Updated: May 20, 2020
Now this is just some of the things and not everything. A lot goes into getting yourself ready throughout pregnancy.
I am someone who likes to prepare myself as much as I can for what is to come. Now before I had found out I was pregnant I stopped with the prep because with us taking a long time to get pregnant, I found doing the prep did get me disheartened and down the more time we had to spend trying. Once I found out I was pregnant though.... Ohh yeah I didn't hold back. I read a lot, watched a lot of videos and spoke to more moms about their experiences to try get myself in a space where I felt as prepared as I could.
Diet & Vitamins...
I knew I wanted to get pregnant so my diet had changed a bit. I still loved my junk food I can't lie , but I amped up the fruit and veg intake and took more walks. People that know me, know I'm not a natural exercise lover so even adding walks to my routine was a lot for me personally. Also started taking prenatal vitamins before I even got pregnant and just carried on through my pregnancy but just changed the type I was taking to suite the stage I was now in. Water also became a friend instead of my worst nightmare.
Now I don't tell people this but I had miscarried in my life previously. The first trimester is where miscarriages more commonly happen and stress can contribute to this but it can happen at anytime for many different reasons and it's hard! Now I was not about to take no chances with my baby. I was about to be as zen as I could be and it meant that things that stressed me out got cut out. People that provided me more stress than love got cut off while I was pregnant. Conversations I thought could stress me did not happen on my watch or would be passed onto someone else to deal with.
**This is something I've carried with me even till after having my princess. There's only a certain amount of stress that I am willing to take on for certain people and situations, anything that surpasses what I'm comfortable with will quickly become the other persons problem and not my own.
Meditation & Mindfulness...
There is one specific book I bought to read specifically around pregnancy and preparing for child birth, I also made my sister read it because she was my official birth partner even though my husband thought he was. The Hypnobirthing Book (click on on the name to check it out). It can sound a bit airy fairy and a bit 'hypie' as my sister said to me. One of the biggest things it taught me and made me do as part of the exercises was to meditate and repeat mantras that were designed to change my thinking so I'm more positive and help me to focus in time of labour. Its definitely not about making labour 'easy' because it's not possible lol.
Breathing and thoughts. Two very powerful things in labour. I found everything it taught me came into play when it was time to push and I was able to get myself in the right mind frame. I managed to control my breathing and control my thoughts and honestly it probably is the reason why I found pushing so easy. If there is anything I would probably do more of is this, I was inconsistent with it but what I continually practiced, I used.
The Birthing Plan
This was basically a simple guide for everyone (including the midwife) to know what I wanted to happen if possible. Mine was very basic (I think so anyway) and was just a list of things I wanted. I've put it below for anyone that may be interested to see it. It's important to be aware that a birth plan is just a guide and does not mean that is what will happen so DO NOT get stuck on the idea that things will go as per your birth plan because they probably won't! It's just there so people know on paper what you want and there is less chance of you being pressured to do something you do not want.
1. I would like to give birth in a midwifery unit (Ingleside Birth Centre) but would like to stay at home for as long as possible before going there. 2. During labour, I would like to have low lighting, listen to music and have candles lit (at home). I would also like to use my hypnobirthing techniques. 3. If there is anything concerning the midwife whilst I am in labour, I would like my partner to be quietly notified so he can make a decision and I can focus on keeping calm. 4. Should a transfer to hospital be needed I am happy for this to happen as long as my midwife says so and my partner and sister are aware of exactly what’s happening and why. 5. I do not want any students or other staff in the room and I would prefer a female midwife. 6. I would like to avoid my waters being broken and would prefer to try natural methods to induce labour. 7. Please do not offer any pain relief unless I ask for it. Gas and air is the only thing I will be expecting to use at Ingleside. 8. I would like to be able to move around freely and I would also like to try different birthing positions. At no point do I want to be on my back, especially when pushing. 9. I would like to push when I feel the need to push rather than be told when to push. 10.I have been practising perineum massage to avoid an episiotomy so I would only be okay with one in the event of an emergency 11.Should an emergency C-section be needed, I would like my partner to be with me. Do Not perform a hysterectomy unless it Is the only option to save my life. 12.If possible, I do not want to be separated from my baby. However, my partner will stay with the baby if there’s an emergency. 13.We would like to have skin to skin contact time with the baby as soon as possible after delivery. 14.I don’t want the umbilical cord to be cut immediately, but want to wait until it stops pulsating so that the baby gets all the remaining cord blood. Once ready, I would like my partner to cut the cord. 15.I do not want to be given any drugs to speed up delivery of the placenta. I would like this to happen naturally. 16.I would like to have help the first time I breast feed my baby and would like to breastfeed as soon as possible after birth. 17.I would like to have pictures and/or videos taken during every stage of labour and birth.
Picking the birth place
This was all part of getting my birth plan ready and involved my husband a lot! I actually wanted a home birth as I wanted to be somewhere where I would feel comfortable and in control. My husband however was very scared of having a home birth and wanted me to give birth in the hospital where there was lots of drugs, doctors and midwives. After lengthy discussions and debates we both met in the middle and agreed on a Birthing Centre. It is literally the half way point between hospital and home. My husband had the comfort of having more than two midwives in the building and also felt better knowing that should it be needed, the hospital was only a few minutes away. I had the comfort of knowing that there is less people that could potentially intervene when I didn't want them to and I could still be comfortable as hospitals really raise my anxiety levels.
This however is not where I ended up giving birth which is why it is so important to understand that your birth plan is a guide and you will have to be flexible depending on what happens during labour.
We joined a class in our area which covered a lot of things in regards to parenting including childbirth. I found this extremely helpful and till this day still speak to some of the ladies now. If anyone is contemplating it, just do it and commit because I promise you, you will learn something! If you can do a few different classes then definitely do because knowledge is power guys. The more you know, the better equipped you will be to deal with a lot of things around labour, childbirth and also parenting. Even if you've had a baby before, I would still recommend doing classes because there's always new developments in the world and new things you could learn.
I found watching other mothers videos on YouTube about what they did to prepare for labour and what happened when they went into labour very helpful and encouraging.
Some of the YouTube channels I watched a lot of baby related things are below but this of course is not everything, there's a lot more random videos I watched as well as One Born Every Minute...
Charlotte Louise Taylor
Adanna David Family
Last but definitely not least guys, perineal massage! This guys is so crucial. I didn't know about this until I read about it around 30 weeks pregnant or so. This helps to prepare the perineal tissue for stretching over baby's head through the act of stretching and manipulating the tissue with your fingers. It helps to reduce the chances of tearing. I did this every week without fail from when I found out about it. And when I got too big that I could do it myself, my husband took over because I did not make this baby on my own and I'm sure he would have like my coochie to remain intact.. Which it did thankfully.
That's just some of the things I did to help me get ready for labour and I hope they do help someone else. Any other preparations people do/did do comment and let's all help each other best we can.