Empowering Journeys: Positive Birth Stories for First-Time Families

Empowering Journeys: Positive Birth Stories for First-Time Families

positive birth stories

We learn about birth by listening to the stories of others, so it makes sense that positive birth stories play an important role in preparing for birth. Positive birth stories for first-time moms and families can have a profound impact on the choices we make at birth. They lay the foundation of our belief systems around birthing. 

Can you remember the first time you heard a birth story? Was it on television or in a movie? Was it a family member or a friend? Did a parent tell you the story of your own birth? 

Think about the tone of those first exposures to people’s birth experiences. Were the stories positive or negative? 

The stories we see on TV and in movies are not great examples of birthing. People shout and panic, and there are always extreme concerns to propel the dramatic narrative forward. The stories of our own births are often told with deep love and affection, while the stories from friends and families can sometimes leave us feeling anxious. People will often share the scary things that happen during birth as a way of processing their feelings about what happened to them. 

One mother who did have a positive story to share recounted how her positive birthing experience was often met with skepticism and frustration. She eventually stopped telling it. If what we always see and hear about birth isn’t positive, we start to believe that birth is a terrible experience. 

To be fair, birth is a very intense experience for most people. It is full of strong sensations and big emotions, it’s physically demanding and it can be very unpredictable. But, it can also be profoundly transformative, healing, exciting, and rewarding. 

The preponderance of scary stories and lack of positive birth stories creates a cultural expectation that birth is gross, terrifying, and emergent. To speak about a positive birthing experience can seem like selling snake oil. Neuroscience research has shown us the power of our expectations in creating the reality we want. 

Science has shown us the power of our thoughts, beliefs, and manifestation practices as part of developing a new belief system about childbirth. The first step is reading and listening to positive birth stories. One of the best things you can do during pregnancy is to read positive and empowering birth stories and start visualizing what you really want for your birth!

So, let’s share some positive first-birth stories.

positive birth stories

Luciana’s Empowered Medicated Induction

The birth of my son started off being the exact opposite of what I wanted. It ended up being nothing like I’d imagined.

At my routine 39-week appointment, I was measuring small. They sent me to get an ultrasound because my belly was measuring smaller than expected. On the ultrasound, the baby looked smaller than expected, and they were concerned. They recommended an immediate induction and I reluctantly accepted, knowing that our baby’s health was the priority.

That night, we went to the hospital for the first step of the induction. They hooked me up to monitors and watched the baby for a little while. Since I was already dilated a little, they used a Foley catheter and said that it was going to help me get to 3 or 4 cm. It was no fun. The Foley wasn’t exactly painful but the pressure tested me. I had to stay at the hospital for an hour afterward to make sure the baby was tolerating it and then they sent me home with instructions to call at 7 am.

Sometime during the night, while I was sleeping, the Foley came out but no labor. I called the hospital and told me to come in right away to get started with the rest of the induction.

Once we were at the hospital we settled into our room. A doctor checked me and I was 4 cm dilated. They said the baby wasn’t well engaged so they didn’t want to break my waters yet. They started Pitocin and we basically just waited for things to start. It took a few hours to feel some regular cramping, but it got intense pretty quickly.

My nurse, Sarah, was amazing. She was really funny and wise – the perfect person to support my husband and me. She suggested lots of things to do and got me a birth ball to sit on when I couldn’t sit in the bed anymore. My favorite thing to do was sit on the ball and rock my hips back and forth during contractions and then put my head down on the side of the bed between them.

By dinner time I was 6cm and fully effaced and labor was becoming more intense. I had really wanted a natural birth with no medication, but I wasn’t prepared for the reality of how intense an induction could get. I decided to get an epidural. A part of me was disappointed but I just didn’t want to welcome my baby while feeling completely wrung out. Even though things were moving along steadily, I didn’t think I could keep up the pace indefinitely.

After it took effect, I was very happy with my decision. I took a nap for about an hour and when I woke up Sarah had a peanut ball under her arm and told me that she wanted to move me around in the bed so the baby would have more space to be born. She had me switch to my right side and put the peanut ball – it really does look like a giant peanut – between my legs and then pulled my legs so they were sort of behind me.

Since we’d completely missed dinner, my husband ordered some food and I tried to rest. Sarah rushed in at one point because she said the baby’s heart was having a dip. She assured me that he was fine and that it was normal for it to happen while she flipped me to my left side. That seemed to work and the heart rate was normal again. This time, she put the peanut ball on the bed and had me hitch my leg over it like I was cuddling a big pillow.

Not long after I had another check and the doctor said I was 8cm. She asked if she could break my waters. I was fine with it. There was a lot of fluid and it felt like I’d peed the bed so Sarah cleaned things up.

I don’t think even 15 minutes had gone by when I could feel pressure during the contractions. It was like the baby was trying to dive out of my butt! They called the OB back to the room and I was fully dilated. I was stunned and a little emotional. This was suddenly moving so fast.

They said I could start pushing, if I wanted to, or I could wait to see if the pressure intensified. I decided to wait, though I was a bit worried about the pressure getting worse. I needn’t have worried. Three contractions later I told Sarah that I didn’t think I’d last much longer as the pressure wasn’t so much more intense as it was just there all the time.

My legs felt really numb so I didn’t want to try getting on my knees or squatting but I didn’t want to push on my back. Sarah said I could push on my side if I wanted, so I tried that first. My husband held my leg up for me and I tried a few pushes like that. Baby must have been moving really well because they called in the neonatal team.

I know a lot of people would be really freaked out that so many people were in the room, so many machines and wires and tubes were hooked up, but I honestly felt so happy and excited. The OB looked me in the eye and said, “You’re going to give birth to your baby in a couple of pushes and you are doing beautifully.” It made me feel confident.

One more push and I could feel that “ring of fire” everyone was talking about. I could feel myself get anxious and want to pull away but I just sort of breathed out really slow and imagined my perineum melting away. The doctor told me to give little pushes and then he was there on my stomach. A whole other person!

The neonatal team said it was ok that we delayed cord clamping for a couple of minutes, and I just stared at my little boy in awe. He was crying nice and loud but the team did want to do a quick exam because he was a little on the small side. In the end, he was exactly 6 lbs, and they were happy to declare him OK to come back to my arms.

Induction was the last thing I wanted when I dreamed and planned my birth, but I’m really happy with how things turned out. My baby was healthy, and the whole team had been respectful and focused on our health. And even though Sarah wasn’t there for the birth, she did come to my postpartum room the next morning to meet our sweet little boy.

positive birth stories

Meaghan’s A Positive First Home Birth

I noticed my first surges just after we had finished eating supper. Within a couple of hours, the surges were definitely progressing and I messaged my midwife. She suggested calling back when my surges were strong enough that I couldn’t talk through them.

My husband grabbed the home birth supply box I’d been adding items to for months and soon I needed him to help me. He guided my breathing and his calm presence grounded me. Each surge demanded my full attention, but with him, I felt confident, strong, and calm.

We slowly danced for a while as the surges got stronger and closer together. At a certain point, I sensed a shift in momentum. I called my midwife, worried I might be calling a little early but as soon as she arrived, my labor got even more intense.

I moved around the house as the rest of the world was sleeping. I enjoyed the stillness of the middle of the night. Everything felt really instinctual. A surge would begin and I’d begin moving and breathing, rocking side to side, and moaning with a low, strong voice.

I felt so attuned to what was happening in my body and pretty soon I could feel the baby moving downward. When I told the midwife that, she leaped into action. She called in the second midwife and checked the pressure on the oxygen tank she’d brought.

My husband brought me some water and then we slowly danced again. I felt so loved in that moment.

I really don’t know whether it was a few minutes or an hour – I’d lost sense of time altogether – but the second midwife was beside me asking how I was doing and I realized that I could feel pressure like I had to go to the restroom. I did try to go, but I could only pee.

Afterward, I moved onto the bed on my knees and leaned over my birth ball. Within a few contractions, the pressure transforms into pushes.

The midwife gently checked me from behind and encouraged me. I pushed leaning over the ball, hissing my breath out slowly, and pushing like I was helping myself have a bowel movement. The midwife said I was really close. I wasn’t sure if I believed her but after one enormous surge, I could feel the baby crown.

With the next surge, our baby’s head emerged. There was no pain, only an overwhelming sense of awe. Someone had moved the birth ball and I heard the midwife say, “Reach down and get your baby.” So I reached down and felt the head and then the shoulders. I got my fingers under the baby’s armpits and pulled her up to me as the rest of her body slipped out. They helped me to get off of my knees and lay back with her on my body.

Baby Abigail was 9 lbs and 4 oz when the midwife finally weighed her. I was so happy. I started laughing and crying all at the same time. And I felt powerful! No tearing, no pain – just the incredible rush of bringing this precious life into the world in our own home.

What Positive Birth Stories Have In Common

These are just two of tens of thousands of positive first birth stories, but they often have a lot of things in common: 

  • The birthing person felt supported.
  • There was a healthcare team that respected their wishes.
  • They had at least one person who supported them physically and emotionally.
  • They had considered their preferences before birth began.

How Can You Have a Positive Birth?

Positive births are rarely random. There are things you can do to make a positive birth story your future. 

  • Find a healthcare provider you trust.
  • Learn about your options.
  • Prepare your body for birthing. 
  • Learn how to relax your mind and body. 
  • Release your stress.
  • Hire a knowledgeable doula. 
  • Cultivate a problem-solving attitude. 
  • Choose a birthing place that matches the birth you’d prefer. 
  • Have a plan for how you can cope in labor. 
  • Expect that you will need to be flexible. 
  • Communicate clearly with your caregivers. 

