Friday, September 05, 2014

labor prep

*Disclaimer I am no longer an allied health professional. I am a mom who chose to have a med-free birth at a hospital and this is what helped me along the way. As with anything new during your pregnancy, consult your Dr./OB/Midwife/DO before you begin any new regimen.*

Now that I'm almost in my 32nd week of pregnancy, the idea of labor is becoming very real! If you've been following my blog or IG, you know that I had a med-free natural birth with Gabriel at a hospital/birth center. My hope is to do the same with this little nugget on the way. I'm not dedicated to one single 'program' of laboring naturally. I like to mix it up and I feel that if I focus too much on only wanting one thing so badly, I lose sight of the bigger picture. And that is the safety of both baby and me. I hope these are helpful tips for you, and even if you aren't planning to have a med-free birth some of these might help you during the process as well! 

If you want a med-free birth and are opting to have it in a hospital setting, it is possible. Please remember that you are your greatest advocate, and it helps to have your significant other or support person there to also share your wishes. 

I also highly recommend to take a birthing class if your hospital offers it (most do). And take a tour of the facilities. It is so helpful to know where you will be laboring and this really helps paint a better picture. Also, don't be afraid to ask questions! Not only is this one of the most important days of your life, but you deserve to have answers. Most classes explain what options you have for pain and what they can offer if you opt for a med-free birth.


Before labor

As I mentioned in Gabriel's birth story the most difficult part for me was not being able to push when every ounce of my being wanted to push! It felt as if I had this huge bowling ball that wanted to escape forcefully from my entire pelvic area. Sorry for the graphic detail but just keeping it real! I had to focus all of my energy on holding back, breathing and not pushing. So for this part my greatest challenge was keeping a steady breath. 


~I practice my meditative breathing every day, and before I go to bed. I take some time to hold my bump and talk to our growing baby boy. I also breathe in deeply and try to clear my mind for about 10 minutes. It is seriously invaluable in the process of birth and ultimately daily living. Practice listening to yourself breathe, in and out slowy. Here is a great video that can help you get started! I also love this entire video for prenatal yoga.

Guided Relaxation 

~ I watch what I eat. Your food is your energy, it gives you life. If you are only putting sweets, high fats, and processed foods you are depleting your natural energy. Do I always eat super clean and healthy? No! (In fact, I am currently dealing with the after effects of that brat burger I posted yesterday on IG haha!) But I am very mindful of what I eat throughout the day. A good way to start your day is with a healthy bowl of oatmeal and fruit. It's sweet, filling and will give you that boost you will need to start your day.

~ Birthing balls are a great way to build strength and help with contractions. And if done carefully you can use it to help induce labor naturally. One part of opting to give birth in a hospital setting is that your OB has probably told you the amount of time that they are willing to go beyond your due date before they explore induction methods. Based on evidence based medicine my OB opts to not go beyond a week after my due date. This means that I have already spoken to her about the natural methods I use to induce labor. Per her recommendation I do not begin any of these methods until I am 37 weeks.   

Once I am 37 weeks, I begin bouncing on my birthing ball for 10 mn, three times a day. I make sure to hold my bump (as in the picture) and gently bounce up and down. I also start pelvic rotations. As you sit hold your bump and rotate right and left, you can do this for about 10 minutes as well.

If you don't own one, I highly recommend picking one up (shop here for one).

~Red Raspberry Leaf tea. This tea has been known to help induce labor naturally. (Buy it here) I drank about 1-3 cups a day. When I told my OB that I would be doing this she was on board but she was also concerned that I might be one of those moms that respond very well to it. Therefore, she reiterated that I should begin around 37 weeks.

~Dates! No not that kind of date but the kind you eat! Yes, I know it sounds cray BUT there has been research (here's a link)  done that there are huge benefits for women that do:
"The women who consumed date fruit had significantly higher mean cervical dilatation upon admission compared with the non-date fruit consumers (3.52 cm vs 2.02 cm, p < 0.0005), and a significantly higher proportion of intact membranes (83% vs 60%, p = 0.007). Spontaneous labour occurred in 96% of those who consumed dates, compared with 79% women in the non-date fruit consumers (p = 0.024). Use of prostin/oxytocin was significantly lower in women who consumed dates (28%), compared with the non-date fruit consumers (47%) (p = 0.036). The mean latent phase of the first stage of labour was shorter in women who consumed date fruit compared with the non-date fruit consumers (510 min vs 906 min, p = 0.044). It is concluded that the consumption of date fruit in the last 4 weeks before labour significantly reduced the need for induction and augmentation of labour, and produced a more favourable, but non-significant, delivery outcome. The results warrant a randomised controlled trial."
Once I read this, I said BRING on the dates haha! If anything else, they are tasty and provide a little extra fiber in your diet ;) I usually start eating them around this time. 

~I also walk a lot, at least 30 minutes a day (some days I'll walk 3-5 miles) I feel that it both strengthens my legs and breathing. 

During Active Labor

My birthing center made sure to provide a birthing ball for me. It was amazing how much it helped me during the more intense contractions! They also offered for me to sit on the toilet, because that also helps release pressure. My birthing center also has a whirlpool that can be used to help during the contractions, but since my water already broke I wasn't able to use it. Ask your hospital what items they have to help you with your natural birthing process.

~HOT Packs! It's amazing how much these helped me with my back labor. They were very hot, but they even helped me to get some sleep in between my contractions and once I was transitioning. 

~Music. It is so therapeutic. Before going to the hospital I started a playlist of some of my favorite songs. And while I was in active labor at the hospital I was able to listen to the music and it helped take my mind off of the intensity. At one point, I remember "Faithfully" the Glee version came on, and I just began to cry. I looked over at my husband and he started getting teary-eyed as well. The emotions took over and it is a moment I will never forget! As cheesy as it sounds haha! 

We planned a few other methods but once we tried them it didn't help me with the pain. But these are the few that I was able to try and I hope it helps you along the way as well!

I sincerely wish all of my preggo reader's a happy and healthy rest of your pregnancy. But also a beautiful labor experience! Whether, you are having a c-section, a med-free birth or a medicated one, being able to be a part of creation is a gift! And each and every one of you are doing beautifully.

Best wishes to you, momma!

Abrazos,
Keila






3 comments:

  1. if you get sick of eating plain dates i have a recipe for realllly tasty date nut bread! http://www.cornflakedreams.com/2014/01/great-grandmas-date-nut-bread.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha! I do! I usually just cut it up in my oatmeal-I will def be trying your recipe! When I do, I'll be sure to tag you :) Sounds so yum!

      Delete