When you’re pregnant there is so much to do! Regular doctor’s appointments, more careful attention to nutrition, dealing with rapid changes in your body, preparing the nursery, and generally planning for baby’s arrival.
In all of the “dealing with now” and “preparing for the after”, it can be easy to forget about preparing for the actual birth of your baby. Preparing for labor and delivery goes beyond choosing a medical provider and birth location. The physical and emotional energy required for birth is often equated to that required to complete a marathon. And you certainly wouldn’t attempt to run a marathon without some serious preparation, practice, and support from friends and family. Right?!?!?
Over the past couple of years I have noticed that one of the most reliable methods of preparing for the physical and emotional requirements of giving birth is…PRENATAL YOGA!
Women know that the intentional use of breath during labor can help them relax and deal with the intensity of the contractions. But lacking solid experience using the breath for this purpose can make it difficult to access this simple and powerful tool.
It’s best to learn your coping techniques before labor begins so that it’s already second-nature.
I have noticed that New Day Doula clients who take prenatal yoga learn to be more calm and relaxed, and when I remind them to use their breath during labor they know exactly how to access that tool. In addition, they learn simple things about themselves that they can use to better cope during birth. One client learned that she liked lavender oil massages when the prenatal yoga teacher gave foot massages during class, and then asked us (her doulas) to bring lavender oil to her birth.
Prenatal yoga helps New Day Doula clients to bond with their babies while still in the womb, to use their breath to relax, to find a centered calm place inside themselves. Yoga also helps these women practice moving in ways that may help make for a more comfortable pregnancy and an easier, more empowered birth.
Would you like to give it a try?
Locally, prenatal yoga classes can be found in Canton at The Yoga Loft and in Potsdam at Trillium Center for Yoga and Health.
Sometimes, being a good mom means asking for help. It is so tempting to think we need to do everything ourselves. I am one of those people who wants to be in complete control of my life and family. I like figuring out routines and knowing what will happen at any given moment. When my mom watched my 10 month-old son for an overnight, I put together a detailed schedule that she could follow to make sure his routine didn’t vary much. I have repeated this for every overnight since – with an amended schedule as he got older. However, even I remember two distinct times while parenting my son that I really could have used some help from someone else.
This sleep regression hit my husband and me so hard! Our son had been sleeping so well! He would reliably sleep 7 hours for his first stretch for over a month. And then, right around Thanksgiving, that gradually grew shorter until he was up every hour. We tried everything!
Nothing seemed to work! We would have a good night and try to mimic exactly what we did the day before…and then we’d have a horrible night. I remember pushing my little guy in the stroller for hours to try to get him to have a nice long nap during the day – and then complaining to my grumpy baby in the middle of the night that he was supposed to be sleeping well after all that napping.
My husband and I were so. tired. We needed a break. We needed someone to come in and help us wrap our heads around this lack of sleep. What we did was read a bunch of opinions and buy a bunch of stuff that was supposed to help.
In the end, he eventually started sleeping better at some point. I also decided to just accept waking up three times a night. That acceptance made it much more manageable. But if I could have gotten some more sleep before then, I probably would have been a much happier person.
This was such a difficult phase in parenthood that I don’t even like thinking about it! I was so stubborn and unable to accept that my little one needed something different. I was used to a specific routine – one that had worked amazingly well for months. So when my baby started to resist his afternoon nap, I tried to power through. I would rock him for over an hour. Outwardly, I was calm and loving. But on the inside I was brimming with anger. Just go to sleep! I would think to myself, over and over. I even rocked a bit too fast and rubbed his back a little harder than was necessary. I was at my wits end, thinking about all the things I had planned to do during that nap that just wasn’t happening.
I could have reached out. I could have asked some other moms what they thought was going on or looked into parenting resources. But I figured it was my job to sort it out by myself. I was the mom, after all.
There will be times in parenting that a little help can go a long way. I wish I had surrendered some of the control at those points in parenting. I would still be “mom” but maybe just a calmer, better rested mom.
Are you struggling right now? If so, please take a moment to think about ways that you could let go or let someone else help out. Remember – your needs matter, too, and you deserve a break just like everyone else.
Where you give birth is one of the biggest indicators in how likely you are to have an experience similar to what you were hoping for. However, here in the North Country, we don't have too many options for where we can give birth. While some people choose to drive to Burlington or Syracuse, most people who live here decide to give birth at one of our local hospitals. Lucky for you, our doulas at New Day Doula are available to support you at any of the local hospitals or even at your home if you have a licensed midwife attending!
Rainbow and Mary not only support women planning to give birth at Canton-Potsdam Hospital, but we also travel to Massena Memorial Hospital, Ogdensburg's Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center, and even Alice Hyde Medical Center in Malone. We can either meet you at your home during early labor and leave for the hospital when you're ready, or we can meet you at the hospital. Like every pregnancy, every labor is different, and we make sure each client gets the individualized care that she deserves.
If you are planning a home birth, we can also support you! While your midwife and assistant are tending to your and your baby's medical needs, your doula will make sure you're comfortable and getting everything you need. No matter where you give birth, you still have the incredible task of birthing your baby ahead of you. We want to make sure your experience is as close to what you envisioned as possible!
New Day Doula
Rainbow and Mary share thoughts on pregnancy, birth, and the parenting journey.