Congratulations! You're pregnant!! Very soon you'll have the option to discover your baby's gender at your 20 week anatomy scan where they'll make sure baby's brain, lungs, limbs and other organs are growing well. It is one of the best experiences to see your tiny, wiggly baby move all over the monitor. **sigh** It never got old all three times my husband and I go to take a peek at our sweet babies.
Now what? You've got nursery colors picked out, probably have been tossing around name ideas and backing away from unsolicited belly rubs from strangers; but what about your BIRTH? Here are 10 practical ways you and your spouse/ birthing partner can do to prepare for your laboring day.
Get a Birth Doula!! Hopefully by now you know what a Birth Doula is and how they can be key to you and your family experiencing birth in a positive light. Your Doula will bring knowledge, tools, calm, and SO many other things to work alongside you and your spouse to achieve a a favorable and positive birth experience. Find a Birth Doula who specializes in your labor and birth needs/desires. Whether you want a calm voice, guidance for dad, vaginal/VBAC birth, or someone who is skilled in natural-pain management techniques there is a doula for you! P.S. I'm that doula for you. ;)
Sign up for a birth education class! A lot takes place during birth. While I remind moms that all they need to do is breathe for baby and themselves, understanding all the amazing work your body is doing to bring your baby down and out is essential. "Knowledge is power." There are many classes available in your community from Hypnobirthing, the Bradley Method, Lamaze, Commonsense Birth, and so much more. Some are more conducive to an unmedicated, vaginal birth.
Hire the BEST care provider around! Whether you decide to deliver at a birth center or home with a midwife, or at the hospital with an obstetrician, your care provider matters! Make sure you are looking at their specialty in birth care, the hospital/location in which they attends births, c-section to vaginal births, and what resources they give you to help you create a solid birth plan to help. If you're looking to have a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean), you probably want to hire a care provider who's c-section rate is lower than 20-25%.
Take the time to create a birth plan. Why? Writing out predetermined, evidence-based decisions for yourself and your baby will go a long way. I send all of my clients facts on topics like Hepatitis B, Vitamin K shot, and erythromycin so that they are prepared to make these choices for their babies ahead of time and not in the moment. Clearly communicating your goals with your spouse, birth doula, and care providers around 35-36 weeks and then again at the beginning of labor is essential to maintain the peaceful ambiance in your birth scene needed for your body to continually progress in labor. Mama Natural has a great and free template that you can utilize here!
Ask your care provider to help you locate your baby's position. Ya'll. If vaginal birth is your goal then you must know whether your baby is head down or not. If your care provider is worth their salt then they will talk to you on the importance of your baby's position around 34-35 weeks gestation! Then discovering if your baby is facing in a certain direction that will help or hinder engagement in your pelvis. As a Spinning Babies trained Birth Doula, my aim is to not only guide through to a natural, vaginal birth but help you do it in a way that comfortably works in conjunction with baby's movements.
Get moving mamas! Whether you're participating in prenatal yoga, lacing up your sneakers to walk during the cool hours of the day, or strength training at your local gym it is important to get movement in your day to day. Spinning Babies has a great video for purchase on the daily essentials for pregnancy and birth prep! Be sure to consult with your care provider prior to beginning any exercise regiment during pregnancy.
Yoga ball is life. That may be a stretch, but sitting on a stability ball or birth ball will help you keep the posture needed to provide ample growing space and room for baby to flip to head down late in the second trimester/early third trimester. Find the right size for you. The aim is for your hips, knees, and ankles to be at right angles. Your hips shouldn't dip unless your dropping it like it's hot into a birth squat. Haha!
Get cracking...with a Webster-technique certified Chiropractor, of course! Alignment and balance within your body is essential for your wellness. It is a great tool in helping your body self-heal, but it is so very helpful in proper engagement of your baby's noggin in your pelvis as you prepare for labor.
Hydrate! This one is self-explanatory. If you're struggling to drink water and keep it down, adding a sprinkle of pink Himalayan salt and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice can help boost hydration and improve flavor.
Choose positivity! Sounds cheesy and a little bit "woo-woo," but life happens and birth is no exception. Your perspective can and will directly impact your labor and birth scene. Whether it be in the conversations in which you engage while pregnant, a poor diagnosis in your health, or a roadblock to your birth goals it is your choice to take on a positive view point. It will go a long way especially when transition in labor comes, and everything in you naturally wants to dip. No worries, we've all been there. Go back to #1, and call me! ;)