Baby on Board: Labour Prep

After a long break, it is exciting to be back to my blog. My break saw me through my 3rd year at CCNM, the last 3 months of my pregnancy, the birth of my beautiful daughter and her first incredible 8 months. Wow- that was a long break! With all of my exams behind me, I am taking the summer to rest my adrenal glands and spend quality time with my family.

In September, I will embark upon my one year internship at the Robert Schad Naturopathic Clinic, taking patients and guiding them along their own paths to health. With summer in full swing I am drawn back to what I love: sharing my journey with my readers. I have SO much planned for my blog so please, stay tuned! Today, I wanted to travel back in time a little and talk about labour prep.

Just like each pregnancy, every labour and birth experience is unique to each mother and child. For me, a first time mom, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but I knew what I hoped for. I hoped for a natural birth without the need for interventions of any kind (i.e induction, epidural, cesarean etc). As my due date approached I received many questions about my nerves: how I was feeling about my upcoming labour? Was I getting anxious, nervous, scared? To be perfectly honest, my strategy from the beginning was to put all of my energy into positivity. This meant not concentrating on how painful, complicated or long childbirth could be. I knew that countless women before me had borne their children naturally and that my body had the amazing ability and power to accomplish this task.

Regardless of my faith in my body, I used several strategies to help prepare myself and my baby girl for labour and a calm birthing experience.

Herbal Tea:

Throughout my pregnancy I was drinking a nourishing tea that I made from a recipe in Aviva Romm’s book, The Natural Pregnancy Book. I edited it a little, to suit my own tastes/needs, my version was:

4 parts Red Raspberry Leaf

4 parts Nettle

4 parts Oatstraw

2 parts Rose Hips

2 parts Spearmint Leaf

Once I hit 36 weeks, I started to drink plain Red Raspberry Leaf tea, 1 cup 2-3x/day.

Preparatory Acupuncture:

 Acupuncture can be extremely beneficial for preparing both mom and baby for an optimal labour/delivery. In fact, there are points that have even been proven effective for turning  a breech baby! At 36 weeks I began to see my intern at the RSNC for weekly acupuncture treatments.

My treatments included the following points:

Stomach 36: a point to nourish blood and tonify Qi; important to build up strength before labour.

Gallbladder 34: helps to encourage relaxed ligaments prior to labour.

Spleen 6: aids in cervical dilation prior to the commencement of labour.

Urinary Bladder 62: regulates energies in the penetrating and conception vessels. These channels are important energetically during pregnancy and labour especially.

Urinary Bladder 60: this point has a descending action, it helps to draw energy downward – which you want to promote nearing the end of your pregnancy!

I highly recommend getting in touch with a licensed naturopathic doctor or acupuncturist who can design a pre-birth protocol for you if you are approaching your due date. Many ND’s and mothers I know, have had wonderful success using acupuncture. There are also protocols to induce labour naturally and as I mentioned above to help turn breech babies. The use of induction drugs like pitocin actually increases the risk of caesarean section in first time mothers. The fact that acupuncture can help with induction/breech and simple labour prep is something many mama’s-to-be are unaware of! Knowledge is power.

Affirmation:

I wanted to put my energies into positive thoughts and feelings surrounding my labour. It was important for me to release focus from the pain and anguish that seems to pervade discussions of labour. I truly believe that our world and experiences are a result of the beliefs we hold. Thus, it became important to me to hold only positive beliefs about my labour. I did this by using a daily affirmation. Each morning I would recite this to myself:

“I am a powerful, loving, creative being. My body contains all of the knowledge necessary to give birth to my baby. My baby will come into the world when she is ready and I will embrace the healthy pain that will bring her into my arms. Birth is a safe and wonderful experience, my baby will come into the world in a calm and relaxed atmosphere.” 

I would even suggest writing your chosen affirmation down and pinning it somewhere you will see it each day: your bathroom mirror, your office wall, the fridge. Energy follows where the mind leads….

Crystals: 

There are several crystals renowned for their use in midwifery and birth practices. I purchased a few crystals to pack in my hospital bag and hoped to have them during my labour. I chose the following crystals:

Moonstone: known as a women’s stone, moonstone is helpful in promoting an easy pregnancy and calm atmosphere.

Peridot: said to be a facilitator of the birthing process; excellent to have on the body during labour. Perhaps a bracelet, anklet or necklace!

Moss Agate: a stone often used by midwives to help ease the process of labour.

Rose Quartz: has a loving energy and helps to promote healing after birth and promote self-care for the new mom.

I began to wear my moonstone necklace around week 37 and wore it during the birth of my baby girl. My labour ended up being so fast and intense that I didn’t even take my other crystals out of the bag!

Overall I had a wonderful birthing experience. My labour was fast (4hrs from start to finish!), intense and painful but luckily I was able to avoid all interventions, as I had intended. I had prepared myself, body-mind-spirit; for that I was thankful.

References

Photo 1 credit: R. Motti / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Photo 2 credit: acidpix / Foter / CC BY

Photo 3 credit: Gurumustuk Singh / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Photo 4 credit: wiccked / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

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