After suffering from the consequences of having a highly-medicated pregnancy and delivery with my firstborn son, I've decided that all of my subsequent children will be carried and born as naturally as possible! I did have a successful natural childbirth with my second son, even though I delivered him in the hospital (our area, unfortunately, does not have any midwives available for home birthing). I am set to do it all again in early December, so I've decided to post on what natural helps have worked for me.
Good Coaching--this is first and foremost for a successful delivery! Of course, your primary coach will be your husband, but it doesn't hurt to have a little extra support! You may choose to hire a doula, a woman trained to help you progress peacefully through labor and childbirt, or perhaps just the support of a loving family member or friend. This can be extremely beneficial as it will take some of the stress off your hubby--remember, the birth of a baby is an emotional and exhausting time for him, too!
Rainbow Light Just Once Prenatal Vitamins--these vitamins, although horse pills, are the only ones I have tried that don't make me nauseous. They contain red raspberry leaf, a uterine toner, and ginger to combat nausea.
Traditional Medicinals Pregnancy Tea--this tasty tea contains red raspberry leaf, an herb found to be beneficial in toning and preparing the uterus for labor and delivery. I usually drink this all the way through my pregnancy, switching to nettle tea around the 32 week mark, as this iron-rich herb is helpful to increase iron in the blood.
Evening Primrose--at around the 38 week mark, I begin taking evening primrose capsules(these capsules are 500 mg. per capsule, and you take about 4 per day). Evening primrose contains prostaglandins, which soften and prepare the cervix for delivery. Be sure to ask your health care provider before taking evening primrose.
Lots of Exercise--try to aim for at least one hour a day, but don't overdo it! In my opinion, walking is the best exercise you can get, especially late into pregnancy, as it is easy on your joints, which are relaxing in preparation for birth, making it very easy to have sprains and strains. Also, try doing wall or partner-supported wide-leg squats to encourage the opening of the pelvis. I also enjoy stretching/yoga (no inverted or complicated poses) and prenatal workout DVD's like Denise Austin's Fit and Firm Pregnancy Workout. Remember, take it easy and BE CAREFUL as your growing belly will make your balance off!
Labor Supplies--as stated above, my first experience with childbirt was not a great one, as I was heavily medicated--no epidural, just heavy pain medication. The effects that this had on myself and my newborn made me rethink comfort measures during labor and delivery. Labor is difficult and exhausting, but not impossible! Here are a few good things to have on hand to ease discomfort:
1. Honey straws--honey straws are just that--little straws filled with honey! These are great to suck on during labor, since the sugar in the honey can keep your energy up, and they are not so heavy as to cause nausea.
2. Emergen-C or Coconut water--drinks full of vitamins, minerals and electrolytes to combat dehydration and restore depleted energy. Emergen-C comes in little packets, so you just add the powder in water. Coconut water must be kept cold.
3. Hot sock--a good way to ease the aches and pains of labor is with a hot sock--a clean tube sock filled with rice and tied off at the opening of the sock. Simply warm the sock in the microwave fo 1-2 minutes and apply to achy areas. This is great for back labor!
4. Tennis ball--can be used by your coach to apply pressure to sore areas, especially the lower back during contractions!
5. Encouraging Scripture to meditate on--check out this website: www.ajoyfulbirth.com/Scripture (look for my post on Scripture for Childbirth soon)
Well, that's what works for me--I would love to hear what has worked for you!