It was kind of like preparing for a marathon, although I have never ran a marathon in my life, I could imagine that the comparison is fit. As a marathon is painful, it’s gory (well it looks like it), it’s long and the only way to get through it without passing out on the sideline and going into cardiac arrest, not that you would in labor, is to train for it. So, that’s what I did for my birth; I trained.
Here are a few things that I did that helped me get through;
I proudly only gained a healthy 29 pounds during my pregnancy, however also managed to NOT lose the last 10 after birth, if I may add. Lucky for me, I was disgusted by almost anything, so it wasn’t hard for me to resist greasy foods. I’m not saying deprive yourself, just understand that there is a limit. McChickens were on the list of my guilty pleasures, the more mayonnaise they put on the better, and I only allowed myself to eat one no more than once a week.
Mainly my diet included lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. More importantly, I ate dates. During my last trimester, I ate dates at least 7 times a day! I read every magazine that had a pregnant lady or baby on the cover and one happened to be Fit Pregnancy. I stumbled across an article, Three Surprising Tips for an Easier Labor, and guess what was one of the tips? Ding ding. Yup, eating dates. There was a study conducted that found, pregnant woman whom consumed at least 6 dates during their last trimester, were less likely to require medical intervention and had a quicker labor.
Not to mention, for my Muslim ladies reading this, it’s mentioned in the Quran.
The pains of labour drove her to the trunk of a date-palm. She [Maryam] said, “Oh if only I had died before this time and was something discarded and forgotten!” A voice called out to her from under her, “Do not grieve! Your Lord has placed a small stream at your feet. Shake the trunk of the palm towards you and fresh, ripe dates will drop down onto you. Eat and drink and delight your eyes…” (Qur’an, 19:23-26)
How amazing is that! To learn more about the wisdom behind eating dates as a pregnant woman, visit this site.
I walked 20-30 minutes almost every day during my last trimester and as much as I could before that. I also took a yoga class during my first trimester, where everything that I learned, continued to do at home. Lastly, I took a natural dancing birth class called, Dancing for Birth. Yup , just imagine big pregnant ladies, circulating their hips and bouncing on yoga balls. It was a sight to be seen.But honestly, research states that dancing and moving your hips, strengthen your legs and keep you flexible for birth. So belly dance your pregnant self around the house and get those hips moving.
The class was more than dancing, it tought us pain coping skills to do during labor and served a support group that included ladies who have the same views of birth as you do. If you are interested in natural birth, I highly recommend a natural birth class.
Almost every night before I went to bed and imagined the birth. I always, always kept it positive and got excited knowing there was my baby coming into the world. This was my way to meditate. From other ladies I’ve talked to, they didn’t enjoy thinking about the birth but it was my way mentally preparing myself. And surprisingly, when the time came, I felt … I thought I was ready. I guess that counts for something.
Read and hear positive birth stories
I read as many birth stories as I could. The book I enjoyed reading was, Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. Some of the stories frightened me, and I did cry through some of them, but when I got to the end of their story, I thought, “wow, I can’t wait for that feeling.”
I also, spoke to moms personally about their experiences and what they would have done the next time around. Keep in mind, millions of women have given birth. It’s natural and it’s what God has intended for our bodies to do.
Something I said over and over to myself during my labor was, “Millions have done this before me. I can do it too.”
Befriend or hire a doula
I found this to be very effective. I met the doula, Judy Holmes, at the natural birth class. She was the instructor. She gave us her personal number and I would text with any [silly] questions I had. I did not hire a doula for my birth, BUT will definitely consider it for my next birth. It would have been very beneficial, rather than a husband that I wanted to punch in the face at the time. Love you, honey. 😉
Make a birth plan
After speaking to a doula and other moms who’ve done it before, I learned a few things about making an effective birth plan.
One: Keep it short. I kept it to one page, and it was easy to read.
Two: Note that you understand that it may not go as planned but would appreciate if the nurses did all they could to help you have the birth you want, as close as possible.
I also brought cookies to the labor. I know what you are thinking, but I’m all about keeping the nurses happy, or others may call it, sucking up. 🙂
I hope that these tips were helpful. Have you had a natural birth? Please comment below and share with us what you did!