18. MAKE A PHONE TREE
Nominate a couple of people to call after you’ve had your baby, and then have family and friends make the rest of the calls for you.
It is often best to only let a few people know when your labour starts, as this avoids unnecessary concern and tension. You can share your happy news with your family and friends once the big event is all over. From personal experience, this helps to prevent added stress and anxiety for everyone involved.
This helps you visualise and appreciate just how beautiful and tiny your baby will be. Hold these babies, smell them and watch them feeding—this will be you soon!
20. USE MEDITATION TAPES
Quieten your mind and allow yourself time to connect with your unborn baby.
Please see Resources section for some suggestions.
“What your child learns in the womb cannot be learned on earth.”
21. RESOLVE ANY ISSUES AND ACKNOWLEDGE ANY FEARS
It is beneficial for a pregnant couple to address any fears or anxieties they may have about birth. A labouring mother’s body is less likely to relax and open up during birth if she has internal conflict, or if there has been a lack of communication amongst the support team.
Sit with your partner, get comfortable (isn’t that such a funny phrase—how can you get comfortable when you’ve got a basketball between your legs?)
Allowing emotions to surface and to flow without fear while and take the time necessary to allow any concerns pregnant enables you to surface. It is completely normal for couples to feel scared or nervous. It is best to be honest and not judge these emotions to fully prepare for birth and the wonderful journey of parenting.
Giving birth is possibly the greatest physical and emotional challenge you will ever face. Creating the time and space to face fears as a birthing couple (or with your birth partner if you have asked a girlfriend or your mother) can dramatically alter your birth outcome.
As a mother, some of your fears might be that there is something wrong with your baby, or that you will feel defeated by the pain of labour. You may fear that you’ll disappoint your partner in some way, or yourself.
Your partner might feel anxious about seeing you in a tremendous amount of pain, possibly for hours, or seeing you vomit or weep with exhaustion. They may be nervous about your level of health and whether you’ll be placed in any danger.
Ask your partner how they think they will respond during labour. How will they cope speaking with doctors and midwives?
Talk about these things in advance and remember the old saying that “failing to plan is a plan to fail”. Make sure everyone on your team is very clear on your birth objectives and that they are 100% supportive. If you are feeling challenged about the labour, speak to your midwife, watch positive birthing videos or read positive birthing stories. Keep focusing on ways that you can empower yourself as a birthing mother.
Take faith in knowing that women have successfully been giving birth since the beginning of time. Our bodies are designed for birth. Allowing emotions to surface and to flow without fear will enable you to fully prepare for birth and the wonderful journey of parenting.
We no longer live in tribe-based cultures where young women witness and sup- port other women birthing. Lacking the opportunity to observe natural labour without the sensationalism and hype of the media, we often misunderstand this natural process. Proactive birth seminars can fill in this gap, reminding us of the enormity of the event, and helping us to remember that birthing should be an empowering life experience.
Please see Resources section in Well Adjusted Babies for suggested seminars.
23. TRY NOT TO EAT FISH IN THE LAST 2–3 WEEKS OF PREGNANCY
Fish prohibits prostaglandin production, which is necessary for initiating labour.12 Mothers ideally should limit their intake of fresh fish entirely at this point and similarly reduce their daily intake of fish oil supplements to every alternate day.
24. TAKE SUPPLEMENTARY TISSUE SALTS
These chewable tablets are safe, highly effective and easily accessible from health food stores.
RECOMMENDED TISSUE SALTS
- Magnesium Phosphate—useful for preventing leg cramps and heartburn.
- Calcium Fluoride—aids varicose conditions.
- Silica—helps to prevent stretch marks.
- Nat Mur (or Sodium Chloride)—helps with fluid retention.
25. WALK AROUND THE HOUSE NAKED AND LOOK AT YOURSELF IN THE MIRROR
There is little room for modesty during labour. Getting used to seeing yourself naked prepares you for the likely scenario of strangers being with you in labour and seeing your naked body working to its full capacity.
. . . . .
Yours in health…
Dr Jennifer Barham-Floreani