Positive birth stories hold immense power in shaping our perceptions and experiences of childbirth. Whether shared by family, friends, or through personal encounters, these narratives have the potential to inspire and empower. They offer reassurance in the face of uncertainty. As we’ve seen through the two diverse stories shared here – from an induced hospital birth to a serene home delivery – common threads of support, respect, and preparation weave through each experience. 

The key ingredients for a positive birth are clear: trust in healthcare providers, informed decision-making, physical and emotional support, and a flexible mindset. By embracing these principles and preparing diligently, expectant families can navigate the journey of childbirth with confidence, paving the way for their own empowering, positive birth stories to unfold. 

Remember: your birth story is yours to craft, filled with the strength, resilience, and love that define your unique journey into motherhood. Here’s to embracing the journey, one positive birth story at a time.

Frequently Asked Questions
1. How can I prepare myself for a positive first birth experience?

It is critical to find a team and place of birth that is in alignment with what you want. You do not want to spend your entire pregnancy planning for an unmedicated birth to discover your doctor likes to induce all of their patients before 40 weeks. Said another way, if you want sushi, do not go to the Italian restaurant and ask the Italian chef to try to make sushi. You should make sure that you prepare your mind. This means, mentally preparing by listening to positive birth stories, educating yourself on birth preferences, and learning how to release your stress and relax your body. 

And finally, we want to make sure that we are preparing our bodies for birth. Here at Body Ready Method, we are experts at helping you be Body Ready for birth. Our pregnancy program is designed to create balance and resilience in the body in order to create a more comfortable pregnancy and a more efficient birth! When you combine getting a rockstar team, preparing your mind, and preparing your body, you are really stacking the cards in your favor by taking control of the controllables of birth. From there, we invite you to let go and allow the process to unfold as it’s meant to.

2. How important is a birth plan in achieving a positive birth experience?

A birth plan is a very important tool. It first acts as a way for you to examine the possible options and choices available to you and decide which ones do or don’t appeal to you and which you’d prefer to avoid or try. Even more importantly, though, it can act as a pathway of ways you would like to move through labor and birth. It should include the things you’d like others to know about you that are important to helping you have a great birth.

Maybe you want to make sure no one touches your feet! Next, outline the different techniques, tools and movements you have been practicing and learning about that you are planning to use while coping in labor. That way you can turn your thinking brain off during birth and refer to a mindful plan for how you would like to birth whenever you feel at a loss for what to do next.

3. How can partners contribute to a positive birth experience?

Partners can be powerful allies in childbirth. They need to know what you know and will benefit from taking a labor-coping class with you such as Body Ready Birth. There they will learn to understand how to support your positive birthing experience with practical tools. Together, you can practice what it feels like to do different positions and movements so that in labor it won’t be the first time your partner does them.

Your partner is also the perfect person to advocate for you. Make sure you share with your partner what you want and do not want in your birth. This will help them feel more confident in speaking up when a provider suggests options you are uncomfortable with.

4. How do I deal with unexpected challenges during labor for a positive outcome?

The first step, before you even go into labor, is to learn about the common variations of birth. Sometimes, just understanding that things like a fetal heart rate deceleration can be common moments before the birth of a baby is enough to help you understand what’s happening and not feel especially scared.

The next step is to have a backup plan, and then make a backup plan for your backup plan. If you would like to avoid induction, think through all of the things you may want to do to avoid being induced. But, sometimes the health of ourselves or our babies may mean an induction is the safest path forward. What then? You can make a plan for how you can prepare your body so that your body works together with the induction techniques to make birth smooth and efficient.

Finally, when unexpected challenges arise in labor, ask questions. Be bold and speak up and ask questions like “I don’t understand what this means, can you explain?” or “Is the baby or myself in danger?” or “Can we stop and talk for a few minutes because I’m feeling very overwhelmed and I want to understand this better.” In short, understand your options, get prepared, make plans and backup plans for multiple scenarios, and ask for more information and time to process what is happening.

5. How can I communicate effectively with my healthcare provider for a positive experience?

Effective communication and self-advocacy start with understanding your dreams and desires for birth, what is possible at your chosen birth location and with your chosen provider, and how your and your baby’s health may influence the options you have available to you. Get comfortable with asking uncomfortable questions and do not be afraid to ask your healthcare provider to repeat themselves.

Negotiate your options if you do not feel comfortable with the recommended care plan. Doctors and midwives will tell you what they believe the best choices are for the birth circumstances you find yourself in but trying alternative options or delaying certain procedures is almost always possible. And, finally, the best communications happen when you see your healthcare provider as a member of your team and approach your birth care collaboratively.

Are you ready to rock your pregnancy with a free workout on us?

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We would be honoured to support you on your marvelous journey.

© 2022 Body Ready Method. All rights reserved.

How To Make Birth Easier With Effective Preparation

How To Make Birth Easier With Effective Preparation

So you like giving birth naturally…. Now what?

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The pursuit of an easier birth is on most parent’s minds as they face the reality that the baby they are lovingly growing will need to eventually come out. BRM®️ views birth preparation as a multi-faceted approach that stacks the cards in our favor for a smoother, more satisfying birth experience. This article will provide an overview of those approaches.

What Does An Easier Birth Mean?

What an easier birth means to one person may not be the same for another. Most people would say they want to avoid a c-section, an episiotomy, an overly long birth and being overwhelmed. They might ask themselves how can I give birth faster, with less pain, and fewer interventions? As instructive as it is to look at what we want to avoid, let’s shift our focus to the positive.

Let’s agree that, for our purposes, an easier birth is one in which the birthing person feels calm and aligned with their desires. It would be a birth that is in that Goldilocks zone of not too quick and not too long. An easier birth is one in which the baby is able to get head down, rotate into an ideal position and descend easily through the maternal body. It is a birth that accesses the incredible power of the birthing body and mind.

So, how do we get there? The good news is that there are ways to prepare in pregnancy that will significantly improve the chances of an easier birth. The solution to how to make birth easier isn’t just one magic thing.

Why Specificity Matters

Think about the different types of physical training we do. When we prepare for running a marathon we have a very different training protocol than if we were training for a weightlifting competition. Yet, when we get pregnant we are mostly told “just listen to your body,” “do what you’ve already been doing” or “do your kegels (or squats).” What does “just listen to your body” even mean and how can we really help prepare for one of the most incredible physiological feats ever: childbirth?

We start making birth easier by using what the exercise science world calls the law of specificity: training specifically for the changing pregnant body, the event of childbirth, and to optimize postnatal recovery. And yes, there really are specific ways we can prepare in pregnancy that make an easier birth far more likely.

There are many factors at play outside of our control that can impact how easy or difficult our births may be. But, time and time again we see the physical and mental preparation work when done consistently over time. The most important factor when looking for exercises to make birth easier is to choose a program that is designed for pregnant people. This will ensure that all exercises take into account the changes happening within the pregnant body and the distinct needs of that body in birth.

The Limits Of The Usual

The importance of this specificity in exercises to make birth easier can be seen when we look at common birth preparation advice such as doing Kegels. They were taught as an exercise to strengthen the pelvic floor. The problem is, kegels don’t address strength holistically. They just make the pelvic floor more tight and a tighter pelvic floor isn’t necessarily a stronger one and it certainly isn’t a functional one.

The healthiest state of the pelvic floor is to be flexible and responsive to the needs of the body. When the pelvic floor is in this condition, if we jump, laugh or sneeze the pelvic floor knows how to respond appropriately – rather than leak! When we are giving birth a flexible and responsive pelvic floor has the ability to yield and stretch for the baby to pass through it.

Because of the inadequacy of recommending Kegels to everyone, regardless of the state of their individual pelvic floors, many advise squats instead. The thought is that while Kegels contract the pelvic floor, squatting can lengthen it. Once again, this guidance lacks specificity. It views the pelvic floor as an independent entity when it is really part of an integrated system that interacts with many different parts of the body.

To answer the question “what makes giving birth easier”, look beyond the overly simplified blanket recommendations like “do Kegels” or “do squats” and look at the whole body. When we work towards balance in the whole body, we give it the ability to have an easier, shorter and safer birth.

After all, the pelvic floor is the bottom of the core system. Think of it as the gear of a machine. Is one shiny gear going to make the whole machine work better? Not if the parts aren’t communicating with each other. This interconnectedness means seemingly unconnected areas of the body can and will influence each other. An effective exercise program will address the whole body and help all the parts of the body work well together in the group project that is growing and birthing a baby

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Movement Patterns & Alignment

As we start to look at the integrated body as a whole, we also want to take into account how we move and use our bodies daily. This can reveal valuable insights into which areas of the body need special attention and what form that attention may need to take.

Let’s explain movement patterns through the idea of a group project. Maybe you’ve been part of a group project where some of your team members were underworking and other team members were overworking. The work is imbalanced! In our bodies, if there is imbalance, we often go to a bodyworker, such as a massage therapist, and get that tight, overworked tissue massaged and released.

This can be very relaxing. But what happens when that relaxed tissue has to go back to that group project? If we have not addressed the slackers on the team, the overworker is just going to tense back up. They want an A on the project, afterall. Part of the work we do here at BRM ® ️ is to help your body’s group project to be balanced and that is the foundation of what makes giving birth easier.

Think about what you do throughout your day and how you have used your body throughout your life. Were or are you an athlete? Do you stand with a baby on your hip for many hours a day? Do you sit at a desk for work all day? Our body adapts to how we have used it throughout our lives, not to the hour we are working out at the gym.

Work smarter, not harder, by learning how to move better throughout your day-to-day life. Otherwise, we can spend a lot of time undoing the good work we’ve maybe put in during our movement time. That is why at BRM®️, we do not just give you exercise classes, but teach you about your body systems in a fun and accessible way. So that if you, for example, must sit at a desk for work all day, you can learn how to address that.

