soul!
Nothing beats facing your fears. I recommend watching as many as possible. There are some great ones on Netflix. Amazon video also has a good amount. Again, I enjoyed The Business of Being Born. I like this documentary because she shows the business side. It is true and I see it every day at work. Birth is a money maker. Many births don't need to be medical, however, what I like is that Rikki Lake's documentary which exposes the business of birth also shows the need for medical intervention. As much as I love natural birth and all it encompasses, I also have seen the truly heart-wrenching side of birth and the necessity of the medical professionals trained to respond. (For a glimpse into a day in the life of my job read this post!)
Raspberry leaf is believed to strengthen the muscles need for labor. You can do capsules or tea. I found the tea easier to handle and a great way to prepare for labor.
To prepare your body for birth start this as follows:
32 weeks: 1 cup daily
37 weeks: 2 cups daily
38 weeks: 3 cups daily
An exercise or birthing ball is used to strengthen core muscles. You can practice the squat position without having to actually get up and down off the floor. Sitting in a squatting position gently stretches and prepares the muscles needed for Labor. While sitting on the ball roll your hips around for another great gentle stretch. Use of a birthing ball is also recommended to assist in turning a breech baby. If your baby is not behaving and is in the wrong position head over to Spinning Babies for help. This is one of my favorite ways to encourage mamas who are preparing for labor.
The magic mark for eating dates is at the start of your third trimester (around 27 weeks). Eating six dates a day has been shown to soften the cervix, preparing it for dilation. Remember any work the cervix does before actual labor means shorter labor. This is a win! Check out this interesting study about dates and the effects on labor and delivery.
EPO is fantastic for preparing your body for labor. EPO also works by softening tissues including the cervix. When to start? 35 weeks. It's another natural prep for labor. Take 1-3 by mouth per day. After 37 weeks add 1 insert vaginally before bed. Don't do it in the a.m. as it's probably going to get messy. My midwife told me to poke a hole in the gel cap before inserting it. You will need to wear a pantiliner. At 38 weeks begin to insert two into your vagina as high and close to your cervix as possible. DON'T forget to poke the hole. Otherwise, it's a waste of time and won't do much in preparing your cervix for labor.
Massage oil made specifically for the perineum can be used to massage and stretch out the perineum and vaginal cavity. It can be slightly messy and it's not too comfortable. It burns like a mother but it can also be used in preparing for labor because you will be doing some deep breathing to deal with it and we all know that's needed in labor. It's also extremely awkward to reach down there and succeed, so ask your partner to help a girl out. I've written a post about the ways you can prevent a perineal or vaginal tear so be sure to check that out.
This little gem right here is a miracle. I wish I could share all the times this baby has saved my patients from unnecessary interventions. Seriously, a peanut ball should be on every birthing unit. My new hospital has them and I'm so happy. I use it almost every time I work. Unfortunately, they are it's not the norm but the trend seems to be moving in that direction. Labor nurses have a lot of tricks up their sleeves and we love anything that keeps our patient out of the operating room. This ball changes the game. If I can stress anything at all, it's this: BUY A PEANUT BALL
45cm – For women who are under 160 cms
50cm – For women who are 160cm – 170cms (most common size)
60cm – For women who are 174cm or taller or plus size women.
Seeing a chiropractor during pregnancy can be extremely beneficial. A chiropractor can get your body properly aligned and naturally induce labor and prepare for labor. More importantly, having your pelvis aligned not only relieves pelvis pain but also leads to a smoother delivery. It's wise to choose a Chiropractor who specializes in pregnancy. Check out the benefits here!
Finally, Take control and be prepared. Preparing your body is not the only way to prepare for birth, knowledge is power. Also, make sure you know the signs of labor.
I would love to hear the ways you naturally prepare your body for labor and the results you had.
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