Pregnancy lasts nine months for the mother, but by the time it becomes a reality, you are often a few months into it. When the belly pops, various emotions can begin to take full force - sometimes all at once. Although birth seems like an overwhelming experience, preparation can help you feel more in control. The following tips can help you find your center and get in the zone for your upcoming birth.
1. Step away from Google, and center yourself.
Your phone and the Internet are not your friends during pregnancy. It only brings in fear, during a time when you want it least. Rather, find time to focus your mind, body, and soul. Take time each day to slow down. Notice what calms you, and what stresses you. When contractions begin to build, there comes a time where you need to turn inward. Your true wisdom will take over and your body will do its job to bring baby closer to delivery. It is critical to find personal time leading up to the birth to help you know where to go when labor begins. It can be overwhelming, but if you know how to calm and relax, you will be along for the ride - rather than overtaken by it.
2. Choose books that inspire you.
Similar to the over-googling fear-causing research, reading too much can offer you misinformation and cause stress. If you thrive off more information, know your limits for what is helpful and what is harmful. Speak with your doula or a childbirth educator to find resources that best suit your needs. Each pregnancy may benefit from specialized reading. There is a vast wealth of knowledge available, and it's best to find the ones that bring joy and help you look forward to your journey into motherhood. Learn about the process and your body's reactions. Birth is just the beginning, so find literature that focuses on nurturing and growth.
3. Find a doula that calms you.
As well as educating yourself and learning about your desired birth, you should find a doula that helps you stay calm and centered. It is important for your energy to remain calm and focused during the birth, but you need to assemble a team who can do the same for you. You will know when you find the right doula for you. A great doula can vastly improve your birth and help you feel empowered.
4. Skip the couch and office chair ASAP, use the ball for all sitting.
Birth balls are a godsend not just for laboring moms but pregnant and postpartum women as well. Leading up to labor your pelvis is able to adjust and position the baby as needed. Couches and chairs tend to build tension in the muscles you want to relax. They can also promote bad postures that do not aid in labor. The birth ball takes pressure off your back and hips and allows you to prep for using your ball during contractions. After birth, the ball becomes a tool, similar to a rocking chair, that can soothe your baby or provide a comfy seat for breastfeeding. Not to mention, it tones your core throughout.
5. Rest up.
Many pregnant mothers become frustrated that they continually want to sleep leading up to the birth. The most important thing in pregnancy, labor, and delivery is to listen to your body. If you feel you need a rest midday - do it. There are not going to be times in the future where you have that luxury. Enjoy the quiet time you have now to indulge and treat yourself to a few siestas. If naps aren’t your thing, but twelve hours of sleep feels needed, follow your gut. Sleep will be a hard thing to come by, and now is the time to catch all the Zs possible.
6. Be present.
Live in the moment during your pregnancy and birth. You are only pregnant with this person once, and the experience is one to cherish. Just remember - the days are long, but the years are short. Keep a journal during pregnancy and the early days of parenting if you can. It doesn’t have to be grand. Even a small note on your phone will do. Looking back on it will be a wonderful reminder. It can also teach you a lot about future experiences or births.