Preparing Your Mind & Body for Birth
Guest post by Rebecca Mizzi; senior midwife & mum of two
Preparing for labour and birth should go beyond packing one’s hospital bags and buying the cute baby-gear. The last few weeks of pregnancy, labour and birth are a time of great transformation for the mother. Bringing with them not just the physical demands of a baby bump in full bloom and a hormonal shift, but also the psychological factors of preparing for a new person in your life.
Preparing physically can start with exercise suitable for pregnancy, such as yoga, aquanatal exercises, pilates or anything else you enjoy, as guided by your midwife/doctor & your own capacity and knowledge of your body. Helping you become not just physically stronger but also improve posture, which helps baby take an advantageous position prior to labour. Posture and position can also be improved by swapping your desk chair and sofa for a birthing ball once your baby is in the head down position. Exercise also releases endorphins, helping in turn to calm the mind. Nutritious food and rest are also important in the last few weeks of pregnancy and will be a great asset to your body going into labour, birthing and preparing yourself to nurture your baby.
Labour is more than just the physical process of having a baby, we definitely can’t underestimate the advantages of preparing your mind also. Surrounding yourself with positive people, reading positive birth stories and even attending a free-to-attend meet up will help set you up with a positive mindset for birth.
It’s normal to have fears associated with birth; unfortunately modern-day society has set us up to have fears fuelled by how birth is often portrayed in the media and within social circles. Some couples will opt to take their preparation a step further by practicing hypnobirthing. Hypnobirthing combines hypnotherapy and tapping into the subconscious mind, together with logic and reason, providing the expectant couple with evidence based information and a range of tools and techniques, such as breathing techniques, to assist in reframing their innermost thoughts and feelings about birth.
One can’t recommend enough getting one’s hands on the right resources such as a good book, a midwife-led antenatal education course and even a variety of podcasts available to gear yourself up with information that will help you make the right decisions for you, your baby and your family when the time comes. Labour and birth should not be something feared but something to look forward to, and empowering yourself with knowledge to be able to make the right decisions is essential. Together with acquiring knowledge keep in mind that your body is made to give birth, bringing babies into the world has happened for millennia so trust in yourself and your body, seek the right guidance and care as needed and enjoy what will be the start of your new life with your baby.
This post has been kindly written by Rebecca Mizzi; a senior midwife and mum of two, whose own pregnancy and birth experiences empowered and inspired her to ensure equally positive birth experiences for as many others as possible.
Rebecca is certified in aromatherapy for maternity, and she’s also a childbirth educator, holding a Masters in Midwifery and KGHypnobirthing diploma. Rebecca has always been a voice and an advocate for high quality family-centred care, and this has been a large part of her role as part of the Positive Birth Malta team and her mission with Serene Starts Hypnobirthing.
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