Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Baby Stuff: How We are Preparing for a Natural Birth

Not so very long ago my mom would tell me I needed to have a natural labor and I would laugh.  No way!  Not now-a-days - there are these wonderful things called drugs.  "There is no way I am not getting an epidural."  

Well, those words have come back to bite me.  haha.  After doing our research, Hubby and I decided that drug free was the best choice for us and for Baby Girl.  I don't think getting an epidural is wrong and I certainly won't judge you if you have had one or plan on getting one - we've just decided this is what is best for our family.  

However, the why isn't important now, it is the how.  Because let's face it - labor hurts.  And I want us to be as prepared as we can be so that we are able to succeed with our plan of a natural birth.  So just exactly how are we preparing?

1. Bradley Method - We have chosen to use the Bradley Method for birthing.  If you haven't heard of it, you really should check it out.  I hope to write a post about it eventually.  At this point it will be after our Little Sprout makes her grand entrance.  But that means I'll get to tell you what worked and what didn't.  Essentially, the Bradley Method teaches you to work with your body the way that God and nature intended.  The two books I have referenced have me practicing through the different stages of labor, watching my diet (not super good at this one), and they thoroughly educate me on what to expect and what can be done to help (as well as what shouldn't be done).  This method also makes Hubby a very active part of the process, which we truly appreciate!

2. Exercising - The Bradley Method also encourages a few different exercises.  Some try to cater to things I already do.  For instance, instead of sitting as I usually do, the method encourages tailor sitting (aka 'Indian style' or 'criss-cross applesauce').  The point is to stretch the inner leg muscles and strengthen my legs in general.  While working I was pretty good about this since I watched a now 11 month old and spent a lot of time on the floor.  Not as good about it while I'm at home.  

Another exercise that caters to what I already do is squatting.  Instead of bending over to do anything, the method tells me to squat.  This is a hard thing to remember because bending just becomes natural.  To be fair, at this point in my pregnancy bending isn't really an option.  So it has become much easier to remember to squat.  ;)

Both squatting and tailor sitting stretch the leg muscles you will need to have stretched and limber for pushing, allowing me to have my legs in the best possible position.  And if I have done this enough I should be able to avoid leg cramps and the like, which is one less thing (one less pain) to worry about.

Pelvic rocking is also to be done 3-4 times a day at this point in my pregnancy (which rarely ever happens for me) and butterfly exercises which involve Hubby are to be done daily.  I think we've done the butterfly exercise like 4 times total.  Both of these are super beneficial, they just take a little more time and that we have been lacking.  Walking is also highly encouraged.  Did pretty well with that until just recently.  

3. Chiropractic Care - I have been going to see my chiropractor on an as needed basis.  When my back starts hurting or my knees give me problems or my round ligaments are giving me pain - I drop in and the problem goes away (at least for awhile).  While this is a nice factor, the chiropractic is also preparing my body for a natural birth.  The chiropractor lines up my body so that it is in optimal position for birth - hips in place and spine aligned = less pain as things progress.  He also takes the time to remove the tension from the round ligaments of the uterus.  This keeps the baby centered as development progresses allowing her to be where she should.  It also keeps my uterus centered allowing for a much easier progression.

4. Red Raspberry Leaf Tea - There are a lot of reasons why drinking this during pregnancy is beneficial.  I started drinking some recently after reading an article (can't remember where) and wish I would have started sooner.  First off, it strengthens uterine muscles and softens the pelvic floor to help prepare for labor.  Studies have shown that those who use it have had less interventions than those who don't and that the second stage of labor is shorter.  All of that sounds wonderful to me!  But that's not all - read more here or here.  

And a cup of hot tea is SO relaxing!

5. Prayer - this may be, no, this IS the most important thing on the list.  I ask God every single day to give me the strength and courage to do this.  He is my strength and without Him I know I couldn't do this.  I just have to remember to rely on His strength and not my own when it comes time.  :)  

What other things have you done to help prepare you for natural birth?  Did they work?

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