Those who sit at a desk for work every day may need to work on creating length in the muscles at the front of the hips. These can become shortened from the many hours, day after day, of sitting with our knees flexed at 90 degrees or more.

A simple tip for you: Find Neutral Pelvis! Place a rolled towel, a segment of pool noodle or a small bolster on your work chair and sit on it. Keep the bolster just underneath the bony part of your bottom and it will lift your hips slightly higher, allowing the muscles at the front of the hips to relax into a more lengthened position. Your sticky out hip bones (ASIS: Anterior Superior Iliac Spine) should be stacked on top of your pubic bone. Pelvic alignment should never be forced, and bolstering the hips up allows it to feel easeful and natural. Additionally. Make sure to regularly take a break from sitting to walk around your workspace. The best position is your next one. Meaning, mix it up! We are not meant to sit in the same position for hours on end. Remember, our body adapts to what we ask it to do/not do, so let’s give it more options!

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Upper Body

The upper body is an often missed, yet incredibly important aspect to preparing for an easier birth. The upper body includes the rib cage and the respiratory diaphragm, which is our breathing muscle and the top of the core system. With every breath, it interacts with the bottom of the core system, the pelvic floor – which will need to yield to allow the baby through in birth.

During pregnancy, as the baby is taking up more and more space in the abdominal cavity, the rib cage has to expand to accommodate this. But what happens when either the rib cage can’t expand well, or expands too much? This is when we see an upper body restriction.

The ISA (infrasternal angle) can become too wide or it can remain too narrow. People with one or the other usually also have specific compensations throughout the body. Remember the group project: if something is underworking, something else is overworking to pick up the slack. Compensations for either of these situations can impact how much space is available within the pelvis. Ideally we want a dynamic infrasternal angle; one that can expand dimensionally when we inhale, and come together when we exhale.

One important tip to promote upper body balance for easier birth is to remove the tight bra strap. During pregnancy we want to be able to breathe into the rib cage and tight bras limit that movement and therefore limit the mobility of the ribs and pelvis. If you can get your ribs moving, you will be getting your pelvic bones moving too, because they mirror one another when we breathe.

Core

Many people think of “abdominal muscles” when they hear the word “core” but the core system actually includes the respiratory diaphragm at the top, the pelvic floor at the bottom, and the abdominal muscles at the front. All of these parts are like gears in a machine, all working together to control and manage pressure in the abdominal cavity.

We can think of the abdominal cavity like a balloon filled with air. If you squeeze one end of the balloon, the air is pushed into a different part of the balloon and that part will be more stretched and weaker. Likewise, if one part of the core system is too tight, or not working well with the others, it is going to push that pressure too much in one spot. Taking the upper body example above, if the upper body is tense, it would be like squeezing the top of a filled up balloon, what is going to happen to the rest of the balloon? More pressure is going to be placed on it.

If the abdominals are not supporting well from the front we may see abdominal doming, where the muscles bulge outward. If the system isn’t working well together or the pelvic floor is too tight we tend to see urinary incontinence. Symptoms are a sign that the system needs attention from us to restore balance.

A balanced core system will allow babies to find their most optimal position for childbirth. They navigate the space they are given and a balanced core system allows for a balanced uterus. That gives the baby the greatest chance to find their best position.

If there is a clear goal for the core when preparing for birth, it would be to optimize core balance via a stacked and responsive core system. This would allow space for the baby to turn out of a breech position and into a head down position for birthing. Working in this balanced way is considered “prehab” and will also help optimize core function to support postpartum core rehab and lessen too much abdominal separation (diastasis recti).

Pelvis

The pelvis is a dynamic, shape shifting entity that adapts to how we use it throughout our lives. No two pelvises are exactly the same. Many people are told their pelvis is either “too small” or that the baby is “too large” to birth. In reality, true CPD (cephalopelvic disproportion), the name for the condition where a baby’s head is much larger than the internal space of the pelvis, is very rare and tends to go along with either the mother’s childhood nutritional deficiencies or a birth defect.

The pelvis has 2 joints in the back, the sacroiliac joints that join the sacrum to the bones of the pelvis, a joint in the front called the pubic symphysis, and a joint at the bottom of the sacrum that attaches the tailbone. These joints allow for movement when we move the spine and the leg that are attached to the pelvis.

female-pelvis

And while the pelvis is intended to be dynamic and have movement via the legs, spine, and even the arms, we do not tend to use our pelvis in very dynamic ways in this modern day and age. We spend a lot of time sitting, crossing our legs, wearing high heel shoes, tensing our core muscles and living in high stress environments. Our body, mind and spirit adapts and very often as a result, the pelvis can get immobile and imbalanced. Our bodies are designed to make giving birth easier and we can make that more likely to happen when we discover the way to make that ease available to us and then practice it throughout pregnancy.

Pelvic Floor

After getting into the top of the pelvis, the baby will begin moving downwards. Partway through its journey, the top of the baby’s head will meet the pelvic floor. Ideally, the pelvic floor will encourage the baby to tuck their head into their chest and present the smallest diameter while birthing as they spiral deeper into the pelvis.

If the pelvic floor has low tone, the baby’s head may not tuck. If the pelvic floor is unbalanced, the tuck may happen, but the baby’s head may also tilt to one side. In both of these cases, the untucked or tilted head presents a larger shape that will move through the maternal body much more slowly. If the pelvic floor is very tight, the baby may take a long time and need a lot of force to move through and be born.

People looking for ways to make giving birth easier should find exercises that will release tension in the pelvic floor, lengthen the muscles and build strength. The goal is for the muscles to be balanced and strong enough to help the baby flex their chin to their chest, without tipping to one side, while being yielding enough to allow the baby through with low effort.

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Mental & Emotional Preparation

In the pursuit of an easier birth, mental and emotional preparation cannot be overstated. It is the thing that unlocks the power of physical preparation.

There is a dynamic interaction between the mind and body during labor. This is the nervous system with its twin, but opposite, aspects at play. The nervous system is the main communication system of the body. It takes in information and then directs the body as to how it should respond. Like a coin, there are two sides to the nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system gets activated when we perceive danger and the parasympathetic nervous system helps our body relax.

Our nervous system is designed to help us respond to danger and then relax, or “rest and digest”, after the threat has passed. The problem lies in the fact that a lot of us are running from “internal tigers” for days, weeks, even years at a time. This chronic stress can have major implications on our health and it can also have major implications on our birthing process.

Help your body remember how to give birth

Learn birth positions and techniques to help baby progress and what to do if labor stalls  

Help your body remember how to give birth child
Innerwork

It’s crucial to acknowledge and process our inner fears and biases surrounding childbirth. This is part of the innerwork needed to become more emotionally and mentally resilient. Some may be deeply afraid of birth after hearing stories and watching high risk or fictionalized depictions. We may have assumptions about birth and what we are capable of achieving. By cultivating self-awareness and actively engaging with our emotions and biases, we can transform our worry into strength. 

Incorporating practices like deep breathing and mindfulness, along with the innerwork of processing and releasing fear helps condition your nervous system to learn how to respond to stress better. Actively engaging in these techniques reduces stress and fosters an environment that eases contractions, making the overall birthing process more comfortable. 

What if we didn’t do this innerwork before birth? Like most stressful and challenging situations, our fears and anxieties would rear up and affect how we function. As we’ve explained, our nervous system is designed to keep us safe. If we don’t feel safe, one way our body responds is to change how the muscles of the uterus behave. 

uterine fibers

Our uterus has vertical and horizontal muscle fibers that are designed to draw up, dilate and efface the cervix. This leads to labor progress. When we feel safe, contractions can do this work powerfully which builds a muscular wall at the top of the uterus (the fundus) that will help to push the baby out into the world.

If we don’t feel safe in labor and our mental tigers are chasing us, those muscle fibers behave differently. The horizontal fibers of the uterus get activated when our nervous system is up-regulated because they are designed to react to our perception of danger, clamp down, and halt the birth process. It’s a primal reaction that allows us to get somewhere safe, away from the predator that is chasing us. When the danger has passed, we can relax, down-regulate, and progress.

This goes haywire in modern maternity care. While you probably aren’t running from a predator during your birthing process, those imaginary internal tigers that we are often running from for days, weeks, and even years at a time feel as real a threat to our nervous system as an actual tiger. Those internal tigers are often chronic stress, trauma, our perceptions about childbirth, and the often flawed medical system. If we are looking for ways to make giving birth easier, manage stress, confront fears, and practice down-regulating the nervous system.

Communication

Changing the way we communicate with ourselves is a powerful tool in this journey. It fosters a positive mindset and builds the mental resilience necessary for labor. Studies looking at positive self-talk in endurance athletes show a consistently strong positive effect in boosting their performance.

When athletes prepare for a competition they don’t start off by visualizing themselves failing. They don’t spend their preparation time thinking about how the conditions of the field are going to be terrible. They visualize themselves successfully carrying all of the moves required to score or win. They tell themselves out loud and within their own minds that they are unbeatable, that they will win.

Our society loves to tell us how painful, scary, and awful birthing is. And we have come to expect that. There is often a lot of unlearning and deprogramming to be done when preparing for a more joyful journey.

Birth is a feat of endurance that is physically demanding. Can you imagine finding the challenges of birth satisfying, even rewarding, in the same way we find a day-long hike or hours of sparring at the gym satisfying? When we change up the stories we tell ourselves about birth, we can build a strong positive expectation that birth is not something impossible to manage. We can teach our minds to expect an easier birth. And, if you are scoffing at the term “easier birth” then you, like a lot of people, may have some deprogramming to do.

