You’ve read the books, set up the nursery, bought bottles and diapers, and are totally prepared for the baby's arrival. But what about going through labour and birth? Are you prepared?
Preparing to give birth can feel either pointless or straightforward.
What’s the point in preparing, don’t you just show up and have a baby? Or perhaps you have prepared a hospital bag, and gone to your prenatal appointments and classes; you think you are definitely prepared...right?
There may be more to it than you think.
You need to be holistically prepared.
In my doula practice, I make sure to always incorporate the 5 main spheres of wellness; physical, informational, emotional, relational, and environmental. Pregnancy, birth, and postpartum are not simply bodily symptoms of having a baby, but rather an active process in which you have the opportunity to participate as a whole dynamic person.
Holistically preparing for birth will allow you to show up to your labour confidently, clearly, and in control. Sure, it’s likely that everything may not go according to plan. But you’ll be that much closer.
So let’s start with our first sphere of holistic wellness; physical.
Going through labour and birth is physically demanding! You wouldn’t show up for a marathon without training. So why show up to labour and birth without training? This doesn’t mean start weight training and running, tomorrow- especially without a personal trainer. This is not the time to get into peak physical condition. But it is the time to keep your body moving and focused on gentle conditioning for labour and birth.
Going through labour and birth will require you to be able to have the strength and flexibility to assume positions such as squatting or being on your hands and knees. Additionally your heart rate will elevate and you’ll be breathing deeper and faster, so effective cardio health can be helpful.
I suggest going for frequent walks. You can stay at a comfortable pace or try a more brisk walk focusing on squeezing your bum and leg muscles with each step. You can start this habit at any point in pregnancy and especially after 38 weeks as it may help encourage labour to start.
Another suggestion is to try prenatal yoga. This can encourage muscle tone, cardio, and flexibility. Try looking up some studios near you, renting a DVD from the library, or looking on YouTube for prenatal yoga videos. This is a great practice to incorporate all through pregnancy, and especially in the third trimester as labour gets closer.
I hope this information and suggestions are helpful for you in preparing your body for labour and birth. If you are interested in exploring more prenatal holistic support, be sure to check out my services page.
Keep an eye out for my next blog post about incorporating informational wellness into your holistic preparation for birth!