5 ways I prepare myself for labor
So currently I am 35 weeks pregnant and holy moly the countdown has definately begun. Since this is my first baby I have actually no idea what pushing out this little human being will be like but I am still trying to prepare myself as best as I can.
When I think about giving birth one of the first things that comes to my mind is : I want to be in control. I feel like being in labor and not knowing what is going on with your body can be pretty scary and might lead to you making decisions that you did not really intend to make. (for example taking certain pain killers). Of course every birth is super individually but there are certain phases you have to go through in order to give birth to a baby.
So 1 thing I did to prepare myself was to buy a book that talks a lot about what your body and mind go through every step of the journey. The book I found online and that I have been loving so far is already quite old (the early 90s) but super helpful and empowering.
It is called : New Active Birth: A Concise Guide to Natural Childbirth written by Janet Balaskas.
Janet is the founder of the Active Birth movement where she encourages woman to be in control and do whatever makes them feel most comfortable. Seems pretty standard nowadays but back then birth became more and more a procedure that tried to make it really easy for the birth attendants instead of the women and so slowly they were losing power and control. That is just a cool little side note, but what makes this books so special for me is that she describes in a scientific but super understandable way all the different stages of birth (early labor, transition, crowning etc.) accompanied with pictures of what goes on inside of you and pictures of actual women being at this stage. She also includes how you might be feeling in this moment and adds little snippets of what woman have told her how they have felt.
Since she advocates giving birth in an upright position she also offers a lot of helpful tips which positions to be in and when. (For example when squatting your pelvis is the most open and the contractions are at their strongest, so squatting right from the start could tire you out to quickly)
All in all she just gives you this feeling that if you know what is going on and trust in the process of nature everything will work out fine while still offering the pure facts and potential risks. She also shows exercises for before and after the birth which brings me to point 2 – YOGA.
YOGA is something I have been doing for a couple of years now but when I became pregnant I could not do my normal routine anymore and joined a pregnancy yoga course.
First I was a little disappointed when I found out this course will be a really slow one because I always liked getting my body moving during practice. But after the first class I completely changed my mind. There was something so soothing about being there for 1,5 hours every week, taking deep breaths, forgetting about everything else and consciously connect with your baby. Oh and not to forget just simply meeting and talking to other soon to be mamas. I have been going to pregnancy yoga class since I have been 14 weeks pregnant (everyone was way further along ;)) and I will hopefully continue to go until birth. It allows me to dedicate 1,5 hours every week only to my baby… because honestly I cannot pull it of alone at home with all the things going on a daily basis. It also really helped me to practice my breathing which could come in handy.
Point number 3 is having a midwife. Besides my normal doctor check ups I am also seeing a midwife (I am basically splitting my prenatal care). She is doing everything the doc does other then the ultrasound but the big difference is time. Whenever we meet up she plans one hour for us to sit and chat which is nice because there are lots of little questions to ask but it always feels like there is never enough time at the doctors office. Unfortunately I found that here the midwifes and the doctors often work rather against then with each other, so a lot of the time I get different opinions on stuff and then I have to decide what to believe which can be tricky if you never actually had a baby.
And last but not least we have number 4: The birthing class
My husband and I are taking a 7 week – birthing class that happens once a week where alongside with other couples we “get ready for birth”. It is mostly relaxation with massages and little exercises and here and there some information about the pelvis or signs of labor. Again it is about taking the time together as a couple to relax 2 hours a week and just focus on the birth and our baby. In Germany a course like this is covered by the health insurance so I recommend going to one if it interests you.
Oh and there is one thing I try NOT to do in order to get prepared for the arrival of this little baby which is listening to other birth stories.
Most of the time they just scare the shit out of you and are no help for a first time mom because everybody and all the circumstances are so unique anyways. I am sure it will be a lot of fun to share the stories with other mamas afterwards but for now I shut my ears to all these painful stories and focus on my own adventure that lays ahead.