5 things you should do before you give birth.
In a sea of well meaning mother-in-laws, girlfriends and pregnancy forums, it can sometimes be overwhelming deciding what you need to do to prepare for the birth of your child. Having worked in the birth community for 10 years as a doula, an acupuncturist and a doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine, I have seen a lot of birth preparation fads come and go. Here’s what I believe are the top 6 most effective things to do in order to prepare for a healthy, natural childbirth and speed up your postpartum recovery.
1.Focus on diet and rest.
I imagine most of you will want to skim over this part since everyone gets told to rest and eat healthy during their pregnancy. DON’T.
No top athlete ever won a gold metal without paying close attention to their diet and resting before the big event. Whether your birth is a 50meter dash or a slow and steady ultra-marathon, having good reserves from a hearty, healthy diet is going to help you have the strength and power to win your own personal gold medal in childbirth.
Think root veggies, beef stews, homemade organic chicken soup.
Start making big pots of hearty, easy to digest, wholefoods at 36 weeks. Include organic red meat, yams, spinach, beets for added blood boosting benefit. Eat half of it and freeze the rest for after the baby comes. Believe me, you will not want to cook for the first month and those frozen homemade soups will be exactly what your body will need to renew and recover postpartum.
2. Acupuncture for cervical ripening.
I may seem biased but the truth is, from my experience, nothing is more effective at ripening the cervix and preparing your body for birth than acupuncture. Acupuncture is better than any tea or medication, because on top of ripening the cervix, it addresses the whole body and any other issues that may need attention leading up to the birth. Many studies conclude that acupuncture cervical ripening shortens the first stage, reduces your need for medical interventions like oxytocin and epidurals, and lower cesarean rates. The other added bonus to starting cervical ripening at 37 weeks is that you can address anything that may be concerning you, like, insomnia, body pain, anxiety, fatigue and high blood pressure. This is even more important for anyone being told they are 'high risk' or ‘may need to be induced’.
3. Take the right supplements.
So many supplements, so many claims…. Here are my favorites for prebirth preparation:
-Take Vitamin C and zinc, both necessary for hormone production prior to delivery
-Drink up to four cups a day of raspberry leaf tea to help tone the uterus
-Eat plenty of magnesium- and calcium-rich foods to strengthen muscles needed for contractions during labour
-Eat plenty of foods rich in vitamin K, which is vital for blood clotting for you and the baby
-Start taking homeopathic remedy Arnica 6C: 1 tablet daily to prevent bruising post-birth and support healing
4. Check your emotions.
Is your emotional baggage holding you back? There is very little emphasis on mental emotional health in our society and especially for new mothers. Post partum depression aside, did you know that your emotions can actually stall or even stop you birth? Whether it is anxiety about the birth itself, maybe some unaddressed relationship tension, or an unwelcome guest/family member who has invited themselves into your birth team. Addressing these issues before you go into labour is important, as birthing has a way of bringing out those deep suppressed emotions.
5. Postpartum support preparation.
So many people focus on the birth and forget that you need just as much if not more support after the baby is born. Stay tuned for my next blog where I will break down the must have’s for a fabulous post partum period.
Have questions? Book a free 15 minute consultation with Dr. Emilie Salomons