This week I’m 34 weeks pregnant, which means there’s about 6 weeks to go until I get to meet my baby.
I’ve been pretty open and honest about my pregnancy struggles and fears surrounding the birth, so I wanted to share what I’ve been doing to help prepare myself for a calm, gentle and natural birth.
The best thing I ever came across was hypnobirthing. This has changed my entire perception about labour and birth. No, I wasn’t hypnotised with a swaying pendulum which I’m sure is the first thing that comes to mind.
Hypnobirthing was developed to reduce anxiety and fear surrounding labour and birth. Reducing fear, reduces tension and adrenaline which diminishes pain sensations. Consequently, this then allows mothers to birth their babies more confidently and comfortably.
Some benefits of hypnobirthing are;
Eliminates fear, tension and anxiety about the birthing process.
Gives your body the preparation needed for a calm birth.
Greatly reduces or eliminates pain experienced during childbirth.
Shortens the first stage of labour.
Greatly reduces or eliminates the need for painkillers during childbirth.
Reduces surgical intervention.
Reduces fatigue so you can remain alert and energised.
Faster postnatal recovery.
Returns birthing to the beautiful, peaceful experience nature intended.
Allows dads or birth companions to play an active role in the birth.
Creates a calm environment for your baby to be born into.
My husband and I attended a calm birth workshop which is exactly the same as hypnobirthing a couple of weeks ago, and I can highly recommend this workshop to any pregnant woman. Aaron and I are now equipped with knowledge of how the body works during labour and birth, I know how to breathe properly through contractions to ensure I stay in a calm and relaxed state of mind, I’ve gained confidence in my body’s ability to birth naturally and without medication and Aaron and I have a better understanding that this whole experience is about team work, and our bond has grown even stronger.
Hypnobirthing has helped me immensely prepare my mind for labour and birth, but there are also other things I’ve been doing to prepare.
I meditate every day without fail, sometimes even twice or three times a day. The meditations I do are about visualizing my baby’s birth and how I would like my ‘perfect’ labour and birth to be, aswell as simple relaxation meditations. Practice makes permanant, and by practicing the ‘relaxtion response’ in the body every day, it begins to come into play very easily. I’m hoping by my first contraction, I can easily tap into a deep relaxed state of mind.
I use crystals alongside my meditations, sometimes using my smudge stick to help clear away negative energy, and essential oils to help keep me in a relaxed and calm state. I will be bringing my crystals and oils to the hospital when I’m in labour also.
I have positive birth affirmations stuck on almost every wall in my house and on my desk at work. I read these daily, and I also have a few special ones for labour and birth that will come to the hospital with me. Affirmations are not only for manifesting a specific goal. They’re meant to encourage a life filled with positivity and gratitude.
Raspberry leaf tea
I have recently started taking raspberry tea leaf capsules, which assist the uterus in preparation for birth. Most women drink raspberry leaf tea, which has the same effect, however the capsules are stronger. Raspberry leaf is thought to help shorten labour, as it strengthens the uterine and pelvic muscles while also working as a relaxant at the same time, and therefore helps reduce the pain of contractions during labour.
I eat 6 dates everyday, which helps to shorten labour and aids in faster dilation. Researchers have found that dates have an oxytocin-like effect on the body, leading to increased sensitivity of the uterus. It also helps stimulate uterine contractions, and reduces postpartum hemorrhage the way oxytocin does. They also found that it contains many nutritional benefits for pregnant mamas. The recommended quantity to eat is 4 – 6 dates per day from 34 weeks of pregnancy.
Some of you probably think this is all a bit extreme, and that’s your opinion. But for me, labour and birth is a huge challenge mentally and I am working hard, dedicating time to practicing ways and help prepare my body. I mean, you wouldn’t enter a marathon without training for it would you? Same goes for labour. Why wouldn’t you want to atleast try and have an easier, painfree and relaxed birth?
The best advice I’ve received from other calm birth Mother’s is that it’s mind over matter and believing in your body. It’s about conditioning the mind to think positively about the birth and trusting that your body knows how to birth gently and naturally.
So I guess we will see what happens when it comes to BIRTH day, and how everything will unfold. I’m excited to fill you all in on my birth story, and to see if everything I’m working on and the birth that I dream of all happens for me. For now, I’m going to trust the process, and have faith everything will happen for me.
P.s For those interested in learning calm birth, here is the information of the workshop we did. I highly recommend this to any pregnant woman.