Education

Education serves as a cornerstone for dismantling myths and fostering a deeper understanding of physiological birth. It removes the unknowns and builds confidence. That confidence allows for the fruits of all of the prenatal preparation to be available in labor.

It opens up a spectrum of options, enabling people to tailor their birthing plans according to their preferences and values. Armed with information about pain management options and potential interventions, families can make choices that align with their individual needs. Additionally, learning and practicing coping techniques, such as breathing exercises, visualization, and movement, during childbirth education classes allows the expecting to embody these skills, enhancing their ability to manage pain and stress when labor unfolds.

We believe that it’s not about memorizing birth positions, it’s about knowing them in your body. That way, during the process you will be able to intuitively find what positions feel right for you. But how can you be intuitive with a position you’ve never tried before?

In the Body Ready Birth program, we teach you how to open each level of the pelvis and give you a chance to practice. That way, the movements are known in your body, not just your brain. Think about the first time you rode a bike. There was a lot to think about! It didn’t feel easy. Now think about bike riding after years. You just do it. You don’t even have to think about it. It’s not just creating space and balance, but creating intuitive pathways for movement. And that is important for helping us achieve the labor flow state.

Flow

Hungarian researcher Mihaly Csikszentmihaly has focused his research on the psychology of flow. It’s that state we find ourselves in when we have the skills and desire to meet a challenge and where the meeting of that challenge feels both effortless and satisfyingly ambitious.

Csikszentmihaly found that when people were prepared for difficult tasks they were more likely to be able to meet their challenges while remaining positively engaged in the task at hand. The harder the task was going to be, the more thoroughly it’s recommended people prepare. The better prepared a person is, the more instinctually they respond to their challenge.

If we, again, look at athletics, we can often see an athlete in this flow state. We can also see how people both try to protect it – like a masters golf tournament where everyone hushes as the golfer tees up – or they try to interrupt it – just like a baseball game where the fans shout at the opposing team’s batter.

Flow is best achieved with few interruptions, but it’s really only truly achievable when our desire to achieve a goal, matches the level of preparation to do the work and when that goal requires us to work at or near the limits of our abilities – because, quite frankly, if the task were easy, we might not believe it important enough to invest effort into. And if we don’t want to do the work, we will never even try.

The labor flow state in birth, sometimes affectionately referred to as “Laborland”, describes when birthing people are able to instinctually cope with contractions while remaining calm. It is a flow state where physical and mental preparation meet and make the work of birthing seem a compelling and welcome task. Ultimately, when a person is able to remain in flow, they will be better able to have an easier, shorter and safer birth.

To achieve and maintain this state in labor we must release our fears about birth – about pain and loss of control, about medical procedures and interacting with the healthcare system, about complications and what ifs – and we have to let it all go well before labor ever begins. We need to manage our emotions and tension in labor, releasing everything to remain calm and relaxed.

If we commit to the work and stay in the labor flow state, the rewards are pretty amazing. Birth will be calmer and more relaxed. It will move more easily and quickly from one phase to the next. It will be low stress which will allow all of the right hormones to surge and do their job while minimizing the hormones that slow labor down. We will be in a meditative state responding to what’s happening in our body with instinctual movements that move labor along and ease the baby into the world.

Armed with knowledge, a mindset attuned to positivity, and a balanced body, expectant families will navigate the challenges of birth with greater confidence. They will create a birth environment conducive to a more connected and ultimately easier birthing experience.

Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are the most effective exercises to prepare for an easier birth?

The answer to this depends on you and your unique body. Connect with a professional, like a BRM®️ Pro, who can assess your body’s specific needs and provide a targeted movement plan to create balance, mobility, flexibility and strength for birth. We also offer an online prenatal exercise program that is designed to help you learn about your own body’s patterns and address through online exercise classes.

2. Can prenatal yoga really make birth easier?

A good quality prenatal yoga class, taught by a pregnancy and birth aware teacher, can be a great way to prepare for an easier birth. It can provide a combination of mental and physical benefits. Yoga classes typically inspire positive expectation, improve our resilience and encourage relaxation while moving through stretches and poses that will feel good in the pregnant body. Remember, however, that stretching is not an effective approach to easier birth and being more flexible is not the best approach to easier birth. It’s about creating balance and responsiveness in the tissues and nervous system.

3. What role does a doula, birth coach or BRM®️ Pro play in making birth easier?

A BRM®️ Pro can assess and guide you through a movement plan that will create balance and yield within the maternal body that will make birthing smoother and easier. A doula, or birth coach will guide you through the birth itself, helping you to find your flow and cope through birth. A doula or birth coach who is also a BRM®️ Pro can provide you with specific muscle softening and space creating positions and movements during labor and birth that will significantly reduce the need for interventions and speed up labor. Find a BRM®️ Pro here!

4. Are there ways to reduce anxiety and fear about giving birth?

There are many ways to reduce anxiety and fear around birthing. That is the process of doing the innerwork. Learn more about labor and birth from experts by taking a class, reading a book or an article. Learn different ways to relax through meditation and breathwork. For those with intense fears and anxiety, connecting with a therapist can be transformative.

5. How does a supportive birthing environment contribute to easier labor?

The environment in which we birth, the specific space and the people who will be in that space, can profoundly impact how easy birth can be. You can not enter into the labor flow state, a state of being where you have intuitive awareness and access to a deep well of hormonal support if you do not feel safe. When we find providers whose values align with our own, when we birth in spaces that are inviting and calm, we will be able to trust in the process, knowing our nurses, midwives and doctors will be cheering us on and actively supporting easier labor.

Are you ready to rock your pregnancy with a free workout on us?

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We would be honoured to support you on your marvelous journey.

© 2022 Body Ready Method. All rights reserved.

First Trimester Dos and Don’ts for a Stress-Free Journey

First Trimester Dos and Don'ts for a Stress-Free Journey

First Trimester Dos and Don'ts

As a time of profound development and rapid changes, the first three months lay the foundation for a healthy pregnancy. It’s during this period that being proactive about your well-being will have a profound effect on your and your baby’s health and comfort. Let’s examine some pregnancy dos and don’ts in the first trimester so you can set yourself up for a more empowered, low-stress pregnancy.

Dos and Don'ts in the First Trimester of Pregnancy

Let’s explore the recommended first trimester dos and don’ts that can significantly contribute to a stress-free and healthy pregnancy experience. From nutritional guidelines to lifestyle adjustments, our aim is to empower pregnant families with the knowledge needed to navigate the first trimester with confidence. 

If you’ve searched for an article to tell you that smoking is not a great choice while pregnant and to microwave your deli meat, this won’t be it. Traditional first trimester dos and don’ts lists are often huge sources of stress and reducing stress is always one of our goals.

Assemble your dream team!

The most important thing you can do to have a healthier pregnancy is to see a doctor or midwife throughout your pregnancy. People who receive regular prenatal medical care have fewer complications and healthier babies. Whether you opt for a Family Physician, an Obstetrician or a Midwife, your prenatal healthcare provider will look for any emerging health complications and be able to treat them in a timely way. 

Not every birth care provider is the same as the next, however. For this reason it’s important to find providers whose values about pregnancy and birth align with your own. If you are hoping for a birth with no interventions and you are birthing in the hospital with an Obstetrician, does that doctor often support low intervention and unmedicated births? Or, do they practice more conservatively and prefer to manage their patient’s births. Alternatively, if you are looking forward to enjoying an epidural for pain management in labor, a home birth only midwife is not going to be able to help you. 

Your ideal pregnancy and birth team doesn’t stop with the medical personnel. Your birthing location is also a very important consideration. The hospital with a high c-section rate may not be the right facility for you if you’re hoping to avoid a surgical birth. A little research in these early weeks of pregnancy can help you have a more fulfilling experience as you move through pregnancy.

  • There are also many other allied health professionals you may wish to consider. 
  • Birth doulas are associated with having fewer interventions at birth. 
  • A prenatal class can give you practical options for coping in labor. 
  • Movement professionals such as BRM®️ Pros with a specialty in pregnancy can provide safe exercise options. 
  • Pelvic floor physiotherapists can help prevent and address pelvic floor injury
  • Prenatal massage therapy can provide great comfort in a changing pregnant body. 

These are just a few examples. Any one or even many of these people, as a part of your pregnancy support team, will help you have a happier, healthier, more connected and satisfying pregnancy and birth.

Release your stress!

Early pregnancy is such a great time to take stock of life and look for places to find and build greater balance and satisfaction. Some stress in our lives is both inevitable and natural. When we feel in balance, our nervous system manages a constant flow of calm and stress inside of us. When the stress piles up, the system can struggle to maintain balance. 

When our nervous system becomes unbalanced with too much stress, our bodies respond. We start to feel things like shortness of breath, racing heart, our brains may go blank and we may need to run for the restroom. We begin to unconsciously hold excess tension in our muscles, our behaviors may change, our posture might shift. The flow of hormones that will help us to birth our babies can be impacted making the balancing of our nervous system a gift with many benefits. 

Stress in life is inevitable. How we handle that stress can be a mirror into the health of our nervous system.  To reduce the negative impacts of stress take a two-sided approach: reduce stress where you can at home, with family and friends, at work or school, and improve the ways you respond to stress. You may need to reduce your workload, set boundaries and expectations, and make adjustments in how you approach problems. These skills may be even more helpful in your life as a parent!

Listen in to our conversation about Stress & trauma during pregnancy with Ja’Neen Jenkins Washington on the Pros Talk Pregnancy Podcast

Balancing your nervous system will help you not only reduce stress by naturally being calming, but will make it easier for you to manage the stress that inevitably comes your way. In birth, the hormones creating the contractions that open the cervix and move the baby can be dampened by high stress. By working towards more emotional balance, you’ll be increasing your body’s ability to work optimally during birth. That could mean fewer interventions.

