5 Ways to Prepare your Body and Mind for Birth
Throughout pregnancy an expectant mother’s body is constantly changing as the fetus grows inside. This is indeed an exciting time, but it is both a physical but also an emotional roller-coaster as hormones ebb and flow. The final weeks can be even more trying as she feels heavier, out of breathe, constantly needing to urinate and very tired. Most mothers I treat are pretty exhausted coming up to full term and are very ready to start with the new phase in their life.
As I treat women mostly with infertility I treat women from the very beginning, when they are trying to get pregnant. Then once they do become pregnant I assist in relieving any negative symptoms such as nausea, tiredness, skin issues and any digestive issues. From week 36, leading up to the climax of birth, I prepare them for childbirth.
This is a very exciting time and a pleasure to be a part of. This is what the mother has been preparing both mentally and physically for.
Acupuncture is the perfect way to treat women during pregnancy and birth preparation. It is a safe and effective method of treatment that does not come with the side effects of modern pharmaceuticals. Certain points must be avoided so it is best to be treated by a therapist who is experienced in fertility treatments. Many of the women I treat are able to sleep during the treatment and are thereafter relaxed and energized.
Having acupuncture in the weeks preceding birth will help in a variety of ways. It can firstly help with anxiety, with water retention that creates swelling of the hands, feet and legs as well as insomnia and tiredness. During the birth it will help reduce the labor time and the need for medical intervention. The acupuncture will encourage blood circulation and help to relax the tendons and muscles, soften the cervix and helps with dilation. This will therefore reduce the amount of pain experienced during childbirth. The use of Moxa, which is mugwort burned and the warmth from it facilitates healing, is used to help give energy to the body, while acupuncture uses the energy already present in the body. For fetal malposition acupuncture and moxa can also help to re-position the baby.
2. Raspberry Leaf Tea
Red raspberry leaf tea comes from the leaves of the red raspberry plant. The tea has been used for respiratory, digestive and uterine health. It also helps with fertility and is used for pregnant women to help shorten labor time. It does this by toning and tightening the muscles in the pelvis, including the walls of the uterus. It is also known to help breast milk supply. While raspberry tea does not taste anything like raspberry it does nevertheless contain Vitamin B’s, calcium, iron and magnesium.
How much you can take will depend on where you are in your pregnancy. One cup per day in the first trimester is safe and will help with morning sickness while 3 to 5 in the third trimester is the normal amount taken. It takes time for the raspberry tea to take effect so don’t start taking it too late in the pregnancy.
3. Blue cohosh
Black Cohosh, a member of the Buttercup family, was used by Native Americans for medicinal purposes and became popular in Europe in the 1950’s. It has been used for a variety of ailments such as anxiety, sore throat, cough, PMS, menopausal syndrome, acne and as a uterine tonic to help induce contractions. It is used to help ripen the cervix by strengthening and regulating contractions.
You should not use black cohosh unless you are close to term and therefore not before week 38. You can take capsules or drops but I suggest only doing this under the supervision of your doctor.
4. NORA Tea
Nora Tea is a tea combination of nettles, oat straw, raspberry leaf and alfalfa which helps with pregnancy and lactation. It can also help with PMS, endometriosis and PCOS. From my experience it is a healthy option to help with uterine contractability, it helps to reduce tear during birth and helps to induce lactation. It will also protect the liver and tonify blood.
I suggest starting to take Nora tea at about week 16 and continuing after birth so as to help the healing process.
A calm pregnancy and birth is one of the most important gifts you can give your unborn child. I see it so often when a mother has a stressful pregnancy the baby when born is restless, doesn’t sleep and cries a lot. Meditation cannot be overestimated. It will help strengthen the immune system, and the nervous system, will reduce stress, enhance sleep and will deliver a Zen baby.
Try deep belly meditation, on a daily basis, even if it is only 5 minutes a day. Visualize your contractions like waves of the ocean coming and going, your uterus like a flower opening in the sunshine, your baby floating in a bath of energy and light. Meditation is personal. Choose the images that make you feel calm.
Preparing for birth is important not only for the mother but also for the baby. If you prepare well it can be a stress less and relaxed experience.