It’s hard to imagine that baby could be here any time now, either in the next few days or the next few weeks. I thought I would share a few ways of how I prepare for the big day.
I prepare by learning to let go. Let go of comfort, plans and perfection. I prepare by choosing to trust this body God made, trust the care providers I have chosen and been placed with, and trust myself (which seems the scariest of all. I can do it!!). I prepare by normalizing the birth process. Normalizing my intense array of emotions: fear, elation, grievance and anticipation (my husband would definitely add crazy and angry to the list. And I would agree …but it’s also normal.).
Obviously, there are many other tangible preparations I have done to welcome this baby (exercise, food, nesting, projects, reading, etc.), but I find that I need to come to place of quiet meditation where all my fears and weaknesses are laid bare in order to pick up my pieces into a basket of confidence and strength. This for me, friends, is the greatest preparation of all.
“There are three things that are givens about labor: it’s hard work, it hurts a lot, and you can do it.”
Body care – supplements:
In addition to all the other prenatal supplements your health care provider may suggest, with midwifery care, the following items are also encouraged:
(Please discuss these options with your healthcare provider before following any of the suggestions below.)
- EZ Birth: A homeopathic remedy used to help the body to prepare for labour and encourage the baby to orient itself in the position that is most optimal for birth.
- Evening Primrose Oil: Helps the cervix to soften and efface. Caregivers who promote this practice recommend taking capsules orally, or inserting vaginally starting around week 37. (Be sure to talk to your practitioner before trying evening primrose oil — women with placenta previa should stay away from the herb.)
- Red Raspberry Leaf Tea: Helps strengthen and tone the uterus muscles resulting in a shorter labour.
- A 2000 study published in Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health found that women who took red raspberry leaf during pregnancy spent less time pushing during labor, although it didn’t seem to affect the first stage of labor (the time from when contractions begin to when the cervix is fully dilated).
Physical care for the last weeks:
- Move – get that baby into position! Walk, waddle, wog (walk/waddle/jog), wash floors, yoga, lift weights, dance … it’s good for your mind, body and baby.
- Nap – try get as much sleep as possible. As noted above, letting go of some of our to dos is crucial.
- Chiropractic care – I would say this is close to a must if you are planning on having a natural birth. Even if you aren’t, getting your body into alignment never hurt any body!
- Acupuncture – currently, my baby is “sunny-side-up”. I am seeing an acupuncturist (along with chiro and yoga poses) to help move baby into anterior position.
Cognitive care – books:
With my last pregnancy, I probably read about 50 books about fertility, pregnancy, labour and baby care. I reviewed my favourite “birthing books” and left a top three list. I have recently flipped through a few chapters and gleaned morsels of empowerment and comfort:
- Active Birth – Revised Edition: The New Approach to Giving Birth Naturally – this book inspires and describes how to prepare and enjoy an active, informed pregnancy and birth.
- Birthing from Within: An Extra-Ordinary Guide to Childbirth Preparation – I love how this book provides tools and ideas for introspection. It tells birth stories, techniques and provides encouragement.
“A holistic approach to childbirth that examines this profound rite-of-passage not as a medical event but as an act of self-discovery.”
- Ina May’s Guide to Child Birth – my go-to pregnancy and birth guide. This books is the birthing bible in my opinion!
“Drawing upon her thirty-plus years of experience, Ina May Gaskin, the nation’s leading midwife, shares the benefits and joys of natural childbirth by showing women how to trust in the ancient wisdom of their bodies for a healthy and fulfilling birthing experience.”