When I first had my baby, one of my very good friends got pregnant, and I just wanted to share with her all of my tips. Everyone’s experience is different, because everyone has a different situation, but here are my top tips for pregnancy and birth!
Top Tips for Pregnant Moms on Pregnancy and Childbirth
Suspend all judgement for other Moms!
Motherhood has taught me to really have very little judgement towards others in their Parenthood journey. Parenthood is so hard, and it doesn’t come with a manual! You really have to do what is right for you and your partner. Just be grateful for any advantages you have!
Eat dates for a faster Labor & Delivery!
This might is very hippy dippy (which I kind of am), but I ate 7 dates a day in my last few weeks of pregnancy after being told it can shorten your labor. I really like the evidence based birth website. I am not sure if it’s true, but I did have the shortest birth out of all the girls in my birth class (4 of us, so not a huge sample size). My midwife also said I had the best birth of all of them, which is insane to me because birth is so hard.
The “early labor” period is often not bad!
My labor started just after I woke up. If I hadn’t just woken up, I have heard to tip to sleep, rest, and maybe eat something early on in the labor. Later when contractions are more intense or if you are at a hospital, you can’t eat or rest as much. Often times, women just get too tired so resting early on is important. I think labor didn’t start getting really tough until the 6-9 hour mark after I was having contractions., but everyone’s birth story is different!
Keep Walking during Pregnancy!
I walked all the way to the day I had the baby. I also drank raspberry leaf tea in the last couple weeks … kind of a lot of it. When you start trying to get labor going, you might try a lot of things!
You might have a tear during Birth
I am hesitant to mention this, because it feels private but I had a lot of fear around tearing and lasting damage after birth that I wanted to include it. I had a second degree tear after the birth. After a few months, I felt completely back to normal with no lasting damages.
Work through your Fears before Birth
I think it is good to work through your fears about birth before you go into labor, so you fully understand where that fear is coming from and the specifics about it. For example, I was scared of birth, but I wasn’t scared of the pain. The pain won’t kill me. I was scared of having a c section, but when I really thought about it… I feel lucky because previously in childbirth without a c section as an option, the mother or babies lives would be in danger. You might be the opposite of me, and be scared of pain and really want a C Section, and that is valid too. Often times what happens is out of your control, as well. You can just do your best to set yourself up for success.
My self talk was viewing myself as a failure if I had a C Section, but no one else would think that. Everyone else in my life just wants me and my baby to be okay. That was just a pressure I was putting on myself.
Delay Cord Clamping and Skin to Skin if possible
After a vaginal birth, it was important to me to wait till the cord stopped pumping blood. We actually waited about an hour before cutting the cord with Leo, and just left it while he sat on my chest skin to skin. This may be an easier request since I was in a Birth Center versus a hospital. I felt tired and dehydrated during this time and drank a lot of Gatorade during and after the birth. I also breastfed early on and the midwives were and to help me that first time.
Breastfeeding is hard
Breastfeeding is hard for everyone, and impossible for some. I studied some tips on breastfeeding beforehand which I recommend. Kellymom is a great website resource. Friends are also an incredible resource if you know of someone who also breastfed. If breastfeeding is really important to you, and you have issues early on, I definitely recommend contacting a lactation consultant early on to help get you started. I think early intervention is really helpful. I know a lot of moms struggle with this.
After Birth Recovery is tough!
The recovery time is hard on you too! I can’t speak to the challenges of a c section recovery (probably even harder!) but for a vaginal recovery… I recommend the diapers/big pad underwear for a few days or a week until things lighten up and then switching to pads. I had some soreness and itchiness from the stitches, and buying the hospital style cold packs on Amazon to put in my underwear really helped me to sleep. Too much Information!
You might cry…like A LOT after Birth
In those first weeks (months?) after Birth, I was so emotional during this first week and struggled a lot after with adjusting to this new life that was no longer about me and all about this other human. At first, it was so difficult for me to even take a shower. But the first week I do feel like you go through a time where you cry a lot.
Advocate for yourself during and after Birth
You might be a very nice flexible person, but you have to advocate for yourself during this time. If someone wants to visit and you don’t want to them to, tell your partner to tell them you are too tired or you and the baby are sleeping and come another day. Don’t feel bad about it. Do what’s best for you. This might have been even harder for me, because I went home the day the baby was born, so I saw people very quickly without the support from the hospital. It was hard to even go for walks for weeks if not months, but I tried to as soon as I could because I felt like I needed to get out of the house with the baby, but I was scared to go in public too much around germs.
Have Baby Sleep in your Room with you after Birth
If you are hoping to breastfeed, I recommend bringing baby in the room with you. I didn’t use any pacifiers or bottles early on to not risk nipple confusion. One of those first nights it felt like Leo was awake all night constantly feeding (often called cluster feeding), and I think that is a common process where baby is sending a message to your body that baby is here and starting your milk coming in.
Set Expectations of what you are hoping your spouse can help with after the Birth
This is hard, because you don’t know exactly, but I recommend telling your partner to bring you food and water during these early times is important. Snack bars can be really easy too.
I think having a child is really hard on a marriage because you are both so tired and there’s not enough time to do everything and things fall through the cracks. Ladies, you will probably do way more with the baby and be exhausted and want a break and your husband won’t be as helpful as you’d like. I’ve learned to nicely (that’s the goal) ask when I need help instead of expecting him to realize that I need help and help me.
Motherhood made me feel crazy. You feel so tired like you need a break , but as soon as you have to leave to go to work you are crying about having to leave them. It is so easy to fall into gender roles of the mom being the caregiver after you have a baby, especially when you are breastfeeding.
I had a baby that only wanted to be with me, Mom, and I often felt resentful towards my husband because he went back to work, and had his old life while I was spending every moment of my life (day and night) taking care of the baby. My husband wasn’t relaxing or avoiding any duties- he was helping take out the trash, make us some dinner, clean the dishes, shower, etc. It just felt like I was doing 90 percent of the baby duties. You will love seeing your spouse love that baby though. It is one of the best parts!
Women all over the world have given birth! Women are amazing powerful creatures!
It is incredible that so many women have given birth. Just remember how amazing medicine is and how many women around the world have given birth. Women are incredible, because they can grow a child and deliver it into this world then feed the baby all themselves! Women have super powers.
Feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions for me! Always, Ask your Doctor before taking any medical advice!