Preparing for childbirth, naturally: advice from a naturopath

Giving birth is, of course, bringing a child into the world. But so many more things are being brought to life along with this child: a mother, a father, an older brother or sister, a family… There are so many elements that come as a result of the birth of a child! And each aspect deserves attention.

 

The third trimester: the last few things to prepare

It’s time to prepare the nest! Because the woman has grown used to being pregnant, she feels more comfortable moving and has energy to do what she needs to. The emotional side of things takes over, once she has grown accustomed to things that used to make her uncomfortable in her pregnancy. Plus, the baby is starting to move and kick, building a strong bond between mother and child. This makes her maternal instincts appear and she feels the need to “build a nest” for her little one. With this, she starts organizing the baby’s arrival, making sure everything in place in her home, getting his/her room ready. This step is incredibly important for the future mother to slowly accept that her pregnancy is coming to an end: she is mentally and emotionally preparing for the next step, which can be a difficult transition for some women. With this, the future mother says “goodbye” to her pregnancy in a way: she starts looking forward to seeing her child and their little face; to hold them in her arms. At this point in the pregnancy, the future mother wants to get out of the imaginary realm and enter reality, get into action: she wants to give birth and start her new life with the baby. Creating a “nest” also gives the mother a sense of security, as it makes the mother feel fully prepared for what’s ahead. A good advice for mothers giving birth in a hospital is to know how they want their childbirth to go down, so that the professionals there can respond to her needs.

 

Physical aspects

Preparing for childbirth is pretty much like training for a marathon. The body needs light, easily digested meals, as the space left for the stomach is quite small. In terms of snacks, they should also be made up of healthy, natural foods in fairly small amounts. Sugar should be avoided as much as possible. Drinking lots of water is important to help the body get rid of the toxins for both mother and baby.

Moving often, even through light exercise such as walking and swimming can be an excellent way to prepare the body for childbirth: it gets the muscles, joints and tissues moving and stretching, and thus prepares the pelvic area.

About 3 weeks before the due date, the future mother can start drinking raspberry leaf tea and sage infusions. Raspberry leaf contains proteins and serves to naturally tone the uterus, and thus will make the contractions more effective. Sage helps relax the muscles in the lower abdomen and facilitates labor.

 

Preparing for childbirth

The third trimester is usually the time when the mother starts preparing for the birth with the help of a midwife and/or by taking sophrology classes. With these, you learn how to breathe, relax and visualize. These tools can be incredibly useful on the due date. Visualization allows the mother’s brain to disconnect from the pain and make the experience more manageable: it allows the woman to concentrate effectively on herself, the baby and feelings of calmness. This, in turn, allows her to not feel panicked in the process of bringing her child into the world.

 

Preparing as a father

It is essential for the father to be there for the mother during the preparation of the birth: he can accompany her to the sophrology classes, where he will be welcome. Proper preparation for the father is important, because being in the room during childbirth is an impressive moment to witness, that can at times be stressful for him too: to be of adequate support for the mother during labor, it is essential for him to be prepared.

 

Birth

When the birth happens physiologically, the recuperation afterwards is usually fairly easy. However, when anesthesia is used, the mother can feel tired because of the drugs. When everything goes well and the baby is born naturally, he benefits from the bacteria in the vagina’s flora which helps him from his very first day to build a healthy immune system. This is why taking probiotics in the last three weeks before the birth can be a great idea. If the baby is born through C-section, he or she can take probiotics for two weeks. Breastfeeding is also incredibly important in helping the baby build his or her immunity: it brings the baby both pre- and post biotics.

After birth, it is important for the new mother to eat plenty and regain strength: eggs can be a good option, as they are full of proteins, or if you are vegan, consider spirulina, algae, sprouts and healthy fats (avocado, nuts, coconut oil, seeds…).

All you have left to do is enjoy this wonderful time with your newborn child!

 

This post was written based on advice given by Diane Roque, a Naturopath in Lavaur, France.

Photo credit: pixabay.com