One of my favorite things for me as a labour doula, labour doula trainer and a childbirth educator is to help prepare them with tools to build confidence and strength as they head through their journey of pregnancy, labour, birth and beyond. When I can have the time with them to dig deeper, that’s great too, but I find even offering these 5 basics can make a world of difference to those that are not always aware of their options and choices in childbirth.
Congratulations! You have a new little one on the way! What exciting times, however the information highway can also make these times overwhelming and overloading. So many options, so many choices, and so many opinions! Here are a few quick tips to make this preparation time simple, basic and supportive so you can set yourself up for success.
#1 Find Your Birth Team!
Decide what type of care you want for your pregnancy, birth and beyond. Evaluate your situation and decide what is appropriate for you and your circumstances and your desires. Do you want midwifery care, doctor or obstetrician? If you have the option to pick, then you are lucky, often we go where we are sent or who will accept us. That is why it is also so important to extend that team to a few people that you can choose. Prepare your partner! Hire a Labour Doula! Hire a Postpartum Doula! Find reliable support for the times you need it most. Hiring the professionals that are trained to best support you through this experience and be your advocate along the way is well worth the investment! And some insurance companies even pay part or all of the costs. So, look into it.
#2 Take a Great Class!
Look around at ALL the options for childbirth classes. We all know the standby AHS hospital classes which can be fantastic for some, but those are not for everyone! There are many great private companies that provide excellent, tailored, unique or mainstream, or topic-specific classes that can suit your style, your interest topics and your comfort level. As an added bonus, these private companies hold smaller class sizes, so you can really get your questions answered, participate more fully and get much more out of your class. You can also make closer connections to the other participants because of this and often stay in contact well beyond the end of class, creating a whole other set of support structure for your early days of parenting.
#3 Keep Moving
Staying active during pregnancy has far reaching effects. Not only does it keep up your energy and help you sleep a little better but can also have a positive effect on the position your baby gets into in preparation for labour. This has a potential to make your labour a little easier and maybe even a little faster! I would say that is a gamble I am willing to take!
#4 Eat Well & Stay Hydrated
Similar to staying active, eating well and staying hydrated can help you have more energy and sleep better as well. It will also allow the best possible nutrients to transfer through the placenta to maximize baby development and health. The benefits of maintaining a balanced, nutritious diet and drinking water throughout the day are seen for both mom and baby.
Of course, this is an obvious suggestion, but one that many pregnant mamas find a lot easier said than done. However, sleep is where you re-energize, rejuvenate, replenish and do your baby growing. So, it is imperative that you find ways to get your sleep. Find better positions to assist, use body pillows in this effort to find the perfect position. Try getting in a nap here and there if you can. Slow down your evening; add a meditation or relaxation exercise before bed. Also remember that staying active and eating well will also improve your sleep.
Trying to incorporate just these 5 simple things can make such a huge difference for your preparation for this little one. It can greatly reduce the stress and anxiety and greatly increase your confidence as you move towards the most exciting time in your life. Good luck, Mamas! We salute you!
CLD, CAPPA Faculty
Sharon has passionately been a part of the birthing community for almost 20 years in a variety of ways. Primarily as a certified Birth Doula and a Certified Childbirth Educator, she has had the privilege of helping hundreds of families effectively prepare, gain confidence and be supported throughout their journey into parenthood. She has been an active participant, executive member and leader in many organizations locally including the startup and operations of Calgary Birth Essentials. Her vision and hope is to be able to utilize her vast experience as a mother of 4 and her years of experience with her doula and education families to be the best support for families throughout their childbearing year, through education, advocacy, support and resources.