Sunday, February 14, 2016

Preparing for a Natural Birth

I've now had two very different birth experiences.  One was not easier than the other...just different.  I thought I'd take a minute to write down what I did to prepare myself for my unmedicated delivery so I remember it!

One of the main things I think helped my body prepare for birth was going to the chiropractor.  I started going around 8 weeks pregnant with Greer, and went once a month up until 36 weeks, then once a week.  My last adjustment was Monday January 4th, and I was in labor 48 hours after that!

Another thing I did in preparation was read.  Pat and I took a childbirth education class at the hospital in Reston when I was pregnant with Brooks, and I had [obviously] had a baby before so I didn't feel like it was necessary for us to take another child birth class.  I did want to make sure I familiarized myself with what happens when you're in labor, as well as fill my mind with positive birth stories. Some books I read were...

Ina May's Guide To Childbirth 

The Bradley Method 


I also downloaded some of the hypnobirthing relaxation tracks. I played those at night before I went to bed. Relaxing was key for me this time. I knew that I dilated quickly with Brooks once I got the epidural because my body relaxed, so a lot of my preparation was focused on the things I'd need to feel relaxed while in labor.  

Additionally, I wrote down some quotes from Ina May's book and put them up in my house where I could see them during the last few weeks. They were - 

"Most women need support and encouragement during labor more than they need drugs. "

" Remember this, for it is as true as it gets: your body is not a lemon.  You are not a machine.  The Creator is not a careless mechanic.  Human female bodies have the same potential to give birth as well as aardvarks, lions, and elephants.  Even if it has not been your habit throughout your life so far, I recommend that you begin to think positively about your body."

As well as a mantra from a friend of mine...

"I am strong.  I am safe.  I am calm."

My sister had my friends and family that came to my sprinkle write down encouraging words for me during my last few weeks of pregnancy.  In addition to reading those, I also put up some cards from the "push pack"...

On the Wednesday morning that I was in labor, I opened the last card that I had gotten from my sprinkle.  It [of course] made me cry, but it was just the encouragement I needed to focus and push through the pain to meet my baby girl.

Lastly, one of the things I did that I think really helped me physically was going to prenatal yoga class and doing a prenatal barre workout DVD.  I only did it for about 20-30 minutes every day, but it helped strengthen my body as well as improve my self esteem!  I felt much better about myself when I was working out.  I have the Suzanne Bowen Slim & Toned prenatal and the Barre Amped prenatal workouts.  I'm looking forward to getting back into them soon!

Of course, deciding to have Greer at the birth center played a huge part in my successful unmedicated delivery. Drugs were not an option at all so I didn't have anyone asking me if I wanted them, and it never even crossed my mind.  I did have other tools available to me such as: essential oils, the birth ball, shower, tub, DVD player for relaxing music or movie, chiropractor, and the list goes on. Not to mention the incomparable support from my family, doula, and midwives. 

Preparing yourself adequately for giving birth is an important part of having the experience you want, whatever that may be.  Every birth is unique and every birth is special. I hope, if you're pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant, you'll take some time to think about and prepare for your birth ! 


  1. Colleen! Loved this post, thanks for sharing. Also, do you mind me asking where you took your prenatal yoga classes? I've been meaning to find a class somewhere!

    1. Mountain Spirit- Classes are Saturday's from 1030-12!