The thought of giving birth is terrifying for many expectant mothers, so if you’re looking ahead to the birth of your child with apprehension then don’t worry too much, you are definitely not alone. Many pregnant women decide to have their child born through an elective c-section in order to escape some of the anticipated horrors of natural labor, and sometimes that can be the best option, but there are many advantages to giving birth with a normal delivery too.
C-sections avoid the pains of labor and can be tempting for women with a low tolerance to pain, but there are many drawbacks to the option too. Not only is a c-section a major operation that will require several days to recover from, but it can also create difficulties after your baby has been born. Natural births will boost your baby’s immune system. as they pick up a dose of beneficial bacteria while traveling through the birth canal which helps protect your baby’s immune and digestive system.
Although in some cases you may decide to choose a c-section, or your doctor may recommend it as the best course of action for you and your baby, if you have decided to bring another life into the world naturally there are many things you can do to make the process more comfortable and safer for both you and your baby.
Keep Moving During Your Pregnancy
Pregnancy is a challenging time for any expectant mother, you are going to feel frequently exhausted and suffer from constant aches and pains, but in order to make a normal delivery a little easier, some gentle exercise will help to prepare for an easier and safer natural birth.
Walking is a great exercise even if you’ve never been in a gym in your life, nothing too strenuous is required but a few short walks every day can help your body stay in shape and prepared for childbirth.
Swimming is a great all-round exercise for mothers-to-be, it will exercise the whole body and is an enjoyable way to keep yourself fit.
Exercises that help strengthen your thigh and pelvic muscles will help a natural birth enormously. Thighs come under a lot of strain during a natural birth and if you keep your thighs regularly exercised it will make a natural birth far easier. Kegal exercises are one of the most effective ways for you to keep this group of muscles in good shape.
Squatting is a wonderful way to help your body prepare for a normal birth. It is of great benefit during the whole of your pregnancy as it helps to open the pelvis and place the baby into an ideal birthing position. Squatting will also strengthen your leg muscles which will aid a normal birth. It can be practised by sitting with crossed legs, kneeling, and by sitting balanced on an exercise ball.
Avoid Stress During your Pregnancy
Feeling stressed out during pregnancy is as natural as childbirth itself, so don’t ever feel stressed because you are stressed, it couldn’t be more normal, but there are a few techniques you can try to de-stress yourself and make your natural birth as easy as possible.
Visualization techniques will prepare you for the process of giving birth, particularly if you are a first time mom, and they can help you de-stress during your preparation for giving birth as well as when you are in the process of actually having your baby.
Meditation can work wonders for many expectant mothers during pregnancy. There are many forms that help you relax and several that are geared particularly towards helping pregnant women. If meditating is not your kind of thing then listen to some music and close your eyes to help you relax during your stressful times during pregnancy.
There are several breathing techniques you can practice that not only help you reduce stress, but they can also help with natural births during labor. Breathing from the chest, from the stomach, shallow breathing and alternating shallow and deep breathing will all assist you when it becomes time for your natural childbirth. Prenatal yoga can help enormously with breathing the right way and will help the process run smoothly during both pregnancy and labor.
In the final trimester of your pregnancy you may find it difficult to stand for long periods, and it is best to avoid this as it can cause your unborn baby to be pulled into a birthing position before your body is ready for to give birth. Standing for too long will also tire your legs which can create problems during both labor and delivery.
Finally, try not to pay too much attention to pregnancy ‘horror stories’, women have been giving birth for tens of thousands of years, and in the vast majority of births the process will go without a hitch, particularly if you help yourself and your baby by preparing for a natural birth.
Keep A Healthy Diet During Your Pregnancy
It goes without saying that maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle is one of the most important things to think about while you are pregnant, but a proper diet can also help your baby cope with the process of childbirth and will increase the likelihood that you will be able to give birth naturally without problems. There are a few foods that you should concentrate on making sure you get plenty of.
Make sure your diet contains a good amount of lean meat, dairy, legumes, fruits and dark-green vegetables. Foods rich in protein and starchy foods should also be included in your diet.
During pregnancy your body will also need additional iron so every day you should try to eat some iron-rich foods such as dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale and collard greens. Beans, black strap molasses, fortified cereals and grains can also help, as well as dried fruits such as prunes, raisins, figs and apricots.
