Are you looking to have a healthy, deeply positive birth that stems from having a healthy pregnancy?
Here are three ways of improving your chances of a healthy childbirth.
With any pregnancy, your hope and deepest desire as a mother is to birth a healthy and beautiful baby, whether you are birthing in the hospital, a freestanding birthing center, or at home.
With our increasingly health conscious society, home birthing is more and more becoming a viable option for many mothers.
Some of the keys to a healthy and wholesome natural birth that you LOVE no matter how it unfolds, are to be well prepared and to ensure that your choices are respected so that you’d be treated with unique focus and care.
My online Love Your Birth course will not only help you prepare for having optimal health in pregnancy and beyond, but will also help you to hone in on your own inner calm, joy and strength, as well as empower you with ways to speak your voice, and ideally avoid unnecessary interventions, medications or surgery.
You have the most active role to play in birthing your baby, and there are definitely a few things that you can do to encourage a healthy pregnancy and birth. Pay close attention to yourself and your needs on ALL levels; make a commitment to take the best care of your total health and well-being, and to nourish your body, mind, and spirit. You only have one of each!
1. A Healthy Physical Well-Being
Whether you’re pregnant or not, there are almost an infinite number of benefits that come with eating fresh, nutritious, and colorful foods and with exercising regularly. I provide some practical guidelines to help every mother with eating healthfully.
Getting the right amount of fruits, vegetables, proteins, and healthy fats each and every single day can be confusing, overwhelming, and difficult at times. Therefore, I recommend adding supplements to your healthy eating so that you and your baby get the amount of nutrients you both need during this special time.
Exercising throughout all of the trimesters as well as beyond pregnancy creates numerous benefits for YOU and your unborn BABY. Healthy pregnant women are capable, fit rockstars, and exercise will help you to feed that spirit of strength and vibrancy.
If you engage in regular exercise that you enjoy, you will have a more comfortable pregnancy and be less prone to injury. You’ll be more capable of assuming positions that allow for easier active birthing, and so more likely to have a shorter, easier labor. You’ll also have a quicker recovery, and your body will bounce back faster postpartum.
You may notice more relief from various discomforts like constipation, bloating, swelling, and backaches. You will feel more relaxed, and notice an overall sense of well-being and energy, even when fatigued.
Being active helps maintain healthy weight gain in pregnancy, stabilize blood sugar levels, and prevent complications like obesity and gestational diabetes.
If you’ve exercised consistently throughout your pregnancy, your baby is more likely to have higher Apgar scores, will transition better outside the womb, and will even have better cognitive skills in early childhood. Studies have also shown that your baby will be leaner at birth (making him or her easier to push out), and will be less prone to childhood obesity.
If you are already a healthy, active woman, I encourage you to continue doing the type of exercise you love now that you are pregnant. There are, of course, some exceptions like extreme and contact sports.
Make it fun! Get 30-45 minutes of moderate, varied exercise most days of the week whilst remaining in tune to your body’s needs. This can include muscle toning and strengthening workouts as well as stretching, aerobics, and dance.
Some types of yoga satisfy all of the above requirements and is a particularly useful form of exercise because it marries movement and breath. It’s a wonderful way to feel more calm, focused, and grounded which are essential tools for labor and mamahood.
If you have never exercised before, you can start by taking brisk walks, joining a prenatal yoga, fitness or dance class, or learning how to swim laps.
Vary it up and listen to your body, modify your exercise as needed, and maintain a healthy, varied whole food diet with good hydration.
2. Reduce Your Stress
Life has always been stressful, and inner stress is definitely not the feeling you want shadowing your pregnancy, your baby’s birth, or your mama-hood.
Take some quiet time with yourself (and baby) to determine what kind of perspective you’re operating from as well as what kind of state of mind you want to impart on your child from as early on as the womb.
Spending energy on the things you can’t change - which is literally most of life - leads to pointless angst and worry.
Adopt an attitude of surrender and acceptance for the things over which you have no power. (It is not easy to embrace this reframed way of thinking, but well worth your efforts! And, this should not discourage action if it can and does need to be taken.)
Instead, focus on what you can change: yourself. You can change and control your attitude, perspective, reactions, choices, and behaviors. This involves a deep and personal look at the thoughts and emotions you host. This takes work. However, it leads to growth that is beyond rewarding and transformative.