We recommend 3D Breathing as a great way to reduce stress and balance the nervous system. In 3D Breathing, we focus on filling the lungs in three dimensions. Many of us spend the majority of our days breathing into our upper chest. This type of breathing is associated with anxious feelings. To breathe deeply, we may have been taught to breathe down into our bellies. The drawback of breathing into our bellies is that it places extra pressure on the pelvic floor. 

The benefit of 3D Breathing is that it helps to calm our nervous system, it reduces excess pressure on the pelvic floor, and it increases the mobility of our ribs. That last one may not seem like a big deal now when your baby is the size of a lima bean –it’s always the size of a food, isn’t it?– but when your baby and uterus grow up into the bottom of the lungs you’ll be thankful for the increased rib mobility!

Here is a short video demonstrating how to breathe in 3 dimensions.

The emerging science of epigenetics – how non-genetic factors can affect inherited traits –  shows that you can positively influence your baby’s brain by limiting your stress and working on balancing your nervous system. So, go ahead and breathe fully into your lungs, feel yourself become calmer as your hormones naturally balance and your body. You’ll be nourishing yourself and your baby and their developing nervous system.

Listen to your body!

You’ve probably heard that phrase many times. Not everyone feels confident that they can hear what their body is saying. The good news is that it’s a skill you can learn and get better at with practice. 

When we talk about listening to your body, we are describing a process of becoming mindful about what sensations you are experiencing within your body. Those sensations happen for a reason and cluing in to them can lead you to identifying why they are happening. 

Let’s start with a simple exercise: 

Think about where you are right now. Are you at rest? Standing? In a chair? Laying in bed? Sitting beside a stranger on the commuter train? 

Feel where your body touches the world. Maybe your bottom is on the sofa. Or are your feet on the floor? Is your shoulder leaning against something? 

What does that point of connection feel like? Soft? Hard? Painful? Ticklish? 

Now let’s listen a little deeper. As you take a breath in, can you feel the lungs as they inflate? Can you feel the subtle movement of your diaphragm as it responds to your lungs inflating? Can you feel the pelvic floor stretch ever so slightly? Sit a little longer breathing and visualize the lungs, the diaphragm, the pelvic floor all moving slowly, expanding and flexing gently as you breathe in and out. 

Developing this internal awareness can be a powerful tool. When you notice your guts feel a little queasy after a visit from your boss, you can start to recognize that perhaps you are feeling stress. Noticing that stress can alert you to take a few breaths and balance your nervous system. It can alert you to the need to address issues that are triggering stressful feelings. 

You’ll also get better at feeling when certain movements don’t feel right for you. This can be very helpful when you do any exercise. Small signs may show you that the workouts you were used to before pregnancy may now place strain on the body. 

Nourish yourself!

On any list of first trimester dos and don’ts is the advice to take a good prenatal vitamin. It will guarantee you get certain nutrients that may be less common in your diet. To make sure you get a wide variety of vitamins and minerals, focus on improving the foods you eat every day. While we don’t believe there are bad foods, evidence shows people see health improvements when they focus on eating more fresh foods.

first trimester dos and don’ts in diet

Think about what you eat during an average day and see where you can make small improvements. Protein, iron and calcium are the building blocks of a growing baby; how can you get enough every day?

Another key component of nourishing our bodies is hydration. Let’s face it: most of us are dehydrated. When you’re pregnant, your body needs extra fluids. Make sure you get plenty of water. Some people find water harder to drink than soda and juice. If that’s you, too, you can try adding lots of ice, water flavor drops or indulge in a new, fun water bottle!

What if you’ve been experiencing nausea or vomiting in your first trimester? This common early pregnancy symptom can make being pregnant miserable. Because an empty stomach can trigger nausea, eat small meals frequently – about every 2 to 3 hours. The smell of food can also be a big nausea trigger. Cold food tends to smell less, so you may wish to eat cold meals. If you can, have a partner make your meals to reduce the chance of smelling the food.

Keeping crackers next to your bed is a common recommendation for folks with pregnancy induced nausea. Immediately after waking, munch on a couple of crackers to get something into your stomach. High protein foods can also help reduce nausea and vomiting. You can prepare some bland protein such as chicken breasts that you can store in the fridge and consume cold. And, if you’ve been throwing up, drink more water than you think you need. Hydration can sometimes reduce nausea on its own, but will also replace fluids lost from being sick.

Rest more!

Let’s face it: you probably haven’t been getting enough rest for years!  You’re a busy person and the world is full of excitement and that usually means skimping on sleep. The first trimester is notorious for incredible fatigue and it often surprises pregnant families how intense the fatigue can be. After all: you are literally building a human at a pace of millions of cells a day. That takes a lot of energy. 

Of the many gifts we recommend you give yourself, naps is one of them, as is enough sleep at night. And, now that you’ve been practicing listening to your body, you’ll hear more clearly when it tells you it is tired. When you are tired, stop and rest. Aim to get seven or more hours of sleep each night.  

Move your body!

Birth workers have a saying: “motion is lotion”. It means that in pregnancy and birth, movement as a practice and movement as a coping technique helps the pregnant body and baby birth better. Moving your body in pregnancy can bring an incredible host of benefits: 

  • Promotes better sleep.
  • Supports blood sugar management.
  • Reduces stress.
  • Improves mood.
  • Limits excess weight gain.
  • Contributes to fewer c-sections.
  • Babies show improved health markers

All of these are impressive, but you may be wondering how you get these benefits. There are, after all, a lot of ways to exercise your body. We recommend approaching exercise in a mindful way. Instead of simply hitting the treadmill or lifting weights, focus on a movement plan that is designed for pregnancy. In exercise science, we call this “the law of specificity”.

Your growing baby may be quite tiny in the first trimester, but very quickly the weight of your baby, your uterus, the placenta and all of the extra fluids in your body can start to put a lot of pressure on the pelvic floor. I’m sure you’re familiar with all kinds of jokes about how mothers can’t sneeze or laugh too hard without peeing themselves. Unfortunately, that can happen when we don’t know how to protect our pelvic floor or increase its strength and flexibility. 

A program designed for pregnant bodies like Body Ready Prenatal  takes all of these things into account. Additionally, a good pregnancy movement program will prepare the body for birth. It will seek to create balance, strength, flexibility and mobility across the entire body. This more holistic approach means that long after the first trimester, when your body is ready to birth, it will be in the optimal state to help you in your goal to have a smoother labor with fewer interventions.

If you regularly exercise; keep it up! Assess whether your current exercise practice serves the unique needs of your pregnant body. If you are an athlete, consider connecting with a movement professional who specializes in pregnancy movement such as a Certified BRM®️ Pro to see if your movement plan could use some adjustments.

If you are new to exercise, start slow and build up your intensity over time. Start off with a great all around exercise like walking. You can do this on a treadmill or simply start exploring your neighborhood. Look for a pregnancy focused movement program to guide you as you build strength and endurance, create greater flexibility and mobility, and prepare your body for birth.

Final thoughts on dos and don’ts in the first trimester

We can tell you all kinds of first trimester dos and don’ts but the most helpful of all is to take the time to assess what in your life is serving you and what you can release. This is the perfect time to evaluate your diet, how much rest you’re getting each day, your exercise habits, the stressors in your life, and decide how you might want to improve them in small but meaningful ways. The habits you begin in the first trimester will pay off as your baby grows.

Frequently Asked Questions

We can tell you all kinds of first trimester dos and don’ts but the most helpful of all is to take the time to assess what in your life is serving you and what you can release. This is the perfect time to evaluate your diet, how much rest you’re getting each day, your exercise habits, the stressors in your life, and decide how you might want to improve them in small but meaningful ways. The habits you begin in the first trimester will pay off as your baby grows.

By the time I get home from work I'm so exhausted and it's so late that making food from scratch is hard. Is eating frozen foods really bad for me?

We believe there are no bad foods. And many prepared frozen foods are highly nutritious. We love our air fryer for helping make fast and nutritious meals. You may be surprised to discover that nourishing meals like grain bowls can be made from a handful or two of veggies, chicken tenders and beans that can all be cooked in the air fryer in the same amount of time a freezer meal can be cooked in the oven – prep included! There are a lot of strategies for sneaking great food into every day to increase the quality of the foods you are eating.

I've been doing a functional movement program at my gym for the last six months. Should I stop?

It’s helpful to evaluate your movement practice by asking yourself a few questions. Does my exercise program adjust for being pregnant? Does my movement program address my whole body? Is this program designed not only with the pregnant body in mind, but help me prepare for a smoother birth and a better postpartum recovery? BRM® offers exercise programs that offer different levels of intensity and is designed specifically for the pregnant body. https://bodyreadymethod.com/offerings/prenatal/

How can I protect my baby if I start every night sleeping on my side and wake up on my back?

Your body has many ways to let you know you need to move into a different position. If you do roll flat onto your back, your body will give you signs if you experience supine hypotensive syndrome such as lightheadedness and nausea. This will signal your body to roll to your side. If you are a lifelong back sleeper, you may wish to also use a pillow behind your back to reduce the weight that may press on the main vessel that delivers oxygen and nutrients to your organs.

How much water should I drink everyday during pregnancy?

While each person has unique needs based on their size and activity levels, you should consume approximately 8-12 cups daily while pregnant. That’s 64 to 96 ounces or 2 to 3 liters of water, milk, juice, tea, etc, in combination.

What is the best exercise to do in pregnancy?

The best type of exercise to do in pregnancy is the one you will actually do. Look for exercise programs that are fun and make your body feel good while you do them. Whether that is walking every day, taking a prenatal yoga class or swimming, if you are able to exercise regularly, you will be nourishing your body and your baby.

