You may have your bag packed for the hospital and are ready for this baby to arrive. If you’re worried you’ve missed something or want some ideas of things you may not have even considered preparing for labour. There are things you can do to help make your birthing experience easier, more relaxing and a positive outcome. Check out this list, starting with Part 1 – Birth Intention & Hydration.
1. Have a Birth Intention
Notice I didn’t say “plan”. You hear from other women so often things like “best laid plans go to waste” or “Don’t plan! it never turns out that way” and to some degree this is true but in the context of: If your plans are so rigid going into the birth, if anything changes during labour, it can be more stressful because your expectation will not be met.
There are two reasons why stress is NOT good during labour:
- The likelihood of Medical Interventions increase. Once you’re stressed in labour, it can have a negative impact on the labouring process such as slowing it down. Oxytocin is the love hormone and facilitates labour. Adrenaline is the stress hormone and competes with Oxytocin. Once you activate Adrenaline from stress, your cervix dilation can come to a halt and labour stalls. This can then begin a cascade of medical interventions to try to move the labour forward.
- The Fear-Tension-Pain cycle. Stress can create an anxious or fearful state. Fear leads to tension of the muscles, which then makes the labour much more painful. We don’t want that!
So getting back to the good stuff – having a strong visual or picture of what you would be happy with can be like a magnet for your unconscious mind.
Birth Intention – it is completely ok to daydream in those last few weeks of Pregnancy, what is going to happen with the birth? How would I like to birth? Can I imagine what it will be like?
I think it’s GREAT to have a positive outcome in mind, something that works for you and your partner, that you would be comfortable with experiencing. Practicing the relaxation techniques in the Part 2 of this blog series will help you with flexibility in your birth intentions. That way you get the best of both worlds – have a dream and have the flexibility to change your mind as things progress.
Never underestimate the power of your mind in manifesting what it is your thinking, especially during Pregnancy, so why not have a positive outcome in mind??! It’s like saying to people, don’t dream! 🙂
Your Birth Intention – Think about:
- What is your intention for your birth?
- What would be your ideal outcome?
- What would you be prepared to do if this changed?
- How are you going to manage your mood and emotional state to ensure you remain calm?
Think of birthing like preparing for a Marathon….seriously! 🙂
Do athletes simply turn up to a marathon un-prepared? Birthing can be one of the most rewarding marathons, you’ll ever experience – you end up with your baby in your arms and also the added bonus of the hormonal high of endorphines. You will feel like Super Woman!
So why not be smart about hydration? I was not prepared at all – it just didn’t cross my mind and I ended up needing a saline drip. I believe being dehydrated actually slowed my labour down, after a midwife said to me, “your cervix needs you to be hydrated so it can thin and stretch and do its job. If you’re dehydrated, it doesn’t work as it should.”
So now I advise all third trimester mums to start their hydration strategy before their due date.
Drinking water & hydration are different. Drinking water for some people means water goes straight through them and they end up peeing a lot. Hydration strategies use salts. Water follows salt. If these electrolyte salts get into your cells, so does the water and then your cells are properly hydrated.
Once you’re dehydrated, it is an exponential effect. It is very difficult to regain lost ground in the battle of dehydration and takes a long time. Preparing to be hydrated from the beginning is the best strategy.
Your Hydration strategy – Think about:
- Buy some electrolytes and start drinking them in the last few weeks, 1xday.
- Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxant or salt that the body needs
- The only way you know you have overdosed on electrolytes is if you have loose stools.
- Take electrolytes more frequently in the last couple days whether you’re having a c-section or Natural Vaginal Birth.
- Take the electrolytes with you to the hospital, pack them in your bag
Having an intention about your birth outcome, being flexible in your attitude towards your birth and especially being hydrated are important factors to consider before you go into labour.
YOU CAN do this and will amaze yourself at how empowered you will feel once you’re on the other side!
For more information about other fantastic pre-birth additions to your planning such as Acupuncture or Massage, send me a message at Spring Fertility HQ: firstname.lastname@example.org I’d love to hear where you’re up to and discuss how I can help you create a positive birthing experience for you and your partner.