There is no perfect way to prepare for the birth of a baby, and no matter how much we do, there is always a chance things won’t go to plan. Some things to think about are you pre-natal care, nutrition and water intake, the relationship you have with your baby’s father or your birth partner, and the environment you want around you when you give birth to your baby.
Before you even get pregnant you should go to the doctor and explain that you are trying, and ask for tests to check your immunity. You may need a booster dose of some vaccines just to make sure, as some diseases could be very harmful to your baby when pregnant e.g. rubella. It’s also important to get tested for sexually transmitted diseases as some of these can be transferred to your baby during childbirth, so you can get treated for them first to reduce the risk of this happening. You should also start taking folic acid supplements before you get pregnant to prevent neural tube defects like spina bifida.
It’s important to attend prenatal appointments with your midwife or doctor during pregnancy as scheduled, and more regular appointments in the last month of pregnancy to check the baby’s size and position.
During these visits the midwife will check your blood pressure and urine to make sure that you don’t have high levels of protein or sugar in your pee to rule out eclampsia and diabetes. They will also monitor your iron levels and weight gain. Your midwife may present you with options for childbirth, explain different types of providers etc, but you can also do your own research and hire a doula to ensure that you are getting all the information to make informed choices.
In Spiritual Midwifery, Ina May discusses the use of prenatal roham. If your blood is Rh negative and your partners is RH positive, then chances are your baby will be RH positive. They will test you periodically for antibodies. Ina May doesn’t believe in the use of the prenatal rhogam for Rh negative mothers as she doesnt think the scientific evidence indicating its use is persuasive. However this fourth edition was published in 2002 so there have been more studies since then.
I tried to find some more research but its extremely hard to prove that the rhogam injection prevents the adverse effects that could occur.
Check out these links for more information:
I found one particularly convincing article that explains why getting the rhogam shot is really important and if your baby is Rh positive (and you are RH negative) you should not refuse it:
Nutrition and Water Intake
Eating lots of leafy vegetables, dairy, nuts, legumes, sources of iron, calcium, and taking supplements is important when you are pregnant to provide the nutrients to your baby. It’s also important to drink lots of water, even if that means having to pee a lot. Check out my previous post on Nutrition in Pregnancy.
Relationship with Birth Partner
Preparing for birth is a physical and emotional experience for both the mother and her partner. It’s especially important for partners to feel supported and involved in the process and the best way for them to do that is build a spiritual and emotional connection with their partner before birth. You can do this by making time for intimacy, practicing breathing techniques together, giving her massages and making sure she is eating well.
Pregnancy is a very vulnerable time for women so it’s important that they feel like you have their back and they will trust you to be their advocate and companion during labour. It’s all the little things that make a difference like tying her shoelaces when she can’t bend anymore, talking to the baby together while it is inside her tummy, making sure she drinks enough water and making her feel loved and secure about the changes happening to her body.
It’s important to think about the environment you want around you when you are giving birth. Think of it as building a nest. You want it to be a safe secure warm place to labour without feeling vulnerable. Most mammals give birth at night as its safer and out of sight of predators. A cat will find a quiet dark corner of the house to have her litter uninterrupted. Similarly, we also need to feel safe and surrounded by good vibes only when giving birth. It’s important to choose a provider you trust and environment you feel safe it. If you are in hospital or a birthing room, you can make it feel more homey with familiar smells, music, dimmed lighting, and your favourite quotes on the wall. Also think about who you want around you during childbirth. If you feel like someone may not have the right energy or be supportive of you in labour, don’t let them attend your birth. Similarly, if you have other young children, they may get scared watching the birth and disrupt the flow of energy and oxytocin in the room. It’s probably best to arrange for someone who can look after them while you are in labour.
Once the baby is born there are a lot of other things to think about like breastfeeding, your home environment, clothes, nappies, etc. It’s a good idea to get most of this done before the baby is born so that after the birth you can focus on developing your bond with your baby and breastfeeding.
Cover Image by Alba Roma from Pixabay
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