Are you a little anxious or nervous about giving birth? Feeling prepared and having the right information can have a positive impact on your confidence during your labour and birth. A positive birth story is an incredible and empowering experience. Here are some of our top tips to prepare your body, and your mind for birth.
- During your pregnancy keep active! Movement improves your wellbeing and supports flexibility. Walking helps to tone and keep muscles supple in pregnancy. Listen to your body carefully. Adjust the time and pace to suit your needs. The pelvis opens better during birthing when it has been kept mobile and balanced.
- Using gravity is beneficial – walking helps your baby’s head to settle in the head down position in your pelvis in the final weeks of your pregnancy.
- Avoid carrying a toddler on one hip as this will cause an imbalance in your pelvis..it is best to carry the toddler at the front or on your back to balance the weight.
- During pregnancy your body releases the hormone relaxin which makes your pelvis more flexible, ready for giving birth, but also means that any extra pressure on joints may lead to lower back pain or injury.
- Wear comfy flat shoes rather than high heels or keep them for special occasions as high heels can change your posture-they change your centre of gravity putting extra strain on your back and joints.
- Don’t sit too long in one position and avoid reclining on sofas. Getting up and moving around every 30mins or so is a good idea.
- See an expert/physiotherapist if you have any history of pelvic injury or discomfort.
- Wear the correctly fitted maternity bra and get expert advice re size. A good fitting bra ensures support and allows ease of movement.
Invest in a Birthing Ball
Benefits of using a birthing ball in pregnancy:
- It distributes your weight more evenly relieving spinal pressure and may ease backache, while keeping your hips and pelvis flexible during pregnancy.
- It will help you resist the urge to slump e.g. in a sofa or armchair therefore promoting good posture.
Sitting upright on a birthing ball is like a mini workout as your abdomen and back muscles have to work hard to keep you upright. Ensure that your feet stay flat on the floor while you are sitting on the ball.
- In the latter stages of pregnancy leaning forward over your ball may help with optimum fetal positioning i.e. ensuring the baby is lying in an anterior position ready for birth. It is a good idea to ask your Midwife about the position of your baby around your 34 week appointment.
- Do not bounce on the ball forcefully instead use gentle movements.
- In labour you may instinctively rotate your pelvis while having contractions and your birthing ball will give you good support for this.
- Birth partners can easily access your back for light touch massaging or lower back massage during your pregnancy or while birthing.
- During the birth you may like to lean over the ball on a hands and knees position.
- This may reduce pelvic pressure and allow lots of room for the baby’s head to descend and birth.
Using the correct size of birthing ball is vital:
If your height is 4’8″-5’3″ a 55cms ball is appropriate 5’4″-5’10” a 65cms ball is right
5’11’-6’4″ a 75 cms ball is the correct size
*remember sometimes for Mums with longer legs a larger ball may be appropriate to ensure your knees remain at a lower level to your hips when sitting on the ball.
*Your birthing ball also must be properly inflated.
Mind your mental health…
‘Self-care during pregnancy is the first gift that a mother can give to her child.’
Taking time to look after your mental health throughout your pregnancy is vital.
Factor in some time daily to ‘Be Still,’ to process your thoughts and emotions during this amazing but often daunting journey to motherhood. Physical changes, alongside fatigue and perhaps sickness can make you feel overwhelmed without the added pressures of modern day living and social media pressure. This is the perfect time to connect to your developing baby -to talk to them. Becoming a Mother also means a change of role, which some may find challenging. It may also be a trigger for Mums-to-be on their life experiences and there is help for those who have anxieties whether it is about the birth or other concerns. You can self-refer to a midwife or see your GP for support. There is a new perinatal mental health community service recently funded here in Northern Ireland, find out what services are available where you live.
- It is time to plan ahead-think now of building your support system-surrounding yourself with positive friendships and family.
- Ensure your partner is included and involved throughout your pregnancy, and is aware of their role at the birth.
- Be kind to yourself and don’t compare yourself to others.
‘Remember there is no way to be a perfect mother, but a million ways to be good one!’
Joyce and Annie, Midwives at BirthDays want to nurture and support you throughout your journey to parenthood to make it a positive memory that you can treasure forever.
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