I’m 32 weeks pregnant, which means it is that time again. Already? Having kicked butt at one natural childbirth, I have a certain sense of confidence going into this one. However, I’m not going to be naive and think that I can just wing it and walk in there and have a natural birth without having done my preparation. I was prepared for my first birth. I researched the stages of labor, natural pain management, possible interventions, postpartum procedures, and how to have a natural childbirth. It went very well, so really all there was to do was be mentally tough; but, I know birth can basically do whatever it wants and we have to be ready for that. I’m having this baby in a hospital as well, so I am catering my planning toward being in that environment. However, I will have a midwife to deliver him. Here’s what I’m doing to get ready for the big day!
My Experience During Round One
I had a natural birth in a hospital with my first baby. I did many of the activities I will talk about below to prepare, and I contribute the majority of my success with proper education, knowledge, and a hardcore mindset. I went in after having contractions every 5 minutes, and was sent home at 3 cm. I spent time in the tub, walking around the house, and changing positions, until we went back in 4 hours later and I was admitted at 5 cm. After we got through the initial admission process, (which sucks I won’t deny; it’s one of the huge negatives of a hospital birth) I went directly into the tub and I stayed there until it was time to push. I got out, which was pretty miserable as well, and made my way to the bed. After trying a few positions, I found the right one and pushed for about 30 minutes in two positions until my sweet angel was born at 3:45 in the morning.
Things I Liked:
- Being able to get in and stay in the tub for the majority of labor
- Not having an epidural (although “like” is a funny term, I appreciated letting my body work naturally and being able to feel when I needed to push)
- How confident I was going into it
- The perfect delayed cord, skin to skin, instant bonding I was able to have following the birth
Things I Didn’t Like
- I had to get antibiotics for GBS; I’m trying to prevent it this time around
- I was pressured into getting some newborn procedures done I did not want (won’t happen again)
- I felt too much pressure to push forcefully, and I believe I tore as a result (I had the med student, resident, and attending OB in there–too many!)
Activites I’m Doing This Time
Reading, learning, and getting re-educated
I can’t stress this enough: the more you know, the more prepared you will be. Know how labor progresses, know what is happening in your body, know what can go wrong, know your options, know the interventions, know the risks of both sides, know how to deal with pain naturally, and know how you want your birth to go. Read The Ultimate List of Natural Childbirth Prep Resources!
Trying to stay as fit and healthy as possible
This can be challenging in pregnancy, but the healthier you are the better off you will be in labor. I haven’t had much energy to workout, but I’m doing my squats, pelvic floor strengthening, and I am trying to maintain a good diet with plenty of protein and healthy fat.
There is nothing that can truly simulate a contraction, or really prepare you, but I do what I can learning to breathe through pain. The way I’ve done this is to diffuse frankincense, get into a squat position until my legs are burning, and breathe through the burning pains. I imagine the pain coming and going as a wave, and try to get into a deep meditative mindset.
Learning Pain management
You won’t know what you will want until you’re there, but knowing options is extremely beneficial. This includes water, pressure points, essential oils, homeopathy, breathing exercises, hypnobirthing, movement, and changing positions. The resources I relied on gave me many wonderful ideas to keep in my back pocket.
You may also like The Ultimate List of Natural Childbirth Preparation Resources!
Getting a good brazilian wax
No need for further explanation, just do it.
Eating Dates and drinking red raspberry leaf tea
There is research that shows eating dates can help ripen the cervix and possibly lead to an easier, faster labor. It’s a very non invasive addition to my day, and I did it with my last labor which was 7 hours, so I’m incorporating that again. I’m also drinking red raspberry leaf tea to help tone the uterus.
