I wanted to share with you some of the highlights from the birth of my beautiful daughter, Piper (which you can read here if you missed it). But more importantly, I want to recommend some strategies, tips and tools that I found to be extremely helpful when falling pregnant and preparing for childbirth.
Part Two – My Pregnancy Guide
There are many things to prepare for once you’ve found out you are pregnant.
Amongst all the shopping and deciding on a name, there is a lot to organise and to do. My recommendation for the best thing that you can do for you and your baby is to educate yourself.
This is a MUST-SEE. The cutting edge research into the microbiome, this documentary dives deep into the process of “inoculating” the baby through the birthing process. There was so much information in this documentary that I had not read anywhere else.
Or check out the trailer below:
This documentary provides so much information about the benefits of breastfeeding. Whilst it largely focusses on the US, there is still a lot of similarities in Australian culture. This documentary will empower you to pursue breastfeeding when the time comes and to question your beliefs about what is acceptable when it comes to breastfeeding in public or when returning to work.
Learn more about it here.
My Favourite Pregnancy and Birthing Books
I spent many nights before bed reading a pregnancy/birthing book of some kind. In total, I read about 9 different books! But below are a collection of my favourites.
Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering – Dr Sarah Buckley
This was a great reference book that I went back to again and again. If you want to learn more about the procedures that take place in your pregnancy, this book discusses the benefits, risks, alternatives, and consequences of doing nothing, when it comes to a range of “routine” medical testing and procedures during pregnancy. It’s full of references, so the information is backed up by the latest science and research.
I recommend reading this one first, as it will answer many questions you may have regarding procedures that take place throughout pregnancy, not just birth.
Hypnobirthing: The Mongan Method – Marie Mongan
I read this book towards the end of my pregnancy and felt that it was so thorough that I decided against attending a Hypnobirthing course. For those who don’t know what hypnobirthing is, it’s a technique of self-hypnosis to promote a calm birth. This book also came with a CD of visualisations that I found extremely relaxing before bed each night during my third trimester.
Whilst I didn’t use all the techniques covered in the book (there are quite a few of them), practising the techniques before birth increased by confidence and trust in my body. There are a few different types of Hypnobirthing books, including some Australian versions which I’m sure are also very useful.
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth – Ina May Gaskin
This book is full of positive birthing stories from the renowned midwife Ina May Gaskin. I read this book over quite a long period of time, as it is broken up into different sections and different stories.
There was one particular story that stuck with me throughout my third trimester and during birth. I was able to release fears that I had about tearing due to this particular story, and even recalled it during the final stage of labour.
I was really amazed at the body’s wisdom and the wisdom of midwives in this book, and thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
For those who are interested in connecting with their soul and the soul of their unborn baby, I highly recommend these books which are more on the spiritual side:
- Spirit Babies: How to Communicate with the Child You’re Meant to Have – Walter Makichen
- Magical Beginnings, Enchanted Lives – Deepak Chopra
- Bountiful, Beautiful, Blissful – Gurmukh
Birth Preparation Course – She Births Online Program
If this is your first pregnancy, you will want to know as much as you can about the journey ahead. I recommend investigating a Birth Preparation Course early so that you have plenty of time to practice the techniques and implement the suggestions well before labour. I was very interested in the Hypnobirthing and Calm Birth programs, but I stumbled across She Births which seems to combine the best of everything into one reasonably priced course. I recommend this over Hypnobirthing and Calm Births as it also incorporated the techniques of active labour as well. I did end up reading the Hypnobirthing book which complimented my knowledge gained from She Births.
The She Births Online Program is very comprehensive, but so easy to apply. I believe that this was the single most impactful thing I did to prepare for an amazing natural birth, medication-free. Hands down, I recommend this course to any and all pregnant woman. And most surprisingly, my husband really appreciated and understood the materials, giving him the confidence to support my decisions to go natural and medication-free (if possible).
She Births is founded by Nadine Richardson, who is a mother and has been a childbirth educator, labour assistant and prenatal yoga teacher for over 20 years.
“Based on Three Pillars; Knowledge, Inner Strength and Outer Support you will be able to create a better birth experience for your family. The unique three pillars of She Births empower you with active birthing, hypnosis, yoga, acupressure, massage, visualisation, nutrition, pain management and more, so that as a team you can engage with labour in the most gentle, natural and joyous way.”
This is a four week course, which you can actually complete at your own pace. It includes a number of audio files, video files, meditations and visualisations, plus a course book with all the information to go back and refer to.
Find out more about She Births here.
During pregnancy, you are growing a body for your baby, and therefore what you eat will literally be the building blocks of your baby’s life.
I recommend having a consultation with a practitioner to discuss the most ideal diet for you and your baby – one that easy and accessible so that you are able to incorporate it into your already busy lifestyle. A Naturopath or Doctor of Chinese Medicine, can be a great place to start. I am also available via Skype or phone for single sessions should you wish to gain clarity on what changes you can make to your diet and lifestyle to give your baby the very best start in life.
I couldn’t have been happier with my birthing experience and want to share this blog series to any pregnant or want-to-be pregnant women who are interesting in learning to trust the wisdom of their bodies and aim for natural birth.