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Surviving Labor & Delivery

As natural as possible

It seems like everywhere I turn someone near and dear to me is pregnant. What a wonderful and exciting time, as it falls in line with the changing of the Seasons and all of the growth that is happening around us!

I am definitely feeling Baby fever, but when I told Kman, his simple statement, "feel better" was enough to shut it down (for now!).

Many women have a plan for how they will bring their child into the world. Some, however, are forced into a different plan.

Some of my pregnant friends and acquaintances who are first time Moms are approaching the labor and delivery with fear and overwhelm. I have been asked by some how to prepare for a natural delivery. What follows is my best advice based on my experiences.

DISCLAIMER - I am not a trained physician. Some women and/or babies may have medical risks that are known or unknown. Talk with your physician or midwife about the best and safest method of delivery for you and your child. Please remember the most important factor: that Mom and baby are safe and healthy. How it happens does not matter once you see that sweet, scrunchy little face!

1. Meditate daily. What you focus on you attract. If you are intent on a natural birth, then pray and meditate on positive, healthy thoughts. Visualize yourself breathing through the contractions in Zen. A dear friend of mine who is also a doula advised me to visualize a flower blooming (opening up) and allow my body to do the same. I did, and it worked!

2. Be prepared. The last thing you need is an early or unexpected delivery and an empty nursery. By about 32 weeks, plan to have a crib or sleeping space for your baby. Have your car seat installed and checked by your local Police or Fire department to ensure it has been installed correctly. Pack an overnight bag for your hospital stay if you will be birthing outside of your home.

3. Evening Primrose Oil. EPO has been used for thousands of years medicinally. If used in moderation and as it is intended, it is very safe for both mom and baby. Not before 38 weeks - Insert one gel cap vaginally (as far up as you can get it towards your cervix) in the final moments before going to bed. Line your panties for extra protection because these babies melt almost on contact. The oil will nourish your cervix and vaginal canal, allowing for more elasticity and cervical ripening.

4. Have a plan. As soon as your baby enters this world you will need to begin making decisions for him/her. Will you allow the cord blood to continue pulsing once your baby has exited the uterus?Are you interested in storing or donating your cord blood to families in need or stem cell research? Do you want to implement a pacifier immediately after birth? While in the hospital, would you rather have your child in a bassinet next to your bed or taken to a nursery so you can rest? These, and so many more questions, will be hurled at you in the hormonally raging minutes and days after your delivery. Going in with a general idea of what you want will help you make informed decisions that you won't regret later.

6. Keep moving. Listen to your body for early signs of labor, and once it's that time just start moving. Clean your home, take a walk, go grocery shopping, walk the mall or big box store (Costco, Sam's Club, BJ's). Moving through the contractions will help speed up the labor while also making it easier to tolerate the pain. Just remember to breathe and take a break if you need to!

7. Stay calm. Keep calm and know that freaking out will intensify your pain. Sure, it can be nerve wracking - you're about to push an 8lb baby out for the first time! Now is a good time to refer to No. 1 in this list: "What you focus on you attract".

Here are some calming ideas that might help: listen to music; visit YouTube for some relaxation and guided meditation techniques; breathing long, slow, and deep breaths; good ol' distractions of tv, iPad, or great conversations; listen to or watch a your favorite comedian; take a warm bath; diffuse some essential oils for aromatherapy

8. Pain with purpose. There is NO SHAME in getting epidural, even if you have had your mind set on a natural delivery. We all have different pain thresholds, and some women have weaker stomachs for the pain. Allow yourself the freedom of flexibility to choose medical interventions if you need to. Every contraction brings you one step closer to meeting your baby and that is what truly matters!

8. Push like you poop! When it is GO time and your baby is crowning, the safest way to push is by using the same core muscles that you use to poop. It is more effective at getting your baby out quickly, and will save you the horror of broken blood vessels in your face and/or upper body.

Know that you can do this!

Women have been birthing babies on dirt floors and behind bedroom doors for thousands of years. You are in safe hands and surrounded by a support system who will help you through this. And one thing is for sure - regardless of how your child enters this world, you will feel like a Warrior Champion for the next week or two!   So give yourself a pat on the back and know that you are doing something INCREDIBLE that you were specifically designed to do!

... and, Congratulations!

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