Preparing to give birth

I’m now 28 weeks pregnant and thoughts of labour are creeping in. I had a wonderful experience for my first birth but the bigger my bump gets the more anxious im becoming about having to go through it all again.

From about 30 weeks in my pregnancy with Isla I started preparing my body in a few different ways and I will do exactly the same this time. With any luck these preparations will lead to the same kind of labour second time round and I’ve been asked to share them on my blog so here goes –

Hypnobirthing

Incase you are unfamiliar with hypnobirthing it’s a method of managing pain and anxiety in childbirth, involving relaxation techniques, deep breathing and visualisation. I attended a month long course before having Isla and am booked on to attend the same course again this May. It’s run by the NHS at my local hospital and is 3 hours on a Thursday evening for the expectant mum and her birthing partner. I have been laughed at and questioned by so many people when I told them I was doing hypnobirthing ‘hippo-birthing.. hippy-birthing’ etc but people honestly shouldn’t knock it until they have tried it. Granted, it isn’t for everyone but it worked wonders for me and has done for so many others. The lessons taught me so much about my body and how to ease my mind in labour and although I struggled with some of the visualisations, it most definately lessened my fear and gave me every confidence in my ability to birth.

The course is split into sections –

⁃ Understanding the process of labour

⁃ How to break the fear/tension/pain cycle

⁃ Tips for birthing partners

⁃ Practice positions and massage

⁃ Breathing and visualisation techniques for labour

⁃ Environmental influences in labour – light, sound etc

⁃ Hormones and there affect on birth

By the end of the 4 weeks, I had learnt everything I needed to know for a comfortable birth and had learnt to work with pain, instead of against it. James learnt so much too and as a result was able to create the best birthing environment for me, which was of course better for him too. Now that I’m starting to feel abit anxious I’m excited to start my course and get practicing again.

Exercise ball

I started exercising on my ball from about 30 weeks with Isla and will definately start using it again soon for this baby. I will aim to spend at least an hour each evening rocking my pelvis from side to side and back to front and rotating my hips clockwise and anti-clockwise. You can also lean over the ball from a kneeling position if that’s comfortable. Using the ball aims to get the baby in the right position for labour and gently gravitates the baby towards the exit!

Raspberry leaf tea

Raspberry leaf tea is a herbal tea that has a number of benefits due to its high content of vitamins, minerals and tannins. It is popular among mums-to-be because it is thought to strengthen the uterus wall, with the potential benefit of speeding up labour. It’s advised that you start drinking raspberry leaf tea at around 32 weeks pregnant to give it a chance to build up in your body and have an effect. At first

I will drink 1 cup a day and then after a few weeks build up to 2 cups and then 3 just before my due date.

Eating dried dates

I’m going to be honest, I love dates. I enjoy eating them and it just so happens they are fab in pregnancy. Trials have found that eating dates in late pregnancy may increase cervical softening, reduce the need for a medical labor induction and one small study found a positive effect on postpartum blood loss. I ate dates in late pregnancy with Isla, about a handful a day, and I dilated super quick without a lot of pain, I pushed for 7 minutes (alluding to a soft cervix) and I lost very little blood. It could be a coincidence, or maybe it’s not?

Perineal massage

I can’t lie, I find this abit strange. I didn’t do it much with Isla but I think I will give it more of a chance this time round. It involves loosening the muscles between your vagina and your bottom (perineum) to prepare for giving birth. This in turn should help the opening of your vagina to stretch as you birth your baby. You can purchase specific oils to use and there are videos on YouTube to show you exactly how to do it. I did tear with Isla as I didn’t massage very often at all so I think I will focus on it more this time round.

I hope this has been helpful and best of luck to all the mums to be reading this! You’ve got it ❤️

Lots of love

G

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