Read More About Dos and Don'ts In the First Trimester

Best exercises for first trimester

Best Exercises for First Trimester

Safe first trimester exercises

You’re pregnant! Most likely googling what you should do now- what vitamins should you take, what things should you now avoid, and what first trimester exercises you should (and shouldn’t) do. You may be feeling a new level of tired that you have never experienced and anything from slight nausea to “should I even leave the bathroom, this is going on all day why do they call it morning sickness?!”

 

The best things you can do to counteract nausea and fatigue is:
  • Listen to your body and rest
  • First Trimester Exercises! It sounds strange to tell someone to exercise when they are feeling fatigue, but it actually give you more energy and even minimize nausea for many. It also helps to set a good habit for pregnancy.

A lot of people are eager to prepare for birth and ask us if it’s too early to do prenatal exercises routines in the first trimester. The first trimester is the perfect time to begin! It is much easier to prevent pregnancy-related aches and pains than to eliminate them once they have popped up. We find that when people begin prenatal specific work in the first trimester, they may be able to prevent and minimize issues such as hip pain and core and pelvic floor concerns. For example, building stability in the hip musculature may help prevent the hip and back pain that is so common during pregnancy. Once the pain is there, it can be harder to work on it because movements that used to be available- now cause pain.

Below is our list of first prenatal exercises that you should begin in your first trimester

1. Candles Breath, core activation strategy

Benefits:

Candles is the basis for core engagement in the One Strong Mama world. We at BRM®️ strongly believe that no one should ever be walking around with their core engaged all the time. That is known as core tension and not core strength. However, we do teach our clients to use candles whenever they need support: picking up something heavy or another child, twisting and reaching for things, leaning forward to clean up, pulling open a heavy door. Anything that requires support. The default for many folks for these moves is to “let go” –which means to not engage, to bear down, bulge, brace– to default to a non-supportive pattern. To do this exercise, stand or sit and imagine that there is a birthday cake with 100 candles on it in in front of you and you need to slowly blow out the candles – feeling how your core tightens and pulls in as you do that. That is candles. As you blow out the candles, you can and should gently help your core by pulling it in as you blow. Your core should feel very tight and engaged at the end of that exhale.

Candles Breath, core activation strategy

2. Hip Hinge/ Deadlift

Benefits

This is a great prenatal exercise for learning how to move your pelvis! So often, we round our spine, rather than hinge at the hips in activities of daily life. Learning to hinge at the hips will help to create more active mobility of the pelvis and take the strain off the back. Place your fingers on your ASIS (anterior superior iliac spines – two bony knobs in the front of your pelvis) and feel them move as you hinge. It is helpful to do this the first several times in front of a mirror. Notice when the curve of the back starts to flatten, which will indicate that the pelvis has stopped moving and the back has begun to flex. If you are having a hard time with this, place a broomstick on your back and feel how the back shape does not change as you move forward through the motion. To rise, exhale, press into heels. This exercise is foundational and should be understood prior to moving onto the squat, which starts with a hip hinge. Holding weights or a kettlebell in the hands is another great option for the hip hinge.

Hip Hinge_ Deadlift

3. Aligned squats

Benefits:

This exercise for the first trimester is great for creating space in the pelvic floor. As the body squats the hamstrings lengthen and the pelvic floor gets an eccentric (lengthening) load. We encourage clients to door squat daily during pregnancy. Grab onto either the two handles of an open door, a TRX band, or anything sturdy that can support body weight. Hinge at the hips, and booty moves back  like it’s looking for a chair to sit on. Stop before the butt tucks under, indicating the max range of the hamstrings at that moment in time. If there is low back pain, try not excessively pushing the booty out to go down farther without tucking pelvis. To stand, exhale with candles deep core engagement and press into heels. Common cheat is to either overarch the low back or excessively thrust the ribs.

Aligned squats

4. Open twist

Benefits:

People, especially when pregnant, can become very rigid in their chest and rib muscles. When the chest and ribs do not move so well, we get added pressure in the abs and core so this move really helps to load these much neglected muscles. This exercise also doubles up as a core exercise. The common cheat here is to twist the pelvis and not the ribs and chest. Keeping the pelvis totally immobile can cause SIJ gapping and instability so a small amount of pelvic twist is fine. The issue is if they can ONLY twist by initiating from their pelvis. This can be done seated on a stool or a chair as well.

Open twist

5. Walk

Walk

Benefits:

While it sounds simple, walking is one of the best exercises you can do during pregnancy. Get in the habit of going for a daily walk, or walking to places you would normally drive to but technically could walk. And no, you cannot replace your daily walking with running… it’s a completely different movement. If it helps, consider tracking your steps to see how many you can get in a day.

6. Consider your alignment

Consider your alignment

Try relaxing (not forcing or muscling!) the rib cage down. Often we are taught that ribs lifted in “good posture,” but in reality it is compressing the spine and pulling the core out of alignment.

For more information on exercises that are appropriate for the first trimester and throughout the entire pregnancy and postpartum time, check out the Body Ready Method program. Many moms join our Body Ready Method program in the first trimester exercise. They love that it allows for them to just hit play and follow along and not have to think so hard about what moves are best for their pregnancy, their body and their birth. They also love that they get extra education about how to do each exercise so they are getting the most benefit. BRM®️ is truly a ‘one stop shop’ for prenatal (and postnatal!) exercise and takes the guesswork out of the equation. Check out our different targeted programs for each stage of your journey into parenthood.

Are you ready to rock your pregnancy with a free workout on us?

We would be honoured to support you on your marvelous journey.

BRM Free Trial Pregnancy

Prevent tearing during birth

Tips to Prevent Tearing During Childbirth

pregnant woman doing physical exercises

Many people’s biggest fear about childbirth is tearing.  Tearing is indeed painful and ranges in different degrees of severity. We have seen many women birth large babies without a tear and others tear birthing not-so-large babies. There are things you can do to prevent tearing or more accurately – minimize the risk of tearing. Here are our top tips of what to do, these are things you should do both prenatally and some great tips to do during birth to prevent or minimize tearing.

Prenatal Preparation Tips for Preventing Tearing

The list below is of things you should do during your pregnancy that will help reduce the risk of tearing during birth, it is easy to follow and require a relatively small effort to implement.

Hire a doula, take a Childbirth Education class, and learn relaxation techniques.

This one is huge because being calm during birth, finding good positions, possibly choosing to forgo the epidural (no judgement and we support all) is going to lessen chance of tearing or lessen amount of tearing.

Orgasms!

It’s not crazy- more blood flow to those tissues=good thing.

Nutrition.

Learn more about nutrition for better skin elasticity. Look into foods with Omega 3, Vit E, Vit C, and Zinc.

Lengthen and Release tension in the pelvic floor.

Find out how in a video posted to our FREE Facebook group. We should not have to PUSH SO HARD. If the pelvic floor is too tight (hypertonic) and does not yield well, it can make the pushing stage more difficult, which can increase the chance of tearing.

Balance the body.

We know there are certain fetal positions that are easier to get a baby out and certain positions that can be more difficult for some moms. If mom’s body is balanced, baby is more likely to find a more optimal position. The prenatal program has exercises and techniques designed to create balance in mom’s body so that baby can find a more optimal position.  We also recommend our friends over at Spinning Babies for techniques to be done during the 3rd trimester of pregnancy and during birth. Sign up for our prenatal program to get all the information you need for a pain-free pregnancy.

Birthing Tips

This list is of tried and true tips for how you approach your birth in order to reduce the risk of tearing during. I suggest you prepare yourself before the birth, arm yourself with knowledge and communicate your expectations with your provider ahead of time.

Consider going epidural free.

(note: we are not anti epidural) This will give more variety of positions for mom and also help mom to feel what is going on when crowning. If you do decide to go for the epidural, consider laboring down/passive descent where you allow your body to push the baby down most of the way, passively.

pregnant woman with trainer

Optimal fetal positioning. 

During birth, have some Spinning Babies techniques in your back pocket, or hire a doula who knows them, so that if needed they can assist you in gently encouraging baby into position. Ideally, this is not something that the birthing mom should be having to remember and think about during the process. Rather, it is best to let mom relax and go inward while having external support to encourage the best positions as baby makes their journey down and out.  

Optimal fetal positioning

Avoid the episiotomy.

An episiotomy is a cut performed by provider and is more likely to extend into a more significant tear. They were done much more commonly in the past, but new evidence suggests that it is not often needed and can cause long term issues (1). Additionally, it is easier for our bodies to heal from tearing than cut because tears tends to happen around the cells and an episiotomy cuts through them.

Pair of scissors

Safe environment.

This goes back to prenatal preparation. We need to get out of the fear-tension-pain cycle. Tension is not ideal for the mind OR the tissues. Create a safe place, wherever you are birthing. This may include things like dim lights, sounds and smells you enjoy, your own clothing, and people who love and support you.

a woman giving a birth

Mother-directed pushing vs. coached breath holding

(*****see our article on breathing the baby out) Additionally, when baby is crowning, slowing down!! When baby is on the perineum and there are strong sensations happening, sometimes we want to just push quick to get past it. But those strong sensations are our bodies way of telling us to slow down and let the tissues stretch.

pregnant woman giving a birth

Maternal positioning.

When we push on our back it decreases the diameter of the pelvis, which will mean we may need to use more force to get baby out. More force can put a greater strain on the tissues. If a baby needs help getting out, squatting is amazing, as it increases the diameter of the outlet of the pelvis. But if baby is coming fast or upon crowning, switching to hands and knees, kneeling in some way, or side lying is optimal as these positions puts less strain/force on the tissues.

