Natural Birth

Opinions on the best way to prepare for birth...

What are some ways to prepare for a natural birth (1st tri, 2nd tri, 3rd tri)? Stretches, exercises, food etc... What worked for you or what have you learned about this? 

Re: Opinions on the best way to prepare for birth...

  • We did the Bradley classes and really liked them.  In the class they suggest various exercises to tone and prepare for L&D like squats, butterflies, and pelvic tilts.  I did them religiously and found them to be really helpful in getting the muscles toned and ready for birth.  A lot of people also like pre-natal yoga.  It was not offered in my area but I know several ladies who found it helpful.
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  • image aylafsu88:
    We did the Bradley classes and really liked them.  In the class they suggest various exercises to tone and prepare for L&D like squats, butterflies, and pelvic tilts.  I did them religiously and found them to be really helpful in getting the muscles toned and ready for birth.  A lot of people also like pre-natal yoga.  It was not offered in my area but I know several ladies who found it helpful.

    All of this. We did Bradley classes and I did prenatal yoga with my first. Hoping to do a Bradley refresher this time (although I'm having a hard time finding one in my area), and I've just started doing all the same exercises and am hoping to start prenatal yoga again soon.

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  • Hypnobirthing the book was less helpful to me than the classes and practicing the relaxation techniques as often as possible.

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  • You might want to consider RRL tea.  It helps tone the uterus which helps prepare for birth.  I started drinking it in the third tri and had 2-3 cups a day.  You can start drinking it earlier (second tri) if you want.

    ETA:  Further down the page is a thread on vitamins/teas/supplements.  You may find it useful!

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  • Reading birth stories! And watching births on YouTube :) It got me in a good frame of mind
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  • Everyone is different obviously, but this is what worked for me.

    First tri: Researched birth options and got hubby on board for natural birth (this included watching The Business of Being Born together). Found a provider who was supportive of NB.

    Second tri: Decided on hypnobirthing and set up classes, read (Ina May, Mongan Method: Hypnobirthing, etc). Hospital tour. Developed and discussed birth plan/preferences with midwife.

    Third try: Took hypnobirthing classes, worked on processing remaining fears about birth. Met some other providers in the practice. Also took newborn care and breastfeeding classes.

     Throughout: Watched videos of various types of births on Youtube. Read a lot of birth stories. Was active on NB board. (:

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  • I think for me, the best preparation came from keeping active (I continued to go to the gym and exercise until my 39th week). I had a long labor (29 hours), but because I was in good physical shape, I was able to power through to the end. I think had I not maintained my physical fitness, I might not have been able to make it to the end.
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  • I just had my baby yesterday and here's what I've decided may have really helped for me:

    -Hypnosis homestudy programs.  I did GentleBirth and BlissBorn.  Both were great for different reasons.  But I firmly believe that by doing this I was able to have the labor I had, and I had a GREAT, short labor.  I know it helped my view of labor and delivery and helped to stop any fears I had about it.

    -Red Raspberry Leaf Tea (started at 17 weeks, drank 1 cup until the third tri when I upped it to two).  I had my baby in five hours and I've had a great recovery.  I was told by the doctor/nurses that I had a really strong uterus.  I may have just been born with a strong uterus, but I'm sure the tea played a part!

    -Even Primrose Oil (started at 37 weeks, 2 days with 500 mg orally, upped it to 1000 mg orally at 38 weeks and then added 500 mg vaginally at 38 weeks, 3 days, had my baby at 38 weeks, 5 days).  It amy be a coincidence but I am happy I decided to start EPO later!

    -Reading tons of positive birth stories (check out Birth Without Fear).  Not reading negative birth stories (hard to do sometimes, especially when you have friends having babies and want to support their experience).  

    -Reading Ina May's Guide to Childbirth also really helped put me in a good mindset for the labor and delivery.  I read it before I got pregnant and again in the first trimester.

    Yoga was great in the second trimester to help with muscle cramps and other body changes, but I didn't really do anything yoga related in labor.  And I hadn't done it at all in the third trimester so physically I don't think it prepared me, either.  But it made me feel better!

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    I didn't take any classes. And I tried really hard not to read too many books or blogs. I stayed away from horror stories (women love to tell you how hard labor is). 

     My best advise, find a really good midwife that you love and trust. If this isn't an option find a doula. And then trust your body. Trust that you were created to bear children. That your body was made to give birth. That you can do it.

    During the pregnancy I did A LOT of walking. I was a slow walker because it wasn't always comfortable... but I tried to walked at least 30 to 45 minutes a day on top of my regular activities. I spent 10 to 20 minutes squatting (almost) every day. And before bed I did some stretching and hanging out on all fours. My midwife told me that squatting and hanging out on all fours could help position the baby for an easier birth.

    I am lucky/blessed when it comes to labor and delivery... this was my first and my little boy came three weeks early. My labor was about 3 hours including the 20 minutes of pushing. I know this isn't "normal" but I would like to think that staying active and trusting myself played a big part.

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  • image JCWhitey:

    I just had my baby yesterday and here's what I've decided may have really helped for me:

    -Hypnosis homestudy programs.  I did GentleBirth and BlissBorn.  Both were great for different reasons.  But I firmly believe that by doing this I was able to have the labor I had, and I had a GREAT, short labor.  I know it helped my view of labor and delivery and helped to stop any fears I had about it.

    -Red Raspberry Leaf Tea (started at 17 weeks, drank 1 cup until the third tri when I upped it to two).  I had my baby in five hours and I've had a great recovery.  I was told by the doctor/nurses that I had a really strong uterus.  I may have just been born with a strong uterus, but I'm sure the tea played a part!

    -Even Primrose Oil (started at 37 weeks, 2 days with 500 mg orally, upped it to 1000 mg orally at 38 weeks and then added 500 mg vaginally at 38 weeks, 3 days, had my baby at 38 weeks, 5 days).  It amy be a coincidence but I am happy I decided to start EPO later!

    -Reading tons of positive birth stories (check out Birth Without Fear).  Not reading negative birth stories (hard to do sometimes, especially when you have friends having babies and want to support their experience).  

    -Reading Ina May's Guide to Childbirth also really helped put me in a good mindset for the labor and delivery.  I read it before I got pregnant and again in the first trimester.

    Yoga was great in the second trimester to help with muscle cramps and other body changes, but I didn't really do anything yoga related in labor.  And I hadn't done it at all in the third trimester so physically I don't think it prepared me, either.  But it made me feel better!

    All of this. I'm doing hypnobabies home study and I really feel prepared and excited for birthing

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