As you know, there are about a million things to prepare for after you see those two pink lines (or blue lines, or plus sign, or the word "pregnant" ... but you know what I mean!) on your pregnancy test.
Today we are focusing today on the preparation that surrounds the actual birth. Of course there are a million and one ways to prepare for birth...but we'll help focus it down for you.
Prepare Your Mind
-Take time every day to just rest and relax, think about the birth, connect with your baby. Taking specific time to focus on this helps remind yourself that what is ahead is important and worthy of focus. Building emotional connection with your baby during this time is precious.
-Find your favorite birth books and read some (or skim, whatever). One of our favorites is Mindful Birthing by Nancy Bardacke. Talk about preparing your mind for birth!
-Connect with your partner. Go on dates, talk to each other without phones or screens in the way.
-Take a birth preparation class. There are many options out there, so researching which ones seem to suit your personality and desires will be important. We recommend classes that are not hospital-sponsored for this.
-Play music and be sensitive to your baby's reactions. They are so sensitive and aware to auditory cues.
-Prepare a labor and birth playlist, the act of creating it will help you get into the mindspace needed to plan for your birth.
-Upload some relaxing music to your phone to keep it available to play any time.
Prepare Your Body
-Join a prenatal yoga class. Connecting with your mind and your body- and other pregnant women- will be so helpful!
-Enjoy a prenatal massage- not only is it relaxing, it's helping soften muscles and ligaments
-Find yourself a Webster certified chiropractor. Chiropractic care has a lot of research behind it that shows how it encourages optimal fetal position, decreased discomfort in pregnancy, less pain in labor, shorter labors, and ideal healing from labor and birth
-Accupuncture is a wonderful tool to keep in your wheelhouse as well! Seeing someone who is skilled with common ailments and issues connected to pregnancy can be very powerful.
-Do your Spinning Babies exercises and stretches daily! No matter where you are in your pregnancy, the exercises encouraged by SB can be incredibly powerful. Not only do they prepare your body and your baby to be in the most optimal position for birth, they can help relieve discomforts that tend to pop up along the way.
-Stay active! Walking is the easiest way to keep going, but any way that feels good to you- keep at it. The hardest thing is when you stop being active...picking it back up again can feel insurmountable sometimes. So, like we said, stay active!
-A major focus on nutrition and hydration will be vital to the health of you and your baby, and will help you prepare for the birth of your baby. As midwives we have a strong focus on this throughout pregnancy, and utilize these as interventions often.
Prepare Your Heart
-Counseling: Whether to work through previous trauma, a hard relationship situation, the transition into parenthood, preparation for postpartum experiences...counseling can be a godsend!
-Prayer: Depending on your spiritual beliefs and connections, prayer can be a vital way to surrender, connect and trust
-Have a Mother/Baby Blessing: Baby Showers are super fun, but taking the time to surround yourself with encouraging women who will love on you and intentionally support you in your desires for your upcoming birth is incredibly powerful. You can plan and create these experiences to line up with your spiritual beliefs, personal desires, etc. Learn more about these here.
Prepare Your Birth Preferences
-“The power of a birth plan isn’t the actual plan, it’s the process of becoming educated about your options“ says Jen McLellan of “Plus Size Birth." We couldn't have said it better ourselves. Not only will this process help illuminate all of your options, it will help you find your voice. While written birth plans and preferences are not predictions, they are powerful. No matter where you are birthing and with whom, looking into each option and deciding what makes the most sense for you and your desires for your experience is an incredibly empowering experience. To get you started on the road, we have a birth visualization worksheet you can check out here.
Like we mentioned, there are so many ways to prepare for your birth- what would you add to the list?