I’m feeling inspired to write a blog on birth since a few of my friends and pregnant patients have had beautiful water births lately!
What does birth mean to you?
To me, birth is truly a passageway of no return. You set yourself on a journey and there’s no turning back. I have approached both of my births this way and it helped me get through the tough parts of labour. The parts where you’re out of breath, you just want a rest that lasts longer than 1 min 30 sec, you’re just ready for it to be over, but you must. keep. going. It also helped me feel incredibly rewarded once I pushed my babe out into the world. “Yes! I did it!”
I know a lot of women these days are frightened of birth. They are not being told the truth from both sides. They are told horror stories from the moment they are pregnant and they often feel unsupported and alone. They don’t want their husband/partner to see them poo while they push, they don’t want their vagina to stretch, they don’t want their perineum to tear. Those of us who have beautiful, empowered natural births are of the vast minority and are considered the “lucky ones”. Whilst I am compassionate and understanding that not everyone will get the birth that they want, I am a strong believer in doing as many things as possible to MAKE SOMETHING GOOD HAPPEN. You don’t need to wait until you have a crap birth until you decide to look into how to have a good birth.
How does a woman empower herself for a Natural Birth?
- Get educated. Read the science about natural birth. Read positive birth stories. The best books I recommend you read as soon as you are pregnant are “Gentle Birth, gentle mothering” by Sarah Buckley and “New active birth” by Janet Balaskas. I don’t recommend you use “what to expect when you’re expecting” as your bible! If you do choose to read that book, then just use it as a point of reference to know the approx size of baby and what is developing week by week. It’s nice to know that when you’re having your first baby 🙂 Ignore their birth stuff. While we are talking about books, buy a membership to the Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA). It comes with awesome support and a “how to” book that you can prep yourself for breastfeeding before baby arrives. Getting educated is so important to successful birth and breastfeeding.
- Surround yourself with natural birth, supportive people and find a midwife. They have been the natural birth advocates since the beginning of time! Whilst there is a time and place for OB/GYN, it is of my opinion, if you are considered “low-risk”, there is no reason why a surgeon needs to deliver your baby. Trust the natural birth experts. Midwives!
- Find a doula. The chances of having a cesarean birth are reduced by 90% when you have a doula present during your labour. They protect and hold space for you and your partner emotionally. Midwives are there for the medical / emergency side, and the doula helps prepare a lovely birth space. She says encouraging words, she will give you a massage, hold your hand and gently guide your partner to feel more confident in the birthing process. I had one at my second home birth, and she made cups of tea and washed towels, boiled water for the birth pool, said kind words in my ear when I was in between contractions. She helped everything run just that little bit (ok a lot) smoother.
- Eat whole foods, steer clear of junk, refined sugary foods and drink plenty of clean, filtered water. Make sure you are eating enough protein (meat, fish, tofu, pea protein powder for vegans), good fats (avo, coconut, nuts and seeds) and fruits & veggies. Sounds intense, but if you’re watching what you eat, you’ll be more energetic, motivated and focused. It is worth it!
- Exercise daily. Walking, yoga and swimming are best for pregnancy and birth prep. Focus on deep breathing and getting yourself in a state of calm whilst exercising. This will help prepare you for labour-style breathing.
This is merely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to birth prep, and each woman is different, but give these suggestions a try. If you need any more specialised information, or advice I am taking new patients for 2017 now. Visit the contact page and send me a message.