Pregnancy After IVF: Preparing My Mind and Body For Un-medicated Birth.

Even though my child was conceived using pretty much all of the current science and medical interventions possible, I am not someone that typically goes to the doctor. Besides having “unexplained infertility” I have no other medical conditions. My health is excellent, and my body is strong.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional and no information contained in this post should be considered medical advice. This is all my personal opinion.

I am planning on having a home birth, with a certified midwife. To many people, they think its crazy, unsafe, and/or pointless. Why would anyone choose to do this??

HOW a woman births is very much a personal choice and there is no RIGHT or WRONG. (The only thing I believe is WRONG is if a woman CHOOSES an un-medicated “natural” birth and is “forced” to undergo several medical interventions. – which is pretty common in some hospitals)

  1. It’s more natural. – I believe humans, like all other mammals, are designed to give birth with minimal assistance and with out medical interventions. This goes against our “Birth Culture” in the US where girls are taught to FEAR childbirth and rely heavily on the doctors because “birthing is dangerous”.
  2. Hospitals are for sick/injured people. I am neither, my baby is neither. Doctors are trained to administer medical interventions to manage births so they proceed in a manner that is familiar to them, and fits with their acceptable time-frames. Even if you go to the hospital with a healthy, low risk pregnancy, the odds of having a C-section are around 30%, some hospitals are even significantly higher than that. This is because of a PROTOCOL that doctors are taught, which some call the “Labor Funnel” or “Cascade of Interventions”.
This Image was taken from a free webinar offered by Brownroots.com “love your labor” program.

3. I crave the bonding between baby and hubby, and powerful experience of birthing my own baby.

4. I prefer privacy and and value independence. I don’t want to go where I’m not allowed to eat or drink for hours on end, where I’m stripped of my clothes and have strangers coming in and out of my room at all hours of the day/night. The fact that I may have never even met the doctor that will “deliver” my baby is completely unacceptable to me. I don’t feel comfortable knowing, that in my most vunerable time, I may be pressured/offered to get drugs, or even threaten emergency surgery if my labor doesn’t progress in a timely fashion.

OF COURSE I am glad that hospitals are there, and surgeons are available to help, when births are high risk and interventions are needed. But the truth is, most of the time, emergencies can be prevented with the proper care and knowledge of that mother and midwife.

Preparation Is Necessary!

So what am I doing? Reading, listening, learning as much as humanly possible. If I want a safe and efficient birth, I need to work towards that goal DAILY.

There are two main aspects to the preparations : MIND & BODY.

Body Preparations

As I am still learning, more and more information, I am adding to my practices in body preparations. It’s quite different switching from “infertile” to pregnant. The whole first trimester was like nothing was different, now I’m towards the end of my second trimester and the bump is changing things.

  1. Eating a healthy diet- Pregnancy is not an excuse to “eat for two” or eat what ever you want. Moderation is key. Minimizing processed foods/simple carbs, eating a variety of vegetables, protein and healthy fats and a small/moderate amount of complex carbohydrates will keep your body running efficiently. WHAT I DO: Coffee with almond milk for breakfast or green tea, Hardboiled egg @ 10 AM, Lunch at noon – Protein shake with chia seeds and flax seeds, Dinner at 7 pm protein, veggies, salad, sometimes brown rice. Dessert 85% dark chocolate square.
  1. Drinking A LOT of water. Depending on your body size you should be drinking .5/1oz of water per pound of body weight. The list is farrrrr too long to even put why you need to drink enough water. Fruit Juice/ soda / sweetened beverages are not a healthy way to hydrate!!! WHAT I DO: I have two stainless steel water bottles that I fill each morning, I add “concentrace” drops for extra trace minerals. I drink these through out the day, it is equal to two liters.
  2. Walking – it is important to keep your body active, walking regularly is gentle enough to be safe for you and baby, and “strenuous” enough to keep your heart and other muscles strong. According to the NHS 2 hours and 30 minutes a week is the goal, that’s about 22 minutes a day, or can be divided how ever you need through out the week. WHAT I DO: Walk on my lunch break at work for 30+ minutes 4x week, Walk on the treadmill at home 2 days a week for 20 – 30 minutes. Go for a Hike with the dogs once a week for about an hour.
  3. Pelvic floor excercises – “Kegels”, being able to control your pelvic muscles will be very important during labor. Having well toned pelvic floor muscles will make for a smooth and efficient birth while reducing the risk for tearing and other uterine problems postpartum. Having a strong pelvic floor will also reduce unwanted bladder release and decrease pain that some women feel during late pregnancy. WHAT I DO : “Pregnancy” App has a section for Kegel excercises, that guide me every day and increase time every day and track progress, I do these excersises 3 -5 times per week, but I am working on getting them done daily!
  4. Yoga / Stretching / proper posture. AVOID MANY CORE EXCERCISES AND TWISTING to prevent excessive abdominal splitting- Keeping your body limber and in proper alignment will help with proper baby positioning, and allow your body to work smoothly and efficiently when time of birth comes. This also helps prevent pain associated with pregnancy and with postpartum recovery. WHAT I DO: 30 – 60 minutes 2- 3 x per week. “theyogacollective.com” has tons of videos you can watch from home, Ive been using this for 2 years now. You usually can get a groupon for a year membership for $15 – and sometimes an additional 20% off too. WAYYYY cheaper and more convenient than actually going to to a gym or yoga studio and they have all skill ranges.

Mind Preparations

This is the new part for me. I am familiar with the birthing process scientifically, but not experienced at all knowing what goes into having a smooth , effective, pain free labor.

  1. Reading – I am currently reading: Hypnobrithing Home study course manual. Yoga Mama, Yoga baby. DreamBirth trasnsforming the journey of childbirth through imagery. All rented for free Ebooks from my local library on Hoopla app
  2. Listening – “Preparing for childbirth: Guided Imagery excercises to ease labor and delivery” an audiobook rented from my local library on Overdrive app. “Mind The Bump” – free app with pregnancy meditations. I’ve also watched a few free webinars, one by Corrne Brown (brownroots.com) and one from Cathrine Middlebrooks about diastasis recti.
  3. Learning – about the scientific process of birth, what to expect and how to manage expectations. Learning about others positive birth experiences and seeing that it IS POSSIBLE and LIKELY with adequate preparations.
  4. Releasing Fear – creating a mantra for myself and practicing releasing tension.
  5. Preparing for postpartum – I haven’t gotten here quite yet but this should help feel at ease knowing that things are in place for when baby arrives.

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