As the end of our course emerged we spent some time recapping what we had already been through in the other two weeks, whilst also solidifying some of the preferences. This week we talked some more about what we think our preferences might look like, Joss’ super important role on the day and also, the all important pelvic floor.
Here is my diary for week three:
So I talked about this in my previous blog, but I think it’s important to cover again as during this week we thought about it in a bit more detail. Joss and I had started researching and noting down some preferences and it’s important to do that together as although I will be the one labouring, it is still very much Joss child that I am bringing into the world and we should start to agree and make decisions as a parenting couple.
Again, if you don’t know where to start with birth preferences, this list from The Calm Birth School is actually really handy.
Your pelvic floor
So earlier in my pregnancy I did a pregnancy pilates course that focused on the pelvic floor and getting it as strong as possible. Now, you have probably heard a lot about your pelvic floor if you are a woman, but I didn’t really understand the importance of it until I got pregnant (oh my god, the need to be able to hold your pee is real!) If you don’t want to do something like pilates and would rather stay home and practice your exercises, the best thing is that you can do it anywhere. And a bonus is that if you have a birthing ball you can do rocking motions that also help strengthen it and they are all super easy to do in front of the TV. There are plenty of youtube videos and online tutorials on the best way to do them, also some handy apps you can download.
The perineal massage
Now this is something I definitely did not know about until I started following mums to be on Instagram and the whole world was talking about Expert Midwife’s Peri Prep Your Bits (and no it’s nothing to do with Nandos). A perineal massage is something they recommend for pregnant women to do from about 34 weeks pregnant and is a simple massage that can be done daily or a few times a week to help loosen your perineum to help with the birth.
The Expert Midwife site does have a great explanation for how to do it properly without it being uncomfortable. You can also use things like almond oil, jojoba or olive oil if you don’t want to splash out on one of the branded ones. It’s not essential but I have heard good things and of course it’s not for everyone and I am sure will weird some people out, but it’s something we discussed so I thought I would share.
This was something we talked about during our session as there is research to show that once babies are born they react to voices, sounds, stories and music that they heard whilst in your tummy. What a lovely thought. Babies can also distinguish the voice of their parents and even their touch, so whilst you might feel like you sound silly talking out loud to the bump, it is important. It is also great to play the hypnobirthing tracks out loud rather than through headphones as baby can then also listen and enjoy the relaxation with you. They may even settle to those sounds after they are born.
Babies will also know the difference between yours and your partner’s touch vs a stranger giving your belly a rub. I can personally vouch for this as whenever Joss holds his hand on my belly she will actively move her body in my tummy to sit under his hand, without fail. She doesn’t do that for anyone else, not even my hand.
In addition Kate told us that there is research to show that babies of mums who were early risers followed that pattern when they were born and those whose mothers slept late were then themselves late sleepers. I might spend my maternity leave purposely sleeping in until 10am if that’s the case!
One thing we have talked about in every session but I haven’t noted down yet in a diary is the impact of soothing strokes. This is where you get your partner to use the palms of their hands or finger tips to soothe you by very lightly stroking you on your arms, neck, shoulder etc - this is a great way of stimulating those all important endorphins.
We have yet to master this one as I am super ticklish, but if it works for you then go for it.
And here are the breathing techniques I have been learning again, just in case you wanted to remind yourself.
The Calm Birth School breathing: In for four, out for eight – all through the nose if possible. It takes some getting used to, I can make it to six at the moment, but I am sure practice makes perfect. I have been practising in the car on the way to work whilst listening to the Happy Mum, Happy Baby podcasts (which I highly recommend by the way)
Wave Breathing: This is a visualisation one, if you can. Imagine a wave or a surge of energy and take a deep breath in through the nose for seven, and then out through the mouth for seven. I am trying to practice this one in the mornings whilst I get ready for work, and I have heard it’s also a fab one to try when you are experiencing braxton hicks (which I haven’t yet).
If you want to know more about hypnobirthing or Kate you can find it all here. I will be documenting our four week course in a weekly diary, so keep popping back if you want to know what we are learning each week.
Fabulous photos by Fordtography