Cultivate a spiritual awareness and connection to the magnificent soul within you as it relates to the infinite. Believe that everything happens for your ultimate benefit and growth, even if you don't understand why.
Listen to your heart and gut and live from a place in which what you think, feel, say, and do are in harmony.
Get adequate rest by going to bed at a similar time each night, ideally before 11:00 pm, and aim for 7-8 hours of sleep or more.
Take breaks throughout the day and at least one half an hour power nap in the afternoon. You can also assume a restorative yoga pose like savasana by closing your eyes and quietly focusing only on your breathing. This kind of technique can be equivalent to 2 hours of sleep for your body.
Learn about breath awareness, relaxation techniques, and meditation to activate your own relaxation response.
Beware of over-scheduling yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask family and friends for assistance, and consider hiring help. Cut down on the non-essential burdens in your life, especially if you feel overwhelmed.
This is all easier said than done, so let your days be filled with what’s most important to you and let go of the things that really don’t matter. LIVE your life; don’t rush through it.
Monotask rather than multitask! Try to focus on doing one thing at a time with your full attention, and make a conscious decision to do fewer tasks each day. Unplug daily by limiting your phone and internet use as well as your screen time. This will not only help you feel better but also allow you to accomplish more, by doing less.
Schedule downtime and guard it fiercely. Do whatever you want as long as it's restful and restorative and has nothing to do with work, chores, being online or running errands.
Spend quiet time each day to connect to your baby. Talk to your baby. Sing to your baby. Play beautiful music to your baby. Your baby relaxes when you do, and your baby hears and loves these precious moments.
3. A Healthy, Supportive Environment
This may be last on the list but please don’t take for granted the value that a fiercely loving support system and environment brings to your pregnancy and childbirth. Uncomfortable, stressful, or even inauthentic surroundings, for example, can surreptitiously raise the discomfort and tension in your body and mindset.
A destructive and harmful environment can be just as toxic to your system as any processed or chemically-altered food. Being mindful of your environment can help support your steps for enhancing your well-being.
In finding the right support system, you’ll be adding tremendous value to your experience like finding other like-minded women and partnering with a midwife or doctor that you trust, admire, and whose primary concern is you and your baby.
Women have supported women in community living since the beginning of time. It takes a village to raise a child as well as a new parent.
Today, even more importantly, I encourage mamas to create a fortress of positivity around themselves. Hang out with calming, positive, uplifting, empowering, and inspiring people as much as possible. If you do not know any, you can create your own tribe of like-minded mamas - they are out there.
Seek out other women who have a similar outlook regarding holistic health and wellness in pregnancy, labor, birth, breastfeeding, and parenting. Make friends at prenatal yoga class, childbirth class, pregnancy and postpartum support groups, attachment parenting, babywearing groups, and La Leche League meetings.
If you do not have these resources in your area, create your own. Host a Positive Birth Movement circle, movie screening, or a book reading. Organize a community Blessingway/mother-blessing, a Red Tent event, or a pregnancy day retreat. Create a gathering of pregnant mamas and invite a prenatal henna artist or massage therapist. Do belly casting/art with each other - you name it! Connect with others on social media - the childbearing and yoga communities are so wonderfully supportive.
Each one of these tips stands on its own with tremendous value. However, when you combine your healthy eating and exercise habits with your low-stress lifestyle and supportive community, there’s no question you’ll love your healthier pregnancy and life even more.
Eating well and exercising regularly will not only keep you and your baby healthy but your baby will also be in tune and benefit immensely from the great amount of energy and positivity that you feel.
Every expectant mother has a right to glowing peace and a radiant tranquility.
If you haven’t already, download my free Healthy Pregnancy eBook. In it, I go into detail about everything here, including supplements and breathing techniques. You’ll find plenty more tips based on holistic and science-based practices.
And, don’t be shy to join our community! Having others to relate to and lean on is crucial in those times when you feel overwhelmed as well as during those moments when you feel impossibly joyful.
Want to connect with like-minded women supporting each other through their natural birthing journey? Join our Facebook community which is open to all active and previous clients, those who have had consultations, and who have taken my online course or other classes