3 October 2017 | Nos complices
I’ve always been drawn to all things natural. From shampoo and food right through to the birth of my children—it’s all part of a natural lifestyle. I always knew that I wanted to have a natural birth with as few interventions as possible.
I have a three-and-a-half-year-old named Sky and a seven-month-old named Flynn. I’m fortunate to have enjoyed two wonderful pregnancies and births. I chose to work with a midwife and had my first child at a birthing centre and my second at home. Those experiences were some of the most special and important moments of my life. It was very important for me to do what was best for the baby—and myself—so I could have a comfortable pregnancy and a safe and relaxed birth.
When it came time to have my second child, the feeling of novelty and fear was gone because I knew what to expect after my first. I was even more certain of my choices. I made sure I was well prepared so I could have a safe and quick delivery with as little pain as possible.
Here are five things that helped make childbirth such a positive experience for me:
Staying hydrated is key. We all know this, but it’s even more important when you’re pregnant. You’re going though lots of hormonal changes and the amount of blood in your body increases. Staying properly hydrated will help give you more energy, prevent cramps, and improve digestion, which can get sluggish during pregnancy. The same thing goes when you’re in labour—drink lots of water! I drank water constantly during my second delivery so I wouldn’t get dehydrated from all the work I was doing. It helped me stay focused, and it made me have to pee a lot, a perfect position to help get baby to descend.
My twin sister bought a self-hypnosis program for her second birth. She lent it to me so I could prepare for Flynn’s arrival. The point of hypnosis is to disrupt the negative feelings you associate with childbirth, like pain and fear. The positive statements and the visualisation and relaxation techniques the program suggested completely changed my view of childbirth. I was able to visualize a natural anaesthetic and achieve a completely centred and relaxed state of mind. Being able to control your emotions and feeling the power as your body painlessly does its thing is magical. I recommend this program to everyone. Don’t forget that energy follows thought—visualize the pain-free, comfortable, safe birth you want. You can make it happen.
I was fortunate enough to have the same midwife for both of my babies. In Quebec, you can choose between pregnancy care with a doctor or a midwife. Depending on where you live, you may have access to a birthing centre and a midwife who can guide you through the wonderful journey of pregnancy, in which case you have the choice of giving birth at a hospital or birthing centre, or at home. The thing I like most about working with a midwife is the way they make you feel supported and respected. If you don’t have access to a birthing centre but are interested in exploring this option, I’d recommend finding a doula who can guide you through your pregnancy and be with you for the birth. Keep in mind, however, that a doula cannot deliver your baby—only a midwife can do that.
I practiced yoga as much as possible before Flynn was born to prepare myself physically and work on my breathing and flexibility. Focusing on positions that opened up my hips and deep breathing really helped me with all the positions I adopted during childbirth.
Seeing an osteopath regularly during my pregnancy was helpful, especially to look after my coccyx and pubic bones. I saw my osteopath just before I gave birth to make sure my pelvis was properly aligned and that my baby was well positioned. I’m sure that it helped the baby come quickly—it took less than two hours! Osteopathy is a gentle but very effective method. I also went to see my osteopath with Flynn three days after he was born, and we both benefitted from it.
I hope these tips will help inspire you during your own birth adventure or that of a loved one!