Tips to Prevent Tearing During Childbirth

Tearing is not something one would mention as the “highlight” of giving birth and it’s best when it’s avoided. This article offers a wholistic approach for preventing tearing during childbirth rather than a one “silver bullet” type solution that may address one root cause. Please read thoroughly and see if it makes sense to you. Please feel free to comment or ask question on our email.

If you want to know more about different methods and birth stories, listen to our episode “Ep20: Changing the perspective of physiological birth” with more insightful tools.

(1)Lappen, Justin R., and Dana R. Gossett. “Changes in episiotomy practice: evidence-based medicine in action.”
Expert Review of Obstetrics & Gynecology
5.3 (2010): 301-309.
FitzGerald, Mary P., et al. “Risk factors for anal sphincter tear during vaginal delivery.”
Obstetrics & Gynecology
109.1 (2007): 29-34.
Samuelsson, Ellen, et al. “A prospective observational study on tears during vaginal delivery: occurrences and risk factors.”
Acta obstetricia et gynecologica Scandinavica
81.1 (2002): 44-49.

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How to have an easier birth

Prep for a smooth, efficient birth

Easier and childbirth are not typically words that are put in the same sentence. And of course there are many factors outside of our control. But we might as well take advantage of the factors within our control to make the birthing process easier. 

Easier meaning that the birthing process is optimized for a smoother and more efficient process. Not only is an easier birth is of course easier in the moment, but it also helps the recovery process to be smoother as well. Many people are talking about the importance of mental preparation and this is CRUCIAL to eliminating that fear-tension-pain cycle and making birth less painful. But what if the mind stuff is all figured out but the pelvic floor is still really tight and unyielding, or baby is in a less favorable position? Ideally we want to work on preparing the mind AND preparing the body. This article addresses the preparing the body for birth component. Something crucial yet rarely talked about. Rather than buying into the assumption that we are just victims to whatever is going on with our bodies, we must get into the driver’s seat and take control.

Why will preparing the body for birth make the process easier?

5-tips-when-your-baby-is-breech Lindsay

1. Better Baby Positioning

One of the reasons that body preparation for birth makes the process easier is that it helps baby to find an optimal position. Baby accommodates the space they are given.

 If they have less space, or that space is more roomy on one side, twisted, kinked, they are more likely to find a position that may not be as easy to birth. The simple fact of the matter is, baby’s tend to have an easier time going through the birth canal in a position like LOA, which stands for Left Occiput Anterior (see image), with chin tucked, smallest part of the head coming first. Posterior positions (baby’s spine against your spin. Sometimes called “sunny side up”) do not fit through the pelvis as well and can be accompanied by back labor, where contractions are felt very intensely in the back.

Proper body prep for birth takes baby positioning into account. When we balance and prepare the body we are not forcing baby into optimal positioning, we are just opening up the space for them to find it. Through balance, alignment, breathing and core support we support and give baby room. Babies are smart and they want to find the optimal position, we just need to give them the opportunity and room! Check out our different targeted programs for each stage of your journey into parenthood.

Occiput posterior

2. Body Balance + Alignment

When we find balance in the body- through the soft tissues (muscles) and boney structures (like the pelvis- which baby passes through), we help baby to find an optimal position which, as we mentioned above, can make the birthing process shorter, easier and more efficient. Additionally, when we learn how to carry ourselves throughout the day (alignment, as taught in One Strong Mama program) and use exercise techniques to create body balance, we optimize the function and space in the uterus, pelvic floor, pelvis. Unfortunately, not all exercise classes, even prenatal ones, have a solid understanding of pelvic floor, core, and alignment. So even though they feel good and are mentally extremely helpful, they are not necessarily helping to prepare the body for birth in a more specific and thoughtful way.

Woman squatting

3. Sacral Mobility

The back of the pelvis, called the sacrum, is designed to MOVE via the sacroiliac (SI) joint during the birthing process. This movement is called Nutation and Counter Nutation.

Modern life has made our sacrums much less mobile than they used to be. We sit on our sacrums all day and we don’t use our body’s in a way that allows freedom of movement for the amazing sacrum. Let’s learn how to free the sacrum via freeing up all the muscles attaching to it and sitting and moving through life in a way that doesn’t smash it. The first step is literally just untucking the pelvis through the day. The next step is supporting the movement of the sacrum through your exercise program so that you can free this amazing part of the body up so that it can do its job easier during the process of birth.

Sacrum movements in the pelvis

4. Pelvic Floor Yield

The pelvic floor must yield (open up) to allow baby to pass through. The goal is not a TIGHT pelvic floor. It’s a functional pelvic floor that holds everything (like our organs!) up and in when it is supposed to, but yields to allow a baby to pass through. Short and tight muscles do not yield well and if the pelvic floor is extremely tight, it can make childbirth much more difficult and can contribute to issues such as pelvic pain and sexual dysfunction. There is some thought that too much tension in the pelvic floor can contribute to a prolonged pushing stage. There are many different causes of a too tight pelvic floor and we see this issue come up in athletes and desk workers alike. Often the advice we are given to prepare our pelvic floors for childbirth is the kegel. While we are not anti-kegel, we do not think 100 kegels a day is the best approach for body preparation for children. Too many kegels might actually contribute to the problem. It is imperative that we learn how to prepare our pelvic floor in a way that allows it to strengthen to support our continence and pelvic health for life, but also allows yield for a baby to pass through.

Pelvis (left) superior view, (right) inferior view

To sum up, preparing the body for birth is important. Just as we must prepare our bodies for running a race, we too need to prepare our bodies for birthing a baby. Not only will preparing the body make the process easier, it will also set us up for long term health and vitality! And guess what? Body prep for birth is kinda our thing and we’ve got you covered if this sounds like something you’d like to work on. After years working with pregnant individuals in person, we knew we had to share this birth changing information with the world and developed the comprehensive online prenatal body preparation for birth program- where all of these topics of body preparation are addressed through exercise and education.

Get to the flow state and know more by listening to our podcast episode “Ep13: Labor Flow State: A birth-ready mindset“. 

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5 tips for when your baby is breech

5 tips for when your baby is breech

5 tips for when your baby is breech - Baby

Don’t Panic.

Your baby may not stay in breech (head up) position. It is common that a baby will be breech between 27 weeks and 34 weeks of pregnancy. Most of those little nuggets will find their own way head down.

Some breech baby’s may need a little assist to find their way head down. Find out what techniques are safe, available, and supported in your community.

Often, you have many choices and opportunities to help your sweet baby find their way head down, and plenty of time to do it.

It's Okay.

  • You can do nothing. Many families choose to wait and see if baby turns back to head down on their own. It is okay take this route. However, if baby does not turn head down by 36 weeks your providers will propose an external cephalic version (ECV). This is a relatively safe procedure where an OB/GYN or Midwife will use their hands to try and turn baby head down. It can be very comfortable to down right painful. There is a 50% chance it will be successful. If you are working with a well experienced ECV doc the chance can increase up to 70%. So ask them, what is your success rate?
  • You may also choose to do nothing, and opt for a cesarean section. This is the most common choice of families who find out their baby
    is breech.

Complimentary Therapies

Let us talk about complimentary therapies that have been shown to be helpful in creating room in the body for baby to find their own way head down.

  • Acupuncture has a long history of assisting baby’s to find their best position. Several studies have shown that the combination of needling and moxabustion (the burning of mugwort herb) are effective methods of helping baby find their way into best position.
Acupuncture
  • Hypnosis is another therapy many find helpful in encouraging baby to find their way head down. Studies show that this is particularly helpful right before attempting an ECV.
Hypnosis
  • Soft tissue therapies can be helpful to reduce your stress and help your soft tissues (muscles, tendons,
    ligaments, fascia) become more responsive and functional. These therapies can include, but are not limited to, massage therapy, myofascial release, Rolfing, Feldenkrais, Traeger, and many more. These therapies can potentially create more space in your belly for baby to find their way head down.
Soft tissue therapies
  • Dynamic Body Balancing™ taught by Dr. Carol Phillips is another method of bodywork that has been quite successful in helping babies find their way head down. Carol has a listing of practitioners on her website.
  • Spinning Babies™ has a series of exercises that have been helpful for many families to help get their baby into best position. Starting these exercises early, and doing them often garners the best outcomes according to data collected by Spinning Babies™ practitioners. Here is a link to the Spinning Babies™ website.

Use Your Brainn

Whenever you are presented with a method of helping to turn your baby, run through the BRAINN acronym. It is a good method to be sure you are doing what is correct for you and your family. What does BRAINN mean?

  • B – benefit – What are the benefits?  Everyone is happy to give you lots of benefits.  This is an easy one. 
  • R – risk – What are the risks?  Do not let anyone tell you there are no risks.  There is always risk when you choose to do an intervention.  Some risks are minimal, and some are a bit scarier.
  • A – alternative – What is the alternative?  There is always an alternative if the risk outweighs the benefit for you
  • I – intuition – What does your intuition tell you?  Do what feels right
  • N – next – What happens next?  Typically with any intervention, there is a next step.  Sometimes it is homework, sometimes it is rest, sometimes it is medication.  Know what procedure is for the practitioners you are working with
  • N – nothing – What happens if we do nothing?  Often, you have this choice.

Only do as much as feels right

Your care providers will be full of advice and suggestions for you and your family. It is easy to feel overwhelmed. Between going to work, going to appointments, caring for your family, and doing your breech homework, it may feel ridiculously exhausting. So, only do what feels like is working for you and your baby. You may try a therapy, and decide it isn’t right for you. That is totally okay. Everything is not for everyone. The appointments and homework need to fit into your lifestyle. This should not feel like a chore, but a choice.

