Over the years I have often found myself comparing birth preparation in the same way that you would prepare for a marathon. Now don’t get me wrong, I know that many of you have never run a marathon and probably never will (myself included) but a marathon is merely a long-lasting or challenging task or event of a special kind. I am sure that there is something that you have done in the past that fits that description. It could even refer to a more sedentary task like studying for a degree or learning a language. Whatever it was though, it required your focused attention and learning and practicing new skills. It took time and dedicated effort but the rewards were a sense of pride and achievement for persevering at something that didn’t always feel like fun.
Preparing for birth is a bit like that. I believe wholeheartedly that effective preparation significantly increases the likelihood of a safe and gentle birth for both mother and baby. Good preparation helps you to prepare for the unexpected and can enable you to adjust yourself and your expectations if circumstances change.
I believe that effective preparation includes adjustments and changes in all aspects of your life. If you were really training for a marathon you would have a very definite training regime focused on gradually exercising your body and mind appropriately to increase your physical and mental flexibility and stamina. And so it should be for your birth.
You would never consider running the London marathon without doing any training would you? Imagine just pitching up at the start line without reading up on the route but thinking that you will just try and see how long you can hold out. Is it realistic to think that there will be people along the way to tell you where to go? Imagine trying to run 42km with no experience of long distance running and no idea of how to conserve your energy or how to cope with the hills. Don’t you think that at some stage you are going to get exhausted and want to quit? Apply that mindset to your birth and imagine the consequences?
Being prepared means having a goal and having a plan. Being prepared means accepting that it is going to be challenging and intense but with tools to guide you a supportive team around you. Being prepared means knowing about the steep hills and unexpected curves but reassured that you are equipped to deal with them.
The 3 essential elements of effective birth preparation are body, mind and breath.
Preparing your body includes eating healthy nutritious foods to support your pregnancy, a healthy weight gain of 12- 15 kg and a dedicated activity program to build strength, stamina and flexibility. I recommend prenatal yoga because it focuses on body, mind and breath all at the same time.
Preparing your mind includes addressing both the left brain which is focused on learning facts and analyzing information, and the right brain which is the emotional home of all your beliefs, expectations and possibly fear.
Preparing your breath may sound strange but there are 3 essential breathing techniques that will radically alter the way you experience the intensity of sensations of labor. They are easy to learn and should be practiced daily from at least 28 weeks of pregnancy (but the sooner the better.)
All of these aspects are included in the comprehensive courses and packages that I offer and I am there to support you every step of the way.