Preparing for childbirth can be an extremely vulnerable time. I know that you want to feel empowered as you prepare to bring your child into this world, but where do you turn to achieve this?
I have been there.
I have been in your shoes.
I don't want you to feel alone!
Because of this, I want to share with you the top 5 things that I did to bring EMPOWERMENT and awareness into my pregnancy. Above all else, remember that our bodies are amazing things! We are competent and capable of growing, nurturing, and birthing our tiny loves. We are strong. But we also need to prepare ourselves physically and emotionally so that we can birth optimally. Here are the 5 steps that I took:
1. Took a childbirth education class
Taking a comprehensive childbirth education class may seem overwhelming. It may seem like just one more thing to add to your weekly list, but man is it beneficial! These classes not only help prepare you for birth and learn the stages of labor, but they also provide you with tools for your birth toolbox on how to cope with labor, delivery, and beyond. Another key component is that these classes often heavily engage your partner as well. Together you can become educated and encouraged on how to trouble shoot scenarios, learn about alternative options for pain management, and the different types of interventions. Bonus is that you are surrounded by other new parents who are in the same boat as you!
2. Hired a doula
Hiring a doula was one of the best things we did- hands down. This valuable part of our birth team acted as a non-judgmental support throughout the entire process. Our doula was respectful of our wishes, provided us with beneficial pain management techniques, and kept in close contact with us throughout our pregnancy and labor process. During our birth, my husband was able to focus on ME, while our doula helped keep us both calm, cool, and collected by offering encouraging words and guiding me into a variety of birth positions to aid in progression and comfort.
3. Chose a supportive birth provider
It was extremely important for me to be cared for by a provider who trusted that my body was designed for birth: that I was capable of birthing my child into this world safely, and that my birth plan was respected. It was important to me that the birth of our child was not rushed or dictated by the time clock. Of course I am not naive to the fact that emergencies are possible during birth, and our provider was confident and knowledgable about how and when to step in if necessary.
4. Saw a chiropractor regularly
Since I was planning a natural childbirth, it was also important for me to ensure I was in good standing physically and emotionally. Being under chiropractic care (specifically using the Webster Technique) during my pregnancy helped to facilitate correct pelvic and sacral alignment- decreasing uterine tension for optimal fetal position for baby. With each adjustment chiropractic care also helped restore my nervous system function. This led to healthy growth and development for my baby, and promoted health and wellness for me despite constant physical and hormonal changes associated with pregnancy. Chiropractic care during pregnancy has also been associated with decreased pain during labor, decreased labor and delivery times, and decreased need for intervention during the birthing process. Wins all around!
5. Read and listened to positive sources
I chose to surround myself with positivity during pregnancy to help create a calm headspace while preparing for birth. I know that anxiety and stress can lead to poor health and a sense of feeling out of control, and I wanted to be a strong driver in my birth plan. After all, I was the one nourishing and growing our child for the past 9 months! My birth team was intended to help me achieve my goals safely.
A few of my favorite positive sources include:
-Well-Adjusted Babies by Dr. Jennifer Barham-Floreani
-Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
-The Birth Hour podcast