Pregnancy and Labour Tips

 

Pregnancy

Activities and stretches to encourage a smoother labour – During pregnancy

 

These stretches and activities are meant to help loosen up muscles and ligaments (particularily in your pelvis), and encourage baby to engage into an ideal position for birth. You don't have to do all of these, every day, as a routine, you can divide them up and do one or two different ones every day or every other day.

*If you have health concerns or high blood pressure, consult your doctor before trying any of these.
 

  • Walking

  • Sleeping on your side, with a pillow between your knees

  • Chiropractic adjustments

  • Acupuncture and acupressure

  • Prenatal massage

  • Magnesium/epsom salt baths

  • Hands and knees/ cat stretches

  • Hip rotations on a birth ball

  • View the spinning babies website for more stretches, including the forward leaning inversion, side lying release, psoas release, and rebozo sifting; http://spinningbabies.com/learn-more/techniques/

Getting into the right mental state for labour

 

It’s completely normal to have fears and doubts about labour, but keep in mind that those fears and negative thoughts can then impact your physical welfare, ultimately resulting in either going overdue or a more difficult labour.
Mull over your fears either on your own or talk about them with someone you trust. It’s also good to keep a journal to record your thoughts. In addition to writing down your fears, its also beneficial to write down what you are excited about! After a while, try to write down less negative thoughts, and more positive ones.
If you’re still struggling with fears about labour, birth, or postpartum, try writing down positive solutions that might accompany those issues.
Overall, fear is normal, but to be able to have the best birthing experience possible, you need to overcome those fears or at least go in with a positive mental state. Keep telling yourself that you are in good hands, you are safe, you are capable, and you are strong. Even if things don’t go exactly as planned, if you go in with a positive attitude, your overall experience will be better.

“You block your dream when you allow your fear to grow bigger than your faith.” – Mary Manin Morrissey

 

Labour

Birthing Positions/activities/comfort measures - During labour

You do not have to remember all of these, that is what your doula is for – to suggest options depending on the situation and how the client is coping. You may do all of these things, or you may only do one or two, generally depending on the length or stage of labour.

 

Activities to bring baby down and encourage good positioning:

  • Forward leaning inversion

  • Open knee chest

  • Side lying release

  • Rebozo sifting

  • Stairs

  • Side lunges

  • Squats

  • Double Hip Squeeze

  • Sitting on the toilet

  • Hands and knees

  • Hip rotations on the birth ball

 

Comfort measures:

  • Side lying release

  • Belly lifts with rebozo

  • Counter preasure

  • Leg/Arm/Back massage

  • Bathtub or Shower

  • Double hip squeeze

  • Leaning over ball or back of bed

  • Sitting on the toilet

  • Breathing techniques

 

Birthing Positions:

  • On your back

  • Squatting

  • Leaning over the back of the bed

  • Side lying

  • Sitting up or squatting while pulling the rebozo

  • Sitting on a birthing stool

Common birth terms to familiarize yourself with

  • Induction / Types of induction

  • Rupture of membranes before labour begins

  • Prodromal/false labour

  • IV and GBS

  • Stalled labour

  • Synthetic oxytocin

  • Pain medication

  • Epidural

  • Fetal Monitors

  • Internal fetal monitor

  • Forceps/Vacuum

  • Episiotomy

  • C-section / reasons for cesarean

  • Directed / non directed pushing

  • Delayed cord clamping

  • Eye ointment/erethromicin, Vitamin K, Heel prick/PKU

  • Postpartum hemmorhage

  • Oxytocin

  • Delayed Bath

  • Meconium

  • Breech and posterior fetal positioning positioning

 

Postpartum

Your Postpartum Journey – Things to think about

Postpartum Depression – It’s very important to keep a mental or paper record of negative thoughts and behaviours. If they get worse over time, then you need to let someone you trust, know of these changes, or seek help from a professional. This is nothing to be ashamed of, and is more common than you would think.

Breastfeeding/Bottle-feeding – Choose whatever is right for you. Breastfeeding can be challenging at first, but if you can stick with it, it’s well worth it.

Your postpartum body

Hair loss - normally starts about 3 months postpartum and can continue for many months afterward. Uterine contractions - generally the first few days after your baby is born, your uterus will continue to contract back to it's normal size.

Postpatum Bleeding - Bleeding after you have a baby is generally heaviest the first week, where you will need to use your peri-bottle and thick pads, then it starts to lighten up and can last up to 6 weeks.

Postpartum belly binding - Belly binding or wearing a girdle postpartum, can be a great way to bring your core muscles and organs back to their pre-pregnancy state.

Swaddling/Babywearing – These are things that are extremely helpful with a newborn baby. Babies go through what is called the “fourth trimester” where it's important to help them feel safe and secure like they did in the womb. This will make your postpartum life much easier!

Sleeping arrangements – Everyone will tell you something different, but you need to do what works for you, plain and simple - whether that’s co-sleeping, using a bassinet in your room or having baby in a crib, in his/her own room.

Circumcision (if you have a boy) – This is a very personal choice, which you should research first, but if you choose to have your baby circumcised, make sure you have the funds ready to pay for it, and talk to your doctor or midwife about where to have the procedure done.

Meals – Making meals for the family, after having a baby, can be a very daunting task, so consider making up some freezer meals beforehand.

Other children – How will your other children react to a new baby? Who is willing to help you out with your older children when you need a break? How can you make the transition of bringing a new baby home, easier on the family?

Take care of yourself - Remember to take it easy for a while, eat healthy, and if you have any health concerns at all or you just don’t feel well, tell your doctor or call health link.