  • Delegate. Reach out to your partner, your family, and your community to give you hand around the house. Check out our different targeted programs for each stage of your journey into parenthood – with tips and movements to help prepare you for your birth!
  • Get someone to help schlep your kids to and from their places.
  • Allow a friend to come in and clean your house, do a load of laundry, fix a meal for you, or sit and have a cup of tea with you.
  • The more you can reduce your stress, the more likely it is that you can get the self care you want to help your baby find their best position.
woman

Adrienne C. Caldwell is a bodyworker and educator. She specializes in helping create space in the human body for baby to find their best position for labor and birth.

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How to prepare yourself for a natural birth

How to prepare yourself for a natural birth

So you like giving birth naturally…. Now what?

The Body Ready Method secret sauce for how to achieve the natural birth you desire.

Let me start with a little story. When I was pregnant with my first I decided that I wanted to have a natural birth. I did not really know much about it, except that I wanted to avoid the epidural. My thought was “women have been doing this for thousands and thousands of years, right? I am sure if they could do it, I can too.” And with that, I did very little preparing beyond reading all the natural childbirth books I could get my hands on.

Why I dedicated my life to childbirth

I will have you know that I googled “doulas near me” and did find that there was one an hour away. This was 2007 and doulas were not quite as known as they are now. I thought to myself, meh… I don’t want to spend the money and that is too far away. So on I went with my pregnancy.  Blissfully unaware of what was to come. Without making this entire article about my first birth story we will say that I ended up with what felt like every intervention in the book while still having the baby come through my vagina. After that birth, I vowed to learn everything I could…. And now I have dedicated my life to childbirth! I went on to have 3 natural water births and I serve hundreds of families as a childbirth educator and doula and I have learned a lot in my 12 years in the field. I am here to tell you want REALLY helps when planning a natural birth.

What are the Benefits of natural birth

Natural Birth Tips

Body Ready Method Recipe for Smart Natural birth preparation

So, what is the point of natural births? First of all, there are no medals in birth and this is not about bragging rights. Every birth is valid and every birthing person is amazing. Natural birth does have some amazing benefits to birthing person and baby and here are a few:

  • Decrease chance of cesarean
  • Freedom of movement
  • Avoid the cascade of interventions
  • May make labor and birth shorter and easier
  • Helps baby’s gut flora
  • Easier recovery
benifits of natural childbirth

1. Consider Birth Location:

Natural Birth Preparation

This and choice of provider are the most important decisions that you will make for your birth. Dr Neel Shah, OB/GYN, says that your number 1 predictor of cesarean birth is your place of birth . Do not enter into this decision lightly.

Natural birth in a hospital:

If you are planning a hospital birth, it is important that you research your hospital choice, including their cesarean rate. Here is an analogy: If you are wanting sushi, don’t go to the Italian restaurant. Even if they are nice and want to help you have some sushi, it will not taste the same as sushi from a restaurant that specializes in making it. So too, if you want a natural birth, you want to go somewhere that sees it regularly and knows how to support it well. If the hospital has a 50% cesarean rate and an 85% epidural rate, they do not see normal physiological birth very often. It is true that natural birth can happen anywhere, but you don’t want to have to fight for what you want and you want staff who knows how to support it well. Even well-meaning providers and staff may have a difficult time support normal, physiological birth if they do not see it very often.

Freestanding Birth Center birth (natural birthing center):

Freestanding birth centers are on the rise! While they are not yet in every community, they are a great option for low risk pregnant people. Do not confuse a hospital maternity ward with the words “birth center” in their name with an actual freestanding birth center. Some L&D wards have inaccurately started to market themselves as birth centers due to their growing popularity. While there is nothing wrong with choosing the birth in the hospital, it is very different than birthing in a birth center and should not be marketed as such.

Low Risk Pregnancy

Freestanding birth centers do not offer labor induction or augmentation with pitocin, epidural or other pain medications (though many offer nitrous oxide!), or cesarean sections. They are also not a good choice for someone who is higher risk. The provider (typically a midwife) will monitor the birthing person and the baby similarly to monitoring in the hospital and if needed, will transfer to the hospital in case of needed interventions or distress. If an epidural is desired, transfer will happen for that as well. The statistics show that 84% of those who begin labor in a birth center will birth there and 93% will have a spontaneous vaginal birth, regardless of if they transfer in labor or not. That means, that birth centers have a 6.1% cesarean rate , which is amazing! Freestanding birth centers are a good option for those with a low risk pregnancy who want a natural birth.

Home Birth:

Home birth is similar to birth center birth, just in your own home. Despite much misunderstanding among the general public, the same emergency equipment is brought to the birth including anti-hemorrhage medication and oxygen. Home birth providers, typically midwives, are trained to monitor pregnancy and birth well, transfer if the individual risks out during pregnancy or birth, and intervene when needed. Also similar to birth center birth, home birth is a good option for low risk pregnancies.

Also similar to birth center birth, home birth is a good option for low risk pregnancies. Stats show a 5.2% cesarean rate and primary reasons for transfer were non emergent “failure to progress .” When considering home birth, it is important to interview midwives and ask important questions about how they handle different situations and about their training and experience. Home birth midwives are trained and experienced in physiological birth and know how to support it well. If you want sushi, they are the sushi chef!

Birth location is a personal decision. There is not one right way to have a natural birth. Consider where you would be able to let go the easiest. Interview and tour different providers and facilities. And also listen to your intuition.

2. Choose provider wisely

After considering your birth location, you will want to consider your provider. There are generally three types of providers who attend birth: OBGYNs, Family Practice Doctors, and Midwives. Each tend to approach birth differently and it is important to research the differences. It is important also to consider the providers general policies and beliefs around the birthing process. Ask lots of questions . What is their cesarean rate? Why do they tend to induce (including if they induce at 41 weeks)? What is their episiotomy rate? There are many important questions to ask your provider during interview. I think we sometimes forget that we are in charge and we are the one hiring them, not the other way around. It is also helpful to ask the local birth community, if you have one, which providers tend to be most supportive of natural birth. Doula groups, for example, tend to know which OB/GYNS are natural birth supportive (rather than just paying lip service to it) and which family practice doctors and midwives are especially awesome. Depending on where you live, your options may be more limited. Even if there are not many options, it is still important to ask questions and make your preferences known far ahead of time.

3. Hire a Doula

Doulas are statistically proven to decrease cesarean rate, increase satisfaction with the birth experience, and decrease the use of pain medication and labor augmentation medication like pitocin. They offer a continuity of care, physical, emotional, and informational support that is absolutely essential to those planning a natural birth. While not all those who hire a doula will have a natural birth, having one by your side can significantly stack the cards in your favor. Additionally, a doula is an essential part of a medicated and cesarean birth team. They have a special role that is different and complementary to the role of the partner, nurse, and medical provider.

the evidence for doula

4. Take a solid Childbirth Education Program

Some childbirth classes are mostly “here is how to be a good patient at our hospital.” These are not the best childbirth classes for those planning a natural birth. The best childbirth classes will cover things such as:

  • pros and cons of different interventions
  • physiology of labor
  • comfort measures and techniques
  • how to write out your birth preferences

Childbirth education is not just for the pregnant person, it is extremely helpful for the partner as well. This is something that they have maybe never done, or only done a few times, and learning about the process and the choices that can be made is important for the birth partner because during the labor process they will be needed to speak to the staff and help the birthing person consider their options when the birthing person is in “labor land” and not as much in their “thinking brain.” Our favorite birth classes are Hypnobabies and Lamaze based classes.

5. Prepare your body

Pregnancy and birth is a unique and amazing physiological event and preparing well for. It includes specific body preparation to optimize the process. Our prenatal program, Body Ready Method , teaches how to specifically prepare the body for birth through our innovative Body Ready Method. It focuses on exercises that help create mobility and balance of the pelvis, yield of the pelvic floor, support with the core, and more. Preparing the body is an important, yet often overlooked part of preparing for natural birth and we do not recommend the old school recommendation of 100 kegels a day, which can actually create issues.

Nutrition is also a big part of preparing our bodies, to get more insights listen to: Ep7: Prenatal Nutrition: Myths, half truths and reality

Pregnancy Exercises Tips

6. Prepare your mind

You would not go into an athletic event thinking “I can’t do this” and during the event you would not think “I can’t, I can’t, I can’t.” This is a recipe for a really difficult experience. High level athletes prepare their brains just as much as their bodies. The same is true for birth. We need to do the work ahead of time to prepare our minds to be able to let go during the strong sensations of birth. There are many ways to do this.
Hypnosis , pregnancy affirmations, and practicing having a calm mind during more challenging yoga poses  are all excellent options.

Distressing one’s life also helps prepare the mind to be able to be calm and collected during birth. If milk spills on the floor we can not control that it happened, but we can control our reaction to it. We can choose to freak out or we can choose to sigh and calmly clean it up. Of course there is a range between these two reactions. Choosing our reactions to life’s stress and having tools to be able to de-stress in hugely important before entering the birthing process and also for being a parent! Life skills!!

We cannot control everything about the birthing process. Even among those planning a natural childbirth who do “everything right,” sometimes unanticipated interventions will need to occur. Maybe even a cesarean. Yes, many interventions are used too frequently and that is why it is so important to educate yourself about them, but truly they are not evil and they are very necessary sometimes. The best we can do is prepare well ahead of time, set the stage and have an amazing team during the process of childbirth, and then let go. The only predictable thing about childbirth is that it is unpredictable. However, when you prepare yourself ahead of the time, you stack the cards greatly in your favor for a natural childbirth! Check out our different targeted programs for each stage of your journey into parenthood – with tips and movements to help prepare you for your birth.

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