People are always asking, “How do I get through labor?” They want to know about the latest fad that will magically make their labor effortless and easy. First, labor is hard work; that’s why it’s called labor. That doesn’t mean that it can’t still be an amazing experience. Luckily, getting the body, mind and spirit ready for birth doesn’t require a lot of newfangled equipment or airy-fairy remedies. All that’s needed is P.E.N. – Preparation, Exercise and Nutrition!
Preparation: Do research – learn about the stages of labor, practice some coping techniques, and get an idea of what might happen in case things don’t go as planned. Most likely, this means taking a quality childbirth education class. Find a class taught by an independent teacher that is several weeks long.
Exercise: Laboring and birthing a baby is some of the hardest physical work a human body can do. No one would run a marathon or climb Mt. Everest without training first. The same goes for labor. Walking 30 minutes a day is a great way to prepare for labor; in fact, it’s one of the best ways. Swimming, yoga, pilates, and other gentle to moderate exercises are all great for labor and birth preparation, too.
Nutrition: This can’t be stressed enough! The body can only perform as well as it’s treated. Eating poorly will give poor results. Baby will always get all of his or her needs met; it’s the pregnant parent who will suffer if nutrients are lacking. Eating whole foods, getting 2-5 servings of veggies each day, and avoiding processed or fast foods will go a long way toward making sure labor and birth go as smoothly as possible. The eating plans that tend to be most successful are those that are rooted in thinking differently about food. Many families are successful eating an Ayurvedic diet, a strictly whole foods diet, a Mediterranean diet, or using a Paleo-type plan.
When people really focus on these three areas during their pregnancy, results are seen time and time again. They are better prepared for labor and birth, and they have an easier time in the postpartum. It’s really that simple!
Sky Connelly LM, CPM, is a certified professional midwife offering home birth, water birth, VBAC, fertility consultation, at-home IUI, and Ayurvedic postpartum wellness to all of Maui County. Learn more at growmidwifery.com.