Birth : One of the most magical times in an expectant mom’s life. Yet a time that can be met with much fear and uncertainty. At 5 months pregnant myself and in the midst of Pregnancy Education Week, birthing my little girl is definitely something that has begun to play on my mind, despite the fact that well, this ain’t my first rodeo! I’ve birthed two beautiful and healthy baby boys, both vastly different in their experiences. The greatest difference being the lack of preparation and support I so badly needed prior to birthing my first son. Had I had the right kind of information at my disposal, I may have been more prepared when faced with my situation almost 6 years ago.
Most of you will know my first birth experience – it’s kind of where this little blog started, as I began to document the story of Noah’s birth and my journey to recovery. In a nutshell, things didn’t go as I anticipated and not because my body was being stubborn but because I believe my gynae rushed the job without letting my body do what it would have done on it’s own. Without any need for intervention, forceps were used to deliver my baby which resulted in me being rushed to theatre. That single decision my doctor made resulted in me spending 9 months in and out of hospital.
Now I ask myself, How would I have handled things differently had I been properly prepared for birth? If I had researched and prepared myself for that day, would I have been able to stand my ground and demand answers for my doctor’s intervention before it was too late? I look back and cant help but think how ignorant and naive I was. I just didn’t know any better. I didn’t know I could rely on my body’s natural abilities and that I could trust my own instincts. I don’t know I was allowed to question the doctors or demand things be done differently.
Second time around, I did what any woman would would have. I changed gynaecologist, I asked questions, I read books and and prepared myself mentally for Brody’s birth. And the result was the most healing and liberating experience of my life. I empowered myself by taking charge of what was mine.
Now days with amazing campaigns like The Perfect Dance of Birth Hormones which highlights the importance of Pregnancy Awareness and Education, we have a wealth of information at our disposal. Information that serves to educate and inform pregnant women of the significant role we play in preparing for that beautiful day. Yes things can go wrong or take a different direction for very good reason, but with intentional planning, we are doing everything we can to prepare ourselves spiritually, mentally and physically for one the biggest moments of our lives. In my complacency and naivety I went into that labour ward with very little understanding of what was expected of me and just how many choices there were to make.
So what are the really important things we need to do as expectant parents?
Lyne Bluff explains several steps that expectant parents can take to best prepare for this perfect ‘dance’:
- Most importantly you need confidence that you can give birth to your baby, so it’s important to choose a doctor or midwife who instils this confidence.
2. Learn the steps. Attend childbirth education classes and learn how the body functions so that you fully understand labour.
3. Prepare your body. Exercise will prepare the body for labour and generates higher levels of endorphins which will lead to a shorter, less painful birth. Eating a healthy balanced diet will nourish mother and baby without excessive weight gain. Massaging oil into your growing body is soothing and also helps prepare the skin for rapid expansion, helping prevent stretch marks.
4. Practice coping strategies such as visualisations, affirmations and massage. Use these during labour and also stand and move – movement and upright posture enhance endorphin release.
5. Give birth in a safe, private and relaxed atmosphere. A calm, supportive environment prevents labour being slowed down by the wrong hormones interacting.
6. Recruit a birth support team – whether it’s your partner, a doula, friend or mother. There are wide-reaching physical and emotional benefits to having loving support during the birth.
7. Allow birth to begin in its own time. When labour begins naturally, both mother and baby have the optimal number of receptors needed for birth hormones to best facilitate birth.
8. Skin to skin contact immediately after birth, allows baby to go through the nine instinctive stages naturally, and increases oxytocin levels for mom and baby, which supports breastfeeding success and enhances maternal-infant bonding.
Lynne Bluff, national co-ordinator of the Childbirth Educators’ Professional Forum, explains how antenatal classes can help facilitate an understanding of the interplay of hormones before, after and during birth.
“Our hormone system prepares us in the final weeks, days and hours for an efficient labour; they help manage the pain and stress and ensure a safe birth. Hormones also give us a feeling of intense reward and pleasure as we meet our baby for the first time. For all this to happen in harmony, the birthing hormones need to work together in perfect synchronicity. At childbirth education classes, parents learn these intricate steps. The knowledge and understanding they gain helps facilitate the ‘dance’ for a better birth experience.”
I just LOVE the way she explains it….
“Four hormones star in the show – oxytocin, endorphins, catecholamines and prolactin. Each brings its own style to the dance of labour. Oxytocin takes the lead, guiding you with love and connection, while catecholamines excite and energize you. Endorphins help you navigate through the daring twists and turns and nurturing prolactin will be there at the dazzling finish to welcome your baby.”
I love this campaign and all that it stands to accomplish. It’s left me feeling educated and empowered as a mama who is anticipating the birth of her third child, knowing that my role as a birthing warrior is one to be celebrated and respected.
Pregnancy Education week is a time where childbirth educators, Bio-Oil and hospitals around the country highlight how knowledge empowers expectant parents for better pregnancy, birth, bonding and breastfeeding experiences. Childbirth education is proven to have many benefits for expectant parents and the newborn child.
To celebrate this significant campaign we we are giving an expectant mom the chance to win a gorgeous hamper worth R1500! Here’s what’s inside:
– Basket: R110
– 3 bottles of Bio-Oil (60ml, 125ml and 200ml): R410
– Cuddly woollen giraffe: R250
– 100% cotton babygrow: R50
– 100% cotton blanket: R290
– ClevaMama bath towel: R350
– Bio-Oil’s ‘Tips for Moms from Moms’ booklet & Baby scan album: R40
And here’s what you going to have to do:
- Like and share the post.
- Comment below with what this campaign has offered you/ how it may have inspired or empowered you.
- Tag two preggy friends in the comments on the Facebook thread.
The comp will end at 12pm On Friday 24th February. All steps need to be followed in order to qualify for the prize. Winner will be selected via random.org. Comp can be entered on behalf of a friend. Please read T’s and C’s.
GOOD LUCK! ♥
*This post was sponsored, however all thoughts and opinions are honest and my own.