If you are a fan of seafood then most types of fish are fine during pregnancy, but raw shellfish should be avoided. Tuna and oily fish can be consumed during pregnancy but only in moderation as they can contain small amounts of mercury.
Eating street food can be risky while you are pregnant as it will have a much higher probability of containing harmful bacteria. During your pregnancy sugar should be avoided as much as possible, and coffee and tea should not be drunk excessively, particularly within two hours of going to bed. Ensure as much as possible that you have an adequate amount of undisturbed sleep to help the development of your baby.
Control Your Weight During Pregnancy
It’s vital to put on a reasonable amount of weight during your pregnancy, and your eating habits will inevitably change. You may also suffer from a reduced appetite during the early stages of pregnancy, and it’s also quite likely that you will experience at least some nausea and vomiting during the first few months. However while it is necessary for you to put on weight during your pregnancy, becoming overweight can also decrease the chances of you being able to have a normal delivery.
If your body mass index (BMI) before pregnancy was above 25 then you are technically overweight, but going on a diet during pregnancy is not advised. If you were overweight before pregnancy than you will already have excess fat deposits in your body so you can afford to keep your fat intake low. Avoid fatty foods such as ice-cream, chocolate, red meat and butter and concentrate on eating healthier foods such as those mentioned above.
During your pregnancy and while going through labor you will need extra water to keep yourself and your baby hydrated, so make sure you always drink plenty of fluids. Drinking water, juices and soups will help you cut fat while also keeping you and your baby healthy. There are some healthy sports drinks that can hydrate you effectively during pregnancy, but ensure that they are suitable for pregnant women before taking them.
If possible try to get your weight to a healthy level before you plan to conceive, but the best way to work out a fitness and dietary plan during pregnancy is to consult your doctor about the exercise that you can take safely. You may also wish to consult a nutritionist to assist with a healthy diet plan that is tailored towards your specific needs during your pregnancy.
Learn As Much As Possible About Childbirth
The more you know about the whole process of labor and the delivery of your child, the more comfortable and less apprehensive about the whole process you will be. A few things that will help you learn more and understand your pregnancy are –
Speaking to your doctor about your concerns and about the areas of doubt that you have, their expert experience will offer the best advice you can get about your own personal situation.
There are many online sources of information about the labor process where you will be able to gain more information, but cross check several sources to ensure the information you are getting is reliable, and always consult with your doctor if you are in doubt about its accuracy.
There are many books that cover every aspect of pregnancy, labor and delivery. The choice to you is vast so read as many as you can to learn as much about the process of having a normal delivery.
Talking to your mom, or other elder women who have given birth themselves is a great way to get a personal insight into what you can expect during your delivery, but remember that everyone’s experience is different. Other pregnant women and moms will be also able to advise you on things you can do to help you prepare for your delivery.
Ensure You Have Plenty Of Support
Although pregnancy is a physical transformation that you will have to go through alone, it is important to make sure that you have plenty of support, both emotionally and psychologically, to help you maintain a positive outlook on the upcoming delivery.
Communicate with your partner to make sure that you are both looking at the situation the same way and that they are there to support you fully during your pregnancy, the same advice applies to members of your family to make sure that the stresses of your pregnancy are not something that you have to face alone.
There are many doctors who consider c-sections to be an easy and convenient alternative to natural childbirth, so make sure your doctor will not attempt to hurry you into a c-section without a good reason. Speak with your doctor about their views on natural childbirth and make sure they have a good ratio of normal deliveries. Your doctor is always going to be the most important advisor to you, so if you are not entirely happy with them look for a doctor that you are completely happy with.
An experienced doula can be an enormous help to any mother wishing to have a normal delivery. A doula is specialized in natural childbirth and a good one will make the whole labor process considerably easier and less stressful for you. They are also able to offer plenty of useful advice after you have given birth about breastfeeding, and problems you may encounter.
Above all, always stay positive and get plenty of rest during your pregnancy, particularly during the third trimester. Put your feet up, try to relax and trust your doctor. No mother can guarantee that they will be able to avoid a c-section, as sometimes it is the best course of action for the health of you and your baby. Above all always consult your doctor before undertaking any changes in your diet, exercise regime or life style to ensure that your actions are the right choice for you.