Wednesday, June 5, 2019

How I'm Prepping for Natural + Unmedicated Birth

Today I am going to be sharing everything I have been doing to prepare my body and my mind for unmedicated birth. I have two goals this pregnancy and that is to 1. go into labor naturally without being induced, and 2. to have as few medical interventions as possible. As a result I have been doing a lot of work these past six months, and want to round it all up on one place! Even if you plan on getting an epidural, many of these things may be helpful to you as labor is a physical feat either way.

I am meeting with a team who supports natural + intervention free birth. I was recommended an OBGYN known for that by a friend who happens to be a labor and delivery nurse, so I am in good hands. The team is conservative with decisions that will need to be made the day of, and I can trust that if they do need to move forward with interventions such as episiotomy, forceps, vacuums, or C-section that it was for the good of myself and the baby. Not only that, I trust them to communicate with me at all times about the need for those interventions. Having a team around me that I trust, that I am confident in, and that I know rarely perform those interventions has given me peace of mind this pregnancy. I am so grateful for the OBGYN, midwife, and nurses I have worked with so far.

I have been consuming a healthy diet. I have been trying to nourish myself and my baby through food and gentle nutrition. I have felt such a difference this pregnancy compared to my last just from intuitive eating and gentle exercise. I have more energy, feel less chronic pain, and overall my mood has been better. Of course I give in to cravings here and there as I believe in balance, but I find myself craving fruits and vegetables more often than not. I've gained less weight this pregnancy and am more fit.

I've started taking prenatal yoga during the third trimester. I cannot recommend this enough, especially if offered by the hospital or birthing center you will be delivering at. My class is taught by a labor and delivery nurse who has taught yoga for ten years. She has been such a valuable resource to me not only in helping me stay physically active, open, and limber but also in teaching me coping mechanisms and positions for labor. Labor and delivery is a marathon not a sprint, and I am happy to be training for it each week! I only wish that I had started sooner.

I have been meeting once a week with a pelvic floor physical therapist since the second trimester. Meeting with my physical therapist has been eye opening to not only how important the pelvic floor is during pregnancy, but after! If you are postpartum and peeing while you sneeze, then that is something that can be addressed by a pelvic floor physical therapist. We are taught as a society that is something that comes with the territory, but it doesn't have to be! She is helping me strengthen my pelvic floor in preparation for labor.

I've been reading Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way: Revised Edition by Susan McCutcheon. This is one of three popular childbirth methods, the others being Lamaze and Hypnobabies. I haven't completed the book as of 31 weeks, but have found the information in it and the exercises very helpful! There are classes offered with an instructor, but if I am being honest I haven't had the time. If you are interested in classes, you can find a local instructor here.

I started drinking red raspberry leaf tea at the start of my third trimester. Mama Natural has written a wonderful article all about the benefits of red raspberry leaf tea here. While most of the evidence I have found online and in person have been anecdotal, I am willing to try anything to make my contractions stronger and more productive! It tastes pretty nice, so no complaints.

I have been upping my mental and spiritual self care. The more you can calm your mind and your spirit during labor, the better! I have created a Pinterest board  with birth affirmations that I say out loud to myself. I have been spending more time outdoors and relaxing at night. I have let myself be still. I have tried to do some guided pregnancy meditations, and so far I haven't found one that I connect with. If you know of any great ones, send them my way! I have also been making more time for prayer and reflection.

I have been listening to, watching, and reading positive birth stories. It seems par for the course that when you are pregnant women feel the need to tell you negative birth stories. They aren't serving me right now, so I am focusing on positive ones! It has helped me remain confident, happy, and relaxed looking forward.

If you are currently pregnant and preparing for an intervention free birth, please let me know what you are doing! I am always open to new ideas.

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