In the four preceding blogs, we have covered a lot of what you need to consider and plan for when giving birth.
In Part 1 of this series we discussed Holistic Birth Planning: Healthy Pregnancy & Labour through Nutrition & Acupuncture.
The second part talked about Preparing our Muscles, Joints, Tendons and Tissues for Labour: Through Physiotherapy, Chiropractic Adjustments and Perineal Massage.
In Part 3 we covered Mental and Emotional Labour Preparation to bring the mind, body and spirit together for a true holistic birth.
In Part 4 of this series we focused on the Who, Where, When, How and Why of the labour process.
In our fifth and final blog of the Holistic Birth Planning series, we summarize all of the topics into 12 basic steps.
- Choose a midwife: It doesn’t mean that you cannot have a natural birth in a hospital with an OB/GYN, but a midwife is more experienced with natural births. Always do your research to ensure you are a good candidate for midwifery.
- See a Nutritionist: Good nutrition is essential at each stage of pregnancy and will help ensure your body is well equipped to birth naturally. Ideally, you want to see a nutritionist before even trying to get pregnant, in order to embark on a preconception cleanse. We provide detailed, customized food plans that will take you from pre-conception to labour, and all the way through baby’s first year.
- Get Acupuncture: Ideally, you want to see an acupuncturist even before getting pregnant. Acupuncture is very effective for optimizing fertility. During pregnancy, there is limited acupuncture that can be performed. However, for sure you want to keep an acupuncturist on standby in case you experience excessive nausea in the first trimester, develop hemorrhoids and/or experience back pain in the second and third trimesters, and natural assistance to turn the baby, should an ultra-sound in the third trimester show a breech or frank-breech position of the baby.
- Get Your Pelvic Floor Assessed: This is especially important if you have had multiple pregnancies.A physiotherapist can assess your pelvic floor strength and provide recommendations on exercises to help prepare for labour and avoid pain during the third trimester of pregnancy.
- Perform a Perineal Stretch: In the 3-4 weeks before delivering, manually stretch the perineum tissue for about 6 minutes per day. This will help to prevent tearing. It’s a good idea to have your physiotherapists provide you with a quick demonstration while they are assessing your pelvic floor.
- Get a chiropractic adjustment: This will ensure your pelvis is properly aligned, so your baby has a smooth exit path.
- Drink Red Raspberry Leaf Tea: Drink daily during the 3-4 weeks leading up to labour. Red raspberry leaf tea is a uterine tonic. It is also very astringent and will, therefore, help to reduce excessive bleeding. Serve with a bit of sweetener and lemon – delicious!
- Prep Labour Snacks: Protein-rich snacks such as raw energy balls or baked goods, fresh fruit and labour popsicles all can be made in advance and individually frozen. It’s good to also have some coconut water on hand. For recipes, check out our Instagram page at @essentialbalanceholistic
- Prepare Yourself Mentally: Pack your bag, prepare the nursery, set up the crib or bassinet, be ready with infant diapers and new-born clothes. Make sure all these small things are taken care of well in advance, so you don’t have to worry about them in the final weeks.
- Hypnobirthing: Learn hypnobirthing and practice the breathing exercises for about 10 minutes a day.
- Do your research, get informed: Tour the different birth centers or hospitals, talk to midwives and other health care practitioners. Find what works for you and your baby. One of the best ways I feel to learn about natural birth is to hear about other women’s experiences. Although avoid those who just want to share their “war stories.” There are planning of positive natural birth stories out there. Stay tuned for my natural birth stories.
- Take Time to Relax and Enjoy: Above all else, make sure you are also finding time to take care of yourself throughout your pregnancy, relax and enjoy this time. Get a prenatal massage, take a day for yourself, or plan a fun outing with your spouse, family or friends. Remember, making a human is hard work and you deserve to reward yourself.
Want more information? Check our programs for fertility, pregnancy and early childhood here.