***Please be aware that not all of the tips given are necessary or safe for everyone – please talk to your midwife or doctor about all of the information here before using any of it!***

  • Eat well – it is important to maintain a healthy diet throughout your pregnancy.  Frequent, small meals high in protein throughout the day will help minimize sugar cravings and maintain energy levels.  Snacking on nuts and vegetables is a great way to nourish your body.  Fruits and sugary snacks should be kept to a minimum so as not to increase your risk for gestational diabetes.
  • Exercisemaintaining flexibility and fitness levels is important for the work of labour!  Prenatal yoga, swimming, and walking are all excellent forms of moderate exercise.  Exercise can help you maintain your energy levels and improve your sleep and overall comfort throughout your pregnancy.  Be sure to consult your health care provider before beginning any new exercise routines, or if you feel any unusual discomfort.
  • Cervical Ripeningbefore labour can begin, the cervix has to soften and shorten.  Acupuncture, the application of evening primrose oil to the cervix, sexual intercourse, and the use of homeopathics can all aid in the progression of cervical ripening.  Make sure the acupuncturist you see is experienced and specializes in working with ecxpectant mothers, and of course consult with your health care provider before doing anything to ripen your cervix.  Cervical ripening (if approved by your health care provider) is often something that one would begin at around 36 weeks.
  • Perineal Massage massaging the perineum before childbirth helps to stretch the tissues, and more importantly – creates an awareness of the muscle.  When a baby’s head is crowning, the mother must consciously relax her perineum to help prevent tearing- this can be a challenge unless one devlops an awareness about this muscle, and practices relaxing it even when there is pressure against it.  Ask your health care provider or doula for a hand out with detailed instructions on how to do this and what stage of your pregnancy this is appropriate.
  • Educationgroup or one on one prenatal education classes can make a big difference for people.  Also reading inspiring and educational books can help you gain an understanding about the physical and emotional changes you can expect throughout your pregnancy and labour.  Become aware about common medical interventions and medications – find out the common reasons for their use and the possible side affects.  Ask questions of your doctor, midwife and doula – knowledge is power!
  • Meditation practicing meditation throughout your pregnancy, and particularly leading up to labour can help you stay feeling centered.  Meditation can mean many different things for different people – it can be guided meditation with a mentor, or simply taking 10 minutes out every day to sit and enjoy nature, or some quiet time to connect with your baby and your body.
  • Choose your support team carefully –  people often envision a bit of a gathering for their birth, it’s important to realize that labour is a very primal experience and one needs to feel comfortable on every level to do whatever it is their body feels.  It’s a good idea to have an extra set of hands because labour can be long and often requires a lot of: massage, counterpressure, the fetching of food and beverages, preperation of comfortable places, photo taking if desired, additional information and suggestions when mom and partner are exhausted, giving the partner a break to pee / eat/ sleep when needed, and of course reassurance and support for the partner as they support the mother.  Choose somebody that you feel comfortable vocalizing around – if the people you have in mind are going to be anxious about seeing you experience intensity, or fearful of possible complications, or tend to ask a lot of questions for reassurance (ie: are you ok? do you need anything?) it may be wise to consider other support people or deligate someone to guide and reassure the people you have with you.
  • Hire a doula doulas are educated and experienced in such a way that they help create a quiet, calm, and confident environment through gentle guidance and reassurance to loved ones and the labouring mother.  A doula can offer updates, reassurance and guidance to family or friends that are present or waiting near by; a doula provides the mother with physical necessities (or guides her partner to) without having to be asked; a doula offers appropriate phrases and statements to mother and partner for the various stages of labour; a doula can provide, and show the partner, acupressure to ease pain for the labouring mother; a doula often carries heating pads, homeopathics, aromatherapy and other tools to help mom cope with the intensity of labour; a doula can help the parents remain calm, informed and empowered throughout even a complicated labour therefore creating a more positive birth experience.
  • Perineal healing – after giving birth many women experience discomfort as a result of hemorrhoids, tearing, or swelling – this can be soothed by applying cold pads soaked in Natural Creation Postpartum Wellness Bath Tea.  Postpartum Wellness Bath Salts can also be added to a hip bath.  Taking homeopathic arnica can also help reduce swelling, and sore muscles over the whole body (again – consult your health care provider).

For more information on how to help achieve a positive birth experience please contact a doula in your area Vancouver —  Kelowna —  Victoria for a free consultation.

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