Ask the Doula Betty - Prenatal Preparations
Prenatal Preparations for Expecting Mums - 4 Ways to Prepare Your Body During Pregnancy
Preparing for birth can mean many different things, depending on the type of birth you are hoping to have! Some expecting parents will want to focus on breathing techniques, labour positions, and making cozy birth spaces. Others will want to understand all the options available to them in case of emergencies and which pain management options they’d like to try.
Whether you are planning a vaginal birth or have a scheduled C-section, there are several things you can do during your pregnancy to help prepare your body for birth and postpartum.
1. Focus on Prenatal Nutrition
Your nutrition during pregnancy plays a big role in your overall health and the health of your growing baby. Staying nourished during pregnancy can be a challenge if you are experiencing nausea or food aversions! Just focus on doing what you can, when you can.
If there are days you can only stomach crackers and bread, eat crackers and bread! When you feel up to adding more variety, try for nutrient dense, whole foods. Fruits and vegetables, lean meats, healthy fats, and complex carbs will help prepare your body for the hard work of labour and encourage healing postpartum.
2. Create Meaningful Affirmations
Creating affirmations that are meaningful to you will help prepare you mind for labour. You can do this by listing any fears and anxieties you may have, then writing down affirmations that state the opposite of that fear.
For example, if you are afraid that you will not be strong enough to make it through a long labour, write down, “My body and mind are strong.” Now, place that affirmation somewhere you will see it often, and say it out loud every time you do!
3. Exercise Regularly
While exercise might not be the first thing on your list of fun things to do while pregnant, it can be very beneficial to have a regular movement practice. Low-impact exercises such as walking, swimming, and dancing are all typically considered safe for normal pregnancies. Regular exercise can not only help keep your body strong, it can also reduce the normal aches and pains of pregnancy.
4. Prepare Your Perineum
If you are planning a vaginal birth, it can be normal to be worried about how your perineum will be feeling afterwards! While there are many theories on ways to prepare your perineum for labour, from certain supplements to perineal massage, the best way to protect your perineum in labour is to let birth unfold at the pace that it wants to. Rushing the pushing stage, pushing on your back, and coached “purple pushing” can all contribute to excess tearing of the perineal tissue during the pushing stage of labour.
As always during pregnancy, make sure to talk to your care provider before starting any new exercise routines or using any new supplements. It is important to remember that each pregnancy and person is different. Listen to your body, stay hydrated, cultivate a positive mindset, and remember that you are already doing a great job! You've got this Mama!