I support any birth that a woman chooses. May it be to have an epidural, c-section, or vaginal birth, whether it is at home, in the hospital or a birthing center. The human body is remarkable, childbirth is a normal part of life and one of the most empowering events a woman can experience. Supporting and encouraging one another for bringing life into the world, no matter how it’s done, is immeasurably important.
Below are some suggestions to holistically prepare your mind, body, and spirit for delivery .
Read: Fill your mind with positive natural birth stories. I recommend Ina May Gaskins – Guide to Childbirth, HypnoBirthing – Marie Mongan, and Childbirth without Fear – Grantly Dick-Read and Ina May Gaskin. There are more recommendations in the Pregnancy and Postpartum book section of this site.
Meditate: Practice calm and focusing of your mind by paying attention to your breath. You may find this also helpful during contractions. There are many free options on you tube, including hypnobirthing meditations. You can also practice on your own. Get cozy with a blanket, put on some soft music or practice in silence. Essential oils, crystals and candles are a nice touch to help you feel nurtured and calm.
Educate: Learn about the phases of labor and all of your birthing options as much as you can. You can attend local birthing classes to help feel prepared and can find some suggestions in the birth educators’ section. There are often birthing classes offered at the hospital as well, I suggest you look for classes outside of a hospital as they will provide educational support for all birthing options, including medication-free birth.
Affirmations & Mindfulness: Create or find empowering affirmations that you can recite or listen to in the weeks leading up to your due date and during labor. It will give you a positive mindset when labor becomes intense.
Notice and observe any fear and do some breath work to release. Heavy exhales out, nurturing calm inhales. Notice any attachment you may have to particular circumstances for your pregnancy, birth, labor and delivery. These can be observed and written down. Just taking the time to acknowledge can dissipate the complexity of the emotions attached.
Stretch & Walk: Prenatal yoga is great for this, but even just taking 10-15 minutes to stretch yourself out every morning, and every night before bed is helpful. Move in whatever way feels good for you, include some movement to open your hips. Walking is an easy way to stay in shape, keep your energy up, and help progress labor in the early stages.
Bounce: Bouncing or rocking on an exercise/birthing ball is great for opening up your hips, helping the baby get into proper position, and for releasing tension in your back during pregnancy and labor. Bouncing is also said to help induce and progress labor.
Relax: Be sure to take time throughout your pregnancy to just be, as it is important for labor to know how to relax. It’s so easy to get caught up in all the “to-do’s” before the baby comes, and that includes taking time just for you. If you have other children already, even taking 20 minutes after they go to bed to consciously unwind will be supportive. It might be having hot tea, taking a long bath or shower, or laying on the couch and reading a book. Make the relaxation mindful, taking time to include your mind and body together for conscious down time.
Hydrate & Nourish: You want to make sure you’re always drinking lots of water throughout pregnancy, including electrolytes and red raspberry leaf tea will also support your body in preparation for labor and delivery. Electrolytes help to move the fluids in your body around to all the areas that need hydration. Red raspberry leaf tea contains usable vitamins and minerals that support the uterus and pelvic muscles, making it a wonderful addition to include in your daily prenatal (and postnatal) journey. Don’t deny yourself of pregnancy cravings, but make sure you’re giving your body what it needs to keep those muscles properly fueled. Protein, whole grains, fruits and veggies!
Pray: Connecting within can be done mentally, verbally, or written. Speak to guidance, protection, strength, and love through this transition of bringing new life into the world. You don’t have to be religious to pray. You can call on your Higher-Self, Future-Self, Divine Feminine, Universe, God, Source, whatever aligns with your soul.
Connect & Visualize: Take some time to connect with baby and remember this journey is together. Send love and strength as they prepare to enter the world. Connect with your divine feminine energy within that knows exactly what to do to create and grow life. Visualize a happy and healthy, birth, labor and delivery. See what tools you’ll use to work with your breathing and contractions. Trust that there are many ways baby may choose to enter the world. Be open and be flexible in your plans. Listen to professional evidence based guidance and trust the direction. Focus on what you can control; and let go of what you cannot.
Reflect & Give Thanks: Rethink pain and discomfort to be a catalyst for expansion and growth. See the strength in the struggle. Birth is a challenge you will overcome to bring your little one into the world. Managing fear is a big part of labor and delivery and can impact how your labor progresses. Practice gratitude to be a channel of birth to new life and give thanks for your body to have provided such a nurturing safe home for your baby to grow.
Surrender to the wisdom that lives within you, it will help lead the way to a healthy pregnancy and birth.
Cheers to Wellness!