I am overdue for sharing another Pro Tip!
The days are short this time of year. And this abundance of darkness reminds me of a great tip to share with you all. There are some great benefits to laboring in the dark.
Melatonin. The first of these is melatonin. It has been discovered that myometrial tissue, the muscle in the uterus, is responsive to the presense of melatonin. And studies have shown that the majority of labor occurs at night. We’ve also found that pregnant women, especially those near term have increased levels of melatonin present. Read more specifics about the role of melatonin in labor and birth here and here. Oh! And watch a great video from Michel Odent on the same topic!
Privacy. The second is privacy. A sense of privacy is really important to laboring women. Birth is an intimate event. Feeling watched can come with a feeling of pressure to perform or act in a certain way and can negatively impact the hormones her body produces and that are needed for labor to progress. Feeling disturbed or interrupted or even exposed or vulnerable can cause stress hormones to rise and even shut down or significantly slow labor. Laboring in the dark is an easy way to gain a sense of privacy even if you are not alone. Read more about the importance of privacy in labor here and here.
Wow! The chemistry of our bodies is pretty cool.
Don’t keep this tip to yourself, friends! Here is a graphic a created to share on your own social media and let others in our secret of the benefits to laboring in the dark!
It’s time for another Pro Tip!
It’s normal to feel afraid when thinking about what lies ahead of you…..what will labor be like? Can I do it? What if something goes wrong? Will I be a good mom?
These feelings will affect you, your baby, and your birth. But, I have good news! There is a way to keep them under control! Having a provider that you trust is a good start. Taking a quality, independent childbirth education class is another big step in the right direction as is hiring a doula to support you. Having a team around you to support and educate you will help relieve some of your anxieties of what labor and birth will look and feel like. Staying active and eating well is good insurance that you will have a healthy and satisfying birth with a healthy mom and baby at the end. Spending time practicing self care and nourishing and preparing your soul for motherhood is also important. Pray, meditate, talk to friends and family, create art, journal….find whatever it is that works for you and do it regularly.
Oh friends! Don’t keep all this information to yourself! I made a little graphic below for you to share on your social media and let all your friends and family in on these pro tips! And be sure to check out the other tips in this series!
Welcome to my new blog series: Pro Tips! This will be a series of short, simple, but incredibly helpful tips from a birth pro….me.
Today’s topic is that of your physical health. Moms, I’m going to level with you here. Pregnancy is not an excuse to put your feet up and eat whatever, whenever you want. Absolutely listen to your body, eat when you’re hungry and even give into those cravings sometimes. But, you need good, nourishing food while your body is working hard to grow and nourish your baby. Get plenty of good protein, fruits and veggies. You also need lots of water; at least one ounce for every two pounds of your body weight. And remember, that as your pregnancy goes on, you will gain weight, therefore you will need to increase your water intake. Lastly, keep moving your body. It doesn’t have to be super strenuous or intense. Take a walk while enjoying the company of your husband, go for a swim, try out a yoga class with a friend. The act of labor and giving birth is often likened to running a marathon. Would you stand on the starting line of a marathon without having done any training at all and after having eaten nothing but junk food for the last 9 months? Not likely. Take care of yourself, mama. You deserve it. Learning and practicing self-care now will be a valuable skill for the rest of your life. You will not be able to take care of your family well if you are not also taking care of yourself.
Don’t keep all this great information to yourself! I made a nifty graphic for you to share on your facebook, Instagram, pinterest, twitter, and whatever else you’d like so you can let all your friends and family in on these awesome pro tips!
Your pelvis feels so loosey goosey that you’re afraid that when you get out of bed in the morning, you will land in a big pregnant heap on the floor, completely unable to support your weight any longer.
You pee every 12 minutes during the day and every 54 minutes during the night.
Everyone wants to tell you horror stories of their own births or tell you what you should and shouldn’t do for your birth.
You have hot flashes.
Getting dressed makes you short of breath.
Strangers try to make small talk and ask about your “due date.” You are not a library book.
You are always hungry but yet always full.
You cry over big things, small things, and sometimes nothing.
Fluids are leaking from places they usually don’t.
Your back hurts.
Your feet are swollen.
You have heartburn.
You don’t sleep.
I know, mama. I know. This pregnancy stuff can be HARD, especially at the end. It is doubly hard at the end.
But you know what? You can do hard things. I believe in you. You are strong. You don’t need to be rescued from this pregnancy with an induction. You can get through this. Plan some fun things to distract yourself. Seriously, spoil yourself rotten….massages and pedicures and haircuts and shopping. Eat good food, drink lots of water, rest when you’re tired…take naps! Cherish these last days of wiggles and kicks and bumps and hiccups in your belly. You will be missing them soon. Trust. Trust your body’s design. Trust the process of birth. Fear has no place here...only joy, love, peace and trust. Know that waiting and letting your baby choose his/her birthdate really is the best for both of you. Know that both your body and your precious baby were fearfully and wonderfully made. Trust that there is a purpose to every part of this process...that it was designed by a God that loves you more than you can fathom.
Hang in there, mama. Your sweet baby will be in your arms soon, I promise. You are amazing. You were made for motherhood.
“My doctor won’t allow me to go past 40 weeks.”
“I can’t labor in the tub at my hospital.”
“My doctor says I have to be in the bed for pushing.”
“I’m not allowed to eat during labor at my hospital.”
“I have to do the gestational diabetes/Group B Strep test at my next appt.”
“My doctor says I have to have IV fluids during labor.”
“My midwife says I have to have my labor induced.”
“I’m not allowed to walk around during labor because I have to be monitored.”
“My midwife says I have to have a flu shot.”
Do those things sound familiar? I hear them ALL THE TIME. Friends, I have another quote for you.
“How can we hope to make mothers out of women when we treat them like children?” ~ Cole Deelah
Please do not think for a minute that your provider or the hospital staff have any authority over you. In fact, the words “won’t allow,” “I can’t,” or “he/she/they won’t let me” do not belong in maternity care. You are not a child, you are a pregnant/birthing mother paying the members of your birth team to provide you with a service. You are the boss of your birth team. This birth team works for you and you are free to fire anybody at any time if they are not providing you with the service you need/desire. Hospital policy is not law. If your hospital’s policy is to not eat during labor, I promise you that you will not be arrested if you munch on an apple and cheese cubes between contractions. You don’t even have to be sneaky about it. Just do it. It’s your body. It’s your baby. It’s your birth. YOURS. If you are told during pregnancy that you are not allowed to labor in water and that is what you’d really like, tell your provider that. And if s/he is insistent that you will not be allowed to, find a new provider/hospital. If you can’t do that, petition the hospital administrators with your request and take along plenty of research and evidence for its safety. Consider driving to a provider/hospital that will allow it. Don’t give your money and business to providers and hospitals that will not support your desires and your role as a decision maker for both your and your baby’s care. Remember, as long as your baby is still on the inside, it is not too late to fire your current provider and find one that will support you. When choosing a doctor or midwife, refer to my post about choosing a maternity care provider for a list of questions to ask potential providers.
Amber Piller - Professional Birth Doula and owner of Agape Birth Services. Serving Northwest Houston including Jersey Village, Cypress, Tomball, Spring, and Katy Texas.