Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Baby Countdown...a Nine Month Marathon.
4 weeks to go!!
When I contemplated going natural again with the birth of this little one, I knew there were going to have to be some changes for me to gain confidence and hopefully make the end process somewhat easier. Could my birthing experience be any easier? Was it possible to prepare yourself in such a way that labor could be better? shorter? less painful? less complicated?
It wasn't very comforting to read this past weekend, "To the woman he said, "I will surely multiply your pain in childrearing; in pain you shall bring forth children." Genesis 3:16a. Well, pain is obviously inevitable. BUT, I haven't lost hope in doing my part to make it the least amount of pain as possible.
This is not my only motivation. I also want an uncomplicated birth and a healthy, strong baby.
I have been reading a book called "Husband Coached Childbirth" by Dr. Bradley. I have gotten a reaction of, "you have done this 7 times, and now you think you need a book to tell you how to do this?" YES!
If his theory and teachings are right on, then all of my earlier questions are answered with a "yes".
I love Dr. Bradley's view that the upcoming labor and birth is seen as an athletic event. I played sports in high school and college. I have tried to remain active since then. It resonates with me. I am familiar with the importance of discipline and consistency, although I have never trained for a marathon. I have only ran a 5K! Having a baby is definitely no 5K :) It is hard work. It requires energy of an athlete, conditioning of an athlete, and the nourishment of an athlete. I personally believe the emotional and spiritual conditioning involved throughout will play just as big of a role as the physical training.
So, if there are any males out there who may be reading this and want to check out at this point, please do. I am going to respectfully list a few things that Dr. Bradley recommends for the expectant mother desiring to prepare her body for labor and birth.
This involves Sleep and healthy Food.
SLEEP- Needs proper sleep and rest. Trying her best to keep stress out of her life (really?) or atleast coping properly with the stress that enters her life.
FOOD- he is a big advocate of the Brewer's Diet, which I hope to write of in detail next week and give reasons why. It really consists of things we should be eating already, with an emphasis on possibly increasing good protein.
2. Prenatal Exercises
These exercises will involve the muscles in the three B's- Back, Belly, and Bottom. They need to be strengthened and flexible.
TAILOR SITTING- or what is also called "Indian style" sitting. This is really not hard to do, atleast for me. I have recently met someone who said this is very uncomfortable because of how stiff and unflexible she is. I was surprised. This may be more difficult for some than others. Do this as much as possible. It helps the enlarging uterus to fall freely forward instead of tipping backwards. Crossing our legs is a big no-no. It causes varicose veins, hemorrhoids, uterine prolapses, etc... It is actually the natural way to sit in Native Americans, Chinese, Japanese, and other parts of the world. Now, I know I can't sit this way in the middle of church or Sunday School and for some of you working moms, in the workplace. But, do this as much as you can.
SQUATTING- for those women who don't have little ones yet, this exercise will have to be more intentional. For those of us who do, you will find yourself not purposely squatting many times a day. Take advantage of this. And, pay attention to how you bend over to pick up things. I was amazed how I usually bent the back and not the legs to retrieve something or someone off the ground. The proper way is to squat with your legs bent and rise up- tail first! Funny, I know. It will increase the outlet diameter of the pelvis and reduces the chance of needing a cesarean section. It is the most effective pushing position in second stage. Do atleast 100 a day.
PELVIC ROCKING- This one was a little harder to envision, so I recommend you try to look up a demo on You Tube to see the proper positioning and exercise. It is a lifting (not arching) and relaxing your lower back rhythmically while on hands and knees. You are on all fours and you feel like a dog wagging it's tail up and down, not back and forth. It actively exercises the lower-back and abdominal muscles, which need to be strengthened to support the increasing weight of the offspring growing in her uterus. This helps to prevent varicose veins, chronic back strain, fallen womb, toxemia of pregnancy from decreased kidney circulation.
Do twenty or so midmorning, after lunch, midafternoon, and increase this to 40 before bedtime.
BUTTERFLY EXERCISE- This exercise is to strengthen the "abductor" or legs-apart muscles. Lean back against a firm support with your knees together and feet flat on the floor. Have someone place their hand on the outer surface of each of your knees and exert mild pressure to help you hold your knees together as you use your thigh muscles to push them apart. It should take no more than 3 seconds for you to get your legs down as far as comfortable. We will need to be able to do this comfortable so that we can open that baby door when it is time! Do this about 3 to 10 times a day.
KEGEL OR PUBOCOCCYGEAL EXERCISE- Most of us who have had children have heard of these exercises. No longer can one cough, sneeze, laugh, run, jump on the trampoline, etc....without proper protection. It just isn't like it used to be. And, I know you know what I am talking about :). This exercise will strengthen the muscle of the vaginal opening through which the baby actually passes by. Weak muscles in this area can make for a longer second stage and perhaps a cesarean if the baby does not keep its chin on its chest. It is a tightening and loosening of this muscles. Similar to the muscle action of stopping and starting urination. It will help during pushing the baby out and also encouraging the baby to keep its chin on its chest.
Do this as often as you can throughout the day. Good thing about this, is you can be with anyone, anywhere.
RELAXATION PRACTICE- Very important. This is where I lose it during the pushing stage. Because, for one's body to be relaxed, so must the mind. This is where a support team will help to keep you focused and relaxed as they speak words of encouragement and do things to help keep you relaxed. I will also touch on this next week along with nutrition as to what I am hoping to use to help me intentionally prepare to become more relaxed during the whole experience.
Sorry for this being so long. It may have been more for me than you!! I would recommend getting the book if you are interested for yourself or for someone you love. If there are things that we can do that will decrease the likelihood of a c-section, toxemia, preeclampsia, etc...then I think we need to not only inform ourselves, but other women as well. It can only empower us and give us confidence as we embrace motherhood.
Thankful for and praying for a fast and easy delivery,