How To Create A Positive Birthing Experience
Connecting with your baby on the inside
Ideal to take some time each day to connect with your baby and admire the little (or big) movements and kicks, and embrace being pregnant. It is not always that easy, you may have one or many more other children running around, you maybe super busy with your career or you may be feeling too sick or unwell to really enjoy being pregnant.
Some ways you can connect with your baby are;
- Listening to relaxing or enjoyable music
- Laying down with eyes closed, with a hand on your belly and feel for any movements
- Massage your belly bump with an enjoyable cream. If you are in any pain, I recommend Rapid Recovery – it is perfect to help with pregnancy aches and pains
- Warm bath with Epsom salts and lavender essential oils
- Talk to your baby about anything and everything. Some people find this strange, so you can read a story to your baby
Prepare your body
Keep fit by regularly exercising. If you tend to not enjoy exercise, a light walk most days will still help your body immensely. It is not
recommended to start new types of exercise once you fall pregnant though. I kept up my weekly boxfit class and walking regularly, and
honestly feel my body has recovered very well because of this.
Make sure you exercise your Pelvic floor muscles daily! If they are strong before a natural birth, you are less likely to have incontinence issues postpartum. There is a good phone app called ‘KPFE’ which reminds you to do them. However, I highly recommend seeing a pelvic floor specialist to ensure you are on the right pathway and doing them correctly.
Be prepared and create a relaxed home, for after the birth
Often mums are full of all emotions, especially feeling very overwhelmed and exhausted, after the birth. It is a big transition from being
pregnant to now holding your newborn and tackling all the changes. I don’t know if first time mums can ever be fully prepared for dealing
with the birth recovery, emotions, sleep deprivation, etc, however I feel as though setting up your home ready for you to come home too may
help. While I was pregnant, I spent a lot of time organising and clearing out unnecessary items out of the house, knowing that all this
empty space will soon be filled of baby things!
I found also having things in the pantry and freezer made it easier too. Although Dad happily made dinner, there were nights we were both
exhausted and just needed a healthy easy meal. We were fortunate to have had friends send us a box of food from Casual Foodie and we also
got food from Belly Full that another friend organised for us. These worked out very well for us! I had not made any meals and frozen them,
but I did make many muffins – sweet and savoury and froze them. These were great snacks – day and night!
Stocking up on products for yourself for postpartum is very important. Items like maternity pads, breast pads, pain killers – Panadol and
iBurophen, nipple cream and I found Hydrogel Breast Discs very useful.
Although you may not know the type of birth you will be having, the Viva La Vulva range is fabulous! I recommend the Viva La Vulva Spray Kit as you can use it to help aid recovery for vaginal and c-section births. I mixed up the spray as soon as I was settled at Birth Care and used it for 6 weeks until I was fully recovered. It helped so much as it took away the sting and eased the pain from the stiches pulling. Also, the Padsical Gel was useful as a cooling aid, especially on the haemorrhoid - yes, it is common to get these from a vaginal birth.
Know what the signs are of active labour. What does this look like? Basically, the contractions will be intense, and stop you in your tracks and you can’t talk. They can last 60-90 seconds and be 3-5 minutes apart. Your waters may or may not have broken. During this time, just focus on your breathing, and it is recommended to:
- Keep moving – walk lightly around, or lean on a swiss ball
- Have a long shower or bath
- Keep hydrated
- See if your support person will give you a massage
- Snack if you can
- Highly recommend using a TENS machine.
- Record your contractions – a phone app makes it much easier! I used ‘Contractions’.
- Know when to contact your midwife and head to your birthing destination (if not a home birth) and going to a hospital or birth care.
Have a birth plan
It is good to have an idea of what and how you want to birth your baby and ensure your midwife and support person is on the same pages. Things to consider:
- Type of birth
- Place of birth
- Pain relief
- Support person
- Keeping your placenta
Umbilical cord – whether to delay the clamping as heaps of nutrients is pumping through.
As much as you plan it to be this way, bear in mind anything can change at any time – and you need to be prepared for this. Before you make any decisions consider BRAIN:
Nothing. You may need to do nothing and think about it all for half an hour or so.
There are many positive affirmations online, and you can also download a hypnobirthing app that has positive affirmations through it too. This is a list I created for myself to repeat over and over, to help prepare from about 38 weeks for it to help sink in.
- I can do anything for a minute! I will Breathe…
- I accept this pain to welcome my baby into the world
- I feel strong and capable
- The paint that I’m feeling cannot compare to the joy that’s coming
- I CAN do this
- I TRUST my body
- I am prepared to meet whatever turns my birthing takes
- Each surge brings my baby closer to me
- I can do this to hold my baby boy very soon!
While I was pushing, and struggling cause the contractions were incredibly short, I reminded myself time and time again these affirmations. It is ideal your birthing partner is on the same page as you, and for them to talk positively and be encouraging. It is very easy to just stop and say, ‘I can’t do this.’ It helped that my partner was saying positive affirmations like; you are doing great; I love you; I know it is not easy, but you got this!
Create a special birthing place
Whether you are birthing at home, birth care or the hospital, you can add a few things to make the environment more relaxing and comfortable for yourself. These few things I did at the hospital and found it helped me!
- Playlist of calming or favourite music;
- Lavender essential oil for on your wrists, or in a container of water;
- Massage cream to get your birthing partner to rub on your lower back;
- Have some yummy sweet treats to help with energy;
- Cold cloths to cool the head.
Birthing experience are different for everyone… I wish you all the very best on yours. Trust your intuition and believe in your body. You have this Mumma!!