Hi there sweet momma to be (or papa because let’s face it, my man researched for me because I was too busy being all kinds of pregnancy extra.)
I bet you’ve come across this because you are about to have a little human enter this world and you need some birth hacks that will save the day.
While I sincerely hope to put this all in a precious, bound, collection one day in the future, people are having babies now, so I thought I’d paraphrase for you.
There is a TON of books and articles and posts everywhere you look. You could go right now and spend your nest egg on books at the local book store that would coach you on everything from pregnancy fashion to how to puree a chicken nugget.
I’m going to focus on maximizing the impact and minimizing the time spent weeding out the details.
Here we go:
1. Relax. Your incredible body isn’t going to mistake how this whole thing works. Sure, there are factors that could arise because this is humanity and there is margin for things being funky, but on the whole, we’ve been birthing babies since the first one was born and while I cannot promise your birth will be like any of my five, I can promise you that you get to choose how you approach it. Calm moms have all the fun. Pregnancy ball and chill, sweet friend.
A tense body will get in the way of things loosening and softening and dropping. I like to use the term “press in”. We’ll get to that, but for now, relax.
2. Move. In the days leading up to your baby (and really the entire pregnancy), be active. As active as you feel like. Take walks, breathe fresh air, let the sun hit your skin, and just move. Salsa dance with your partner in the living room. Park at the back of the parking lot at the grocery store.
There’s a reason old wives tales say to vacuum and make whoopie. Moving loosens up your hips and pelvis.
The thing I didn’t know about movement until my 3rd child was that while it progresses labor very well, it also detracts from the mind focusing on discomfort. When you’re moving, you’re not laying on your back thinking about how you feel.
3. Eat and drink. Unless you are under restriction for good reason from your provider, eat and drink. Birth is a marathon and not a sprint. Your body and your baby still need water, protein, etc. It’s about to Hulk out and it needs fuel.
4. Relax your bottom jaw. We tend to tense up at the beginning of contractions. I know I did. But in my 5th delivery, my smart husband told me to just let my bottom jaw hang open. Game.Changer. pal. I was able to keep swaying or moving or just not panic. It worked far better than any other coping tip I’ve tried.
5. Get into the water. There is just something about a bathtub or a pool that is soothing, and the added bonus of taking your weight and baby’s off of your ever-expanding pelvis is unmatched. Try your bathtub or a birthing pool wherever you are laboring. You can maintain rhythmic movement in water and progress with much less intensity.
6. Shhhh. If you’re not in labor yet, let’s play a game. First, make a high pitched sound. Note how your entire body tenses up? Now, make low sound from your gut. See how that relaxes your body and especially your abdomen? Low and slow wins the race.
7. Stay off of your back. Laying on your back forces your baby to work against gravity. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
8. Just say no to IV fluids unless something is wrong. Fluids will make you and your baby swell a bit. Do I need to explain that one further? Nah.
9. When you “literally can’t even”, it’s probably go-time. There is a special word in the stages of labor called “Transition”. This is what happens when it’s time for baby to head on out. It also coincides with some crazy thoughts. For most women it’s definitely work laboring, but when your mind becomes irrational saying “you can’t do this. get drugs. you’re going to die. it’s too hard” that’s usually right about that time. Tell someone when you get crazy in your mind and see if it might be time to settle into delivery.
10. Press in. The rhythms of labor are long lost on TV and movie deliveries. We all picture ourselves on our back screaming in pain while we push on a ten count. If you dint’ know this already, when your baby is ready, your body will push for you. It’s crazy, but it’s real. So as you approach this glorious unfolding, press in. It’s okay to feel it. It’s good to sway and move and trust your body if it tells you to squat, get on all fours, lay on your side, or sit on the potty. Relax that bottom jaw, breathe well, and press in. Because the truth is, in mere moments, you’re going to be holding a life you got to carry and the feeling of birthing that person is unlike anything else this world has to offer. You will never regret it and you’ll be love drunk about it forever.
p.s. Contractions feel like period cramps. They start small and build. If you’ve ever had a strong period, you can do this birth thing. Trust me.