Practicing squats, walking, pelvic floor exercises, yoga, good posture
All of these physical activities are beneficial in preparing the body for labor and assisting with getting baby into the proper position. I do squats around the house, when brushing my teeth, doing dishes, etc. I am also walking as much as toddler life and a North Dakota winter will allow, and doing good pregnancy exercises. I’m also doing the Cat-Cow yoga pose and making sure that I am using good posture with my spine aligned. I’m also doing a good deal of “dropping it low” dancing, or that’s what you could call it. I even have a dedicated playlist; I’ll let you in on that if you just send me an email! (:
Consuming All the probiotics
I was positive for Group B strep with my last baby, and I did choose to get antibiotics as a result. I would prefer to not have to go that route again, as I did not like having to get the antibiotics which potentially could have contributed to some gut issues for both myself and my daughter. This time, on top of a good probiotic supplement, I’ve been eating goat’s milk and non-dairy yogurt, drinking kombucha, and eating fermented fruits and veggies. I’m also avoiding much added sugar as well as focusing on a whole food diet with minimal grains. More on that HERE.
Going in with a plan
I’ve discussed with my midwife what I didn’t like about my last birth and I am coming up with a plan to not let it happen again. I am also preparing my labor kit and postpartum kit. (Look for a post on this soon!) I’m also making the decisions about what procedures I will allow after baby is born, and will discuss them with my midwife so I know what to expect at the hospital as well as put them in the chart. I don’t want to spend the first days with my baby worrying about filling out forms and discussing these things with staff.
Mindsets to adopt
This one is HUGE for me! I listened to Eminem in prep for my other birth and I will do it again. I don’t know what it is about Eminem, but he really gives me a confidence boost. Especially the song “Till I Collapse.” I’m pretty sure it is written about labor and childbirth! I was entirely pumped up and ready to go weeks before labor with baby number one. I ignored all the naysayers telling me I was going to cave into pain meds, and my stubbornness really kicked in. I was determined, confident, and ready to take on labor. I convinced myself I could do it. This came in very handy when the contractions became so painful I started questioning my abilities, which I did, not going to lie! But I made it. And let me tell you, that post birth high is incredible!
Fear and oxytocin are opposites; oxytocin is what causes labor to progress, but adrenaline can slow it. So, essentially fear and tension will slow the progression of your labor, stall your progress, and make the pain worse; it is essential to let go of fear and tension! Leave fear at the door, accept labor for what is is, accept the pain, accept the intensity, and let go of tension. Relaxation is your best friend.
Allowing for what happens to happen
This is another essential mindset to have. No matter what plan we have for birth, or what we’ve always imagined, childbirth is a wild and natural process that can go down many paths in it’s progression. You cannot know what will happen, or what may go wrong until you are there. That is why you have to learn to accept that despite our best efforts, sometimes we have to allow for birth to go unplanned. Sometimes we end up with medically necessary interventions, and the health and safety of baby and mom trumps all. Even though we dream of a perfect childbirth, a calm environment, no interventions, and everything going how we’d want it, nature has a mind of it’s own and the waves of reality sometimes take you far off the course of your dreams. In the end, if mom and baby are healthy and living, everyone is a winner. Strive for the birth you want, but don’t find identity in it. Childbirth is hardcore.
Why didn’t I choose a homebirth
I didn’t have a homebirth with my daughter because it wasn’t even on my radar. I also chose not to with this baby either. I already had established care with the midwife on staff at the hospital, and I have absolutely loved and trusted her. Also, we live 45 minutes from the hospital that does deliveries and I am just more comfortable being closer, even if the risk of needing any emergency intervention is extremely small. I’ve also already had one natural hospital birth, so I feel very confident in being able to voice my opinions and that I will not receive any interventions I don’t want or that are not necessary. My first birth was still amazing, and I honestly appreciated the caring nurses who took care of me postpartum so much more than I thought I would! The hospital I am going to this time around has a labor tub (essential!), and I’ve already discussed my desires for the birth with my midwife. I feel confident going there to deliver my baby, despite some of the negatives associated with a hospital birth. I believe it is the right choice for my and my husband.
You may also like The Ultimate List of Natural Childbirth Preparation Resources!
So, there you have it! Childbirth is a wild and beautiful process, but it also takes a good bit of preparation, the right natural remedies, a properly trained professional, a hardcore mindset, and some stubborn determination.
How do you prepare for childbirth?