Pampering: Preparation for Birth

Sometimes when I remind a mom who is due soon that she should be using the last weeks of her pregnancy for pampering, she thinks this is frivolous behavior. Pampering is a great preparation for birth! Here are the ideas and the benefits to each of these things that I suggest!

Resting, getting more sleep! Our bodies when we are almost due becomes in more need for sleep and rest. So listen to your body! If it says to call in to work for a rest day- do it! If you need an afternoon nap- take it! And although you are feeling the need to finish all of your last minute tasks, don’t! Go to bed early! Why? Fear and fatigue are the main reasons women who did not plan to get medication end up doing so in labor! So deal with your fear- but definitely don’t go to bed late to only wake up in a few hours in full labor and not have had any sleep. So, please listen to your body- your body and baby will appreciate you doing so!

Massage. Circulation improvement, muscle tension relief, round ligaments being softened so that the baby can position themselves beautifully, mind release… need I name more reasons? Really, come on now- if you are one of those folks who does not think they enjoy a good massage, there are different types of massage. Try something different! Watsu is a gentle water massage in a warm pool and is very passive- stretching and swirling and softening tight muscles. Shari Aizenman offer this in the metro area. KMI is my favorite- and everyone knows Harry Kramer is my go to man for keeping my body albe to be at births over and over! I see him once a month! This is a deeper, stretching massage but he caters to what your body is craving. And one of our doulas, Charlotte Scott offers energy body work that is a different approach as well. She has this magnificent table that offers music and rhythm as part of the experience in a unique way. She does more lymphatic massage when working on me and it is wonderful as well.

Chiropractic. I have a few favorite chiropractors. I think you should consider regular chiropractic care during your whole pregnancy- just like regular massages. Why? A well aligned body keeps the baby well aligned. Blood flow and your organs working at peak performance can only enhance your birth body! I think you should choose your chiropractor based on where will you go most- is it close to your work or is it close to your home- or are they open in the evening- whatever it is – make sure they are well versed in good alignment for the best birth body you can go into labor with! I enjoy going to see Leyla Cheveney in Lilburn and Danielle Drobbin in Midtown. But I must confess I need to go more often! Find the chiropractor you love and go!

Acupuncture. I have to say going to my acupuncturist is one of my favorite things to do. I love the environment of his space and his energy is contagious. I always leave feeling energized and whole. So, who does not need to feel energized and whole for labor? Two of my favorites include the gals at Intown Acupuncture but I have to say my acupuncturist is Gurusahay at GRD clinic. But in order to get the most benefit from acupuncture, go early in your pregnancy- don’t wait til you are in your final months!

Exercise and Stretch! I love going to yoga each week. We also offer prenatal yoga with Charlotte Scott. And Charlotte and I teach two classes that encourage movement- the Dancing for Birth Classes and the FEAR to FREEDOM womens’ weekend. Movement keeps the baby aligned really well and keeps you feeling better. Movement is lubricant for our bones! Keeping your body stretched out and your cardiovascular system prepared for the rigors of labor are essential!

Meditate and Dream! It is essential that you keep your mind body connection connected! So much of your birth is in your head. So, take a little time each day to sit and meditate or pray. Connect to your baby. Listen to your body and notice the parts of your body and what they are telling you they need. Listen to your baby and talk to your baby about what you need from them. And allow yourself to dream about your ideal birth. See yourself in that moment. Also see the fears and see yourself working through them after you have addressed them. This is the best fifteen minutes each day you can have!

Spa day! Who does not need to feel more pretty as you are getting larger and rounder? My favorite spa day would be spent at JeJu Spa. You won’t be able to take advantage of all they have to offer when you are well into your pregnancy- but the saline pool, the body scrub, the ice pool for soaking swollen ankles- ahhhh so nice! But if you like to be pampered by getting your pedicure or your hair coiffed- just keep in mind keep out of the fumes of the chemicals!

Hire a cleaner or organizer! Having less clutter and a cleaner home helps in those weeks when you have your newborn. Less stuff that is not needed helps to declutter your home. Hiring a professional organizer is a great way to do this! Hiring a great house cleaner is also a great way to help your home be more welcoming to the new baby and may be an addition you want to continue after the baby comes!

There are a few things I DO NOT consider pampering but necessary for a gentle birth experience.  Take childbirth classes that are suited for you needs. Whether it is a weekend- a weekly- a one time class- depends on the level of preparation you want to put into the experience. I do say this is not where I would spare preparation. The folks who tell you their classes were worthless are either the ones who did not take it seriously, did not take the right class for them, rushed through it or are in denial of the way the class could have helped them if they had applied the lessons offered!

Choose your care provider carefully. But just choosing the right care provider does not insure you need to “check your brain” and not ask questions and understand the benefits, risks, alternatives, instinctive and next thing that will be needed if you  go with their advice. Understand your options and have a provider you can actually discuss those options and choices with without feeling bamboozled or rushed.

Choose your location for your birth judiciously. You nursing staff is super important. They can either be your best cheerleader or your biggest doubt monger. Go where they do a lot of births like you are desiring. And if your nursing staff is not supportive, ask for a change- no need to plant negative seeds that could grow as your labor progresses.

Choose your team wisely. A team is usually made up of more than two. You need some second stringers sitting on the bench when your starter gets tired. Trust me having a doula can certainly add a level of comfort to your labor that without it, is difficult. I met with a mom who had a doula for her second birth and will with her third who said, “We just needed more support the first time!” I definitely agree!

So, remember it is not frivolous to pamper yourself in the last month or weeks of your pregnancy! You are growing a human being inside of your body… be mindful to take care of the vessel!