You get pregnant, have some tests, show up to your medical appts and then wait for the day your birth comes, so you can get it over and done with and have your baby, right? Not necessarily.
Preparing for labour and birth is among the most neglected on most people’s ever growing to do list when you’re pregnant, so whilst a lot of this is optional, this is our guide to ensuring you’re prepared for what will arguably be the most important day of your life. The day that will be a part of you forever and create the foundation to your postpartum journey. So, what’s there to do? Let’s dive in.
- Know your stuff
It’s no secret that our maternity system, whilst great in an emergency, has a sort of a tunnel vision in terms of birth. You’ll likely have access to free hospital antenatal classes, which whilst it’s great does not cover everything you’ll likely want to know.
We recommend looking for a local Hypnobirthing practitioner, calm birth class, or another private birthing class near you. These all come with an associated cost, assuming this isn’t in the budget Core and Floor Restore provide an incredible free online antenatal class. We promise you’ll never regret having information going into your labour, so this would be our number 1 recommendation.
- Create a birth plan/map
Creating a birth plan is great to let your medical team know what you’d ideally like to happen in your birth when there are no conflicting medical emergencies. A really great tool is the birth map, which covers so many scenarios and allows you to convey your wishes no matter what happens – you can always change your mind but having everyone know ahead of time how you’d like your birth to go is really invaluable.
- Perineal massage
Studies have shown that performing perineal massage reduces the chances of severe tears and episiotomies. It is recommended that antenatal perineal massage be commenced from 35 weeks of pregnancy. The benefit is seen when practiced once or twice per week. There is a beautifully formulated Perineal Massage Oil here which has been created by a naturopath and you can find some further information on how to do this here.
- Raspberry leaf tea or capsules
Drinking raspberry leaf tea, or taking the capsules has been shown to greatly reduce the first stage of labour and reduce the amount of medical interventions including caesarean. It is a uterine tonic which helps to strengthen your uterus and is believed to aid your uterus in contracting more effectively.
- Prepare your mind
You’ve likely heard all the horror stories from the moment you announced your pregnancy, but for every negative story, there are more positive ones. Your mindset can affect your birth a lot, even physically – in order for your uterus to contract your body needs high levels of oxytocin, which can be inhibited by stress. So (and this can be easier said than done), the best thing to do in labour is to surrender yourself to it. What will be, will be and you can only affect what is in your control – not focusing on the unknown can be so beneficial and empowering!
What did you do in your pregnancy which you found to be the most beneficial?