Whether a woman is expecting her first or ninth baby, pregnancy and birth are important events in her life. Women who take time to prepare prenatally can have easier, more comfortable pregnancies and births. Here is a list of things that can help you as you prepare to give birth.
Hire a care provider
Many women today are looking for more natural birthing options, like un-medicated birth, water birth, delayed cord clamping, and immediate skin-to-skin with baby after the birth. Read some books on childbirth to find out what is important to you and then talk to your care provider and ask how he or she plans to support you in achieving the birth you desire. Remember, your doctor or midwife works for you, and it is in your best interest to hire one that is supportive of your desires.
Take a childbirth class
There are several different childbirth classes available today. Look for one that teaches the physiology of birth, how to stay healthy and low risk, the benefits, risks and alternatives for common medical procedures, and relaxation techniques. Every woman, whether planning a natural or medicated birth, needs to understand how her body will be working in labor and what options she has when giving birth. It is very empowering for a woman to go into her birthing time armed with the knowledge and the tools to help her give birth.
Hire a doula
A doula is a non-medical labor support person who is trained to help women throughout birth by providing information, as well as physical and emotional support. Statistically, women who have the support of a trained doula have shorter labors, fewer complications, decreased medication use, fewer cesarean sections, and increased overall birth satisfaction. A doula can be a great asset to all women in a variety of birthing situations and can help them achieve their goals for the birth they desire.
Schedule time to relax daily
Women who take time to relax daily have easier and more enjoyable pregnancies and labors. In labor, a woman’s birthing muscles function better when she is relaxed. Sign up for some yoga classes, practice meditation or hypnosis, or listen to classical music — do whatever makes you feel physically and mentally relaxed — and do it every day.
Pregnancy provides a great opportunity to begin eating healthy, if you aren’t already doing so. Your diet will impact your health and your baby’s health. Replace processed foods and soda with whole foods and water. Read food labels and eat lots of fruits, vegetables and high-quality protein. When you eat well, you feel well.
Receive regular chiropractic care
Women who are regularly adjusted by a chiropractor throughout their pregnancies have much more comfortable pregnancies and labors. As a woman’s belly is expanding and growing, it can shift the spine out of alignment. Regular adjustments not only help ease pregnancy discomforts but also help your baby get into the best position for birth — head down, chin tucked, facing toward your back. When your baby is in the optimal fetal position, you will have an easier labor, and you will have more options as you give birth.
You will remember your child’s birth for the rest of your life, so make sure it is a good memory. Your educated choices can empower you as a woman and mother like no other event in life. Birth is unpredictable and full of surprises, so maintain flexibility as you plan for and expect the very best.
Kelly Colvin, HCHI, HCHD
*Originally published by The Spectrum Daily News on December 17, 2014