Pregnancy, labor and delivery are deeply personal decision. Today I’m sharing 6 tips for an empowered pregnancy and birth.
Currently as I sit here, I’m 34 weeks pregnant. I’m nearing the final destination, you guys! I haven’t chatted too much about this pregnancy because, well, life with 3 little kiddos distracts me! Honestly, the newness I felt in my first pregnancy is totally gone here in my fourth. Don’t get me wrong, we are excited to meet this little girl (who still doesn’t fully have a name picked out), but I’m finding pregnancy and life just roll along together. The relaxed and chill feeling in pregnancy is actually pretty comforting.
However, now that I’m nearing the closing of this chapter, I am getting more mentally prepared for her arrival. I’m excited for her birth and having a sweet new baby in the home. It’s our last baby, so I know I’ll become more emotional when the end of this pregnancy really gets close. I enjoy being pregnant and carrying my babies, and I know I’ll be sad to see this stage pass without another return. Sigh.
Aaaaaaanyways, let’s chat empowered pregnancy and birth!
6 Tips for an Empowered Pregnancy and Birth
I am a huge advocate for feeling in control during your pregnancy and being empowered with information. It is also equally important to have an open mind and know that sometimes things are out of your control. If you feel lost in pregnancy, or tend to worry about all-the-things, I encourage your to read through these 6 tips for an empowered pregnancy and birth. My hope is that maybe one area resonates with you, and you can feel encouraged during this magical time of pregnancy.
Quick share: I talked all about preparing for labor and delivery (and a lot of these same tips) in Episode #9 of Fit Mama Real Food Radio if you want to take a listen! Okay, let’s do this!
1] Care for your body
Pregnancy is such a wonderful time to really focus your attention to yourself. I know as a mom, it’s so easy to let that slide and care for others before yourself. When you are growing another little one, it’s a great time to allow yourself to be the center of your attention.
Here are 4 areas to focus on to care for your body: food, fitness, sleep and hydration
Nourish your body with nutrient dense food. Allow any restrictions to fade away, and instead focus on getting a huge variety of real food – aiming for a balance of carbohydrates, protein and fat and each meal/snack. Some weeks you will be more hungry than others, and just know that it is normal.
Move your body. Walking is fantastic during pregnancy. Weight training and yoga are amazing to keep your body strong and balanced. If you didn’t have an exercise program going before becoming pregnant, be sure to chat with your medical provider about starting one. Remember to keep the intensity to moderate. You should be able to talk and breath through exercise. If a workout leaves you feeling like you need a 3 hour nap afterwards, or leaves you with aches and pains, maybe choose a different workout. I gave up teaching my BodyCombat classes around 28 weeks this pregnancy. I was left exhausted and felt aches that I didn’t like. It was hard stopping because it is SO FUN, but my body is thanking me for listening to it.
The pregnant body works so incredibly much growing another human. Get as much rest as you can, especially knowing that once you have a newborn around, sleep will likely come and go in shorter spurts. Set a bedtime for yourself, and a wake time, allowing for at least 7-8 hours of sleep. Honor that bedtime. I am personally a horrible napper, but if you like naps and can get down with them, take em!
Water needs increase during pregnancy. Try to sip water all throughout the day, and especially making it a big focus first thing in the morning, as your body has gone all night without hydration coming in. I understand how it can be tough drinking a lot of water. You already have to pee all-the-time, then adding in extra water makes you have to go more often. We can’t really get away from that (sorry!), but we can hydrate well and know we are caring for our bodies and babies.
2] Decide on your medical team
For all four of my pregnancies we have chosen to use a midwife and have a hospital birth. I knew going into my first pregnancy that I wanted a natural, unmedicated labor and delivery. I felt I would have the best outcome choosing a midwife, and I also like the fact that (in my experience) they spend more time one on one connecting, instead of just going through all the standard medical questions.
Some areas to consider: Will you choose a doctor or midwife? Will you have a doula? Will you have the baby at a hospital, birthing center or at home? Find what feels right to YOU and go with that decision. Know that you can always change your mind and switch is something feels better or makes more sense.
3] Educate yourself for the best decision making
When I was pregnant with Hunter, my first, Jacob and I decided on the Bradley Method of Natural Child Birth as our birthing class. We liked that it is called the husband coached birth. I knew I needed him an my #1 team player, and the 10 week class really helped to get us prepared, as best we could, for birthing a baby. I also chose to go through a breastfeeding class, since I had no idea what I was getting into with that.
I feel empowered when I am educated. I can make decisions that are best for me and my family when I have information. There are tons of classes offered by hospitals, different organizations and specialized ones for different birth techniques and methodologies. Think about how you want your labor and delivery to go, and find a class that jives with that. There is something out there for whatever you want your birth to look like.
During the classes we also learned about different decisions we would have to make once baby is born. Questions like: Do you bath your baby right away? When do you cut the cord? What shots do you feel comfortable having right away? Why is the eye ointment given?
4] Be surrounded by uplifting people
When choosing your medical team, think about who all you want at the birth. I love having just Jacob there. I need him there. He’s my rock and calms me. We had an amazing nurse with Zoe, my second, who became a family friend. Now she’s my second support person that I like to have there. She was there for Nova’s birth and hopefully she can be there for this baby’s birth too.
Also think about the people you surround yourself with daily. Are they uplifting and supportive? Do they help you when it comes to caring for yourself, or do they add stress? Assess if they help you make healthy choices and if not, maybe work on spending less time with them. In life, and especially in pregnancy, find those people that lift you up and make you feel like they are there for you, no matter what.
Another group to be surrounded by: other mothers you look up to. Whether that is in person, or following them through social media for their encouraging words, look for those women that give you all the good feels about pregnancy and birth.
5] Listen/read birth stories
Personally, I LOVE listening to and reading birth stories. I love hearing the experience of labor for other mamas. It’s empowering knowing that babies can be born in so many different ways.
If you want to read my previous 3 births, here ya go!
- Hunter’s birth story, part 1
- Hunter’s birth story, part 2
- Hunter’s birth story, part 3
- Zoe’s birth story
- Nova’s birth story, part 1
- Nova’s birth story, part 2
Listen and read births that are in line with how you envision your birth playing out. But don’t forget about the ones that are not what you plan for. It’s good to hear all the ways babies can be born. Listening and reading the stories can start to prepare your mindset for your own birth. Which leads me to my last little nugget of inspiration….
6] Commit your mindset
Mindset. Mindset is HUGE in pregnancy. Having a positive birth experience 100% depends on your mindset around it. Chances are, not everything will go exactly as planned. Even if it’s a little thing that really doesn’t make a difference, if your mindset isn’t where it needs to be, anything “off plan” can be tough to deal with.
How do you help with your mindset? Believe in yourself. Believes in your body’s ability. Know that however this baby is born, you get a baby in your arms in the end. Be okay with things not going exactly as you plan. Maybe don’t have a plan, but instead a general feel for your labor and delivery. Tell yourself how strong you are. Tell yourself that no matter how this baby is born, you carried it and now brought it into the world.
And remember –> You are amazing mama.
I hope this leaves you feeling empowered and with a bit more information to have an amazing pregnancy and birth. If you have a birth story that you shared somewhere to be read or listened to, please share the link in the comment below! I would LOVE to check it out, and I know other mamas would as well.
PS: I talked all about preparing for labor and delivery in episode #9 of Fit Mama Real Food Radio. If you’d like to hear more about having an empowered pregnancy, give it a listen! –> Listen to Episode #9