Tuesday, January 28, 2014

What I'm doing to Prep for Labor

Kind of a funny slash brutally honest post and title but I've been getting a few questions from friends/family about what I'm doing to prepare mentally, physically and spiritually for Baby Kellen. So I thought maybe posting something on here would be appropriate! Plus I can use it to refer back to for later purposes (clarification--that's not me saying I want to pop out more babies after this one right away...trust me, I've not even thought about a second one yet ha ha sorry grandmas).

Anyway, here are some of the things I've been consciously making an effort to do to prepare myself for labor. I've divided it up under the categories Physical and Mental/Spiritual to keep it simple. I'll give credit to where credit is due also!


Physical Prep-Work:

Exercising 150 min Total Per Week: That's seriously only a whopping 30 min out of your day. I go walking around a local park for a few miles while listening to sermons via my i-pod, in the beginning of my pregnancy I joined a swim club to swim laps, go Hiking with the hubby or friends and I've really gotten into Snowshoeing. I've found things that are fun, that I enjoy doing and get me moving! On super cold days (like today) where I can't go outside cause of windchill, I'll turn on a fun movie/tv show and maybe do some lunges, jump-rope, anything that gets me moving some way. Basically, I'm exercising so I can build muscle strength and endurance for when I'll most need it ('labor day'). And on the plus side, I've been told by other fit mom's or mama's-to-be that they didn't gain anything extra that they didn't need to during their pregnancy and it was easier for them to get back to a comfortable, healthy weight since they were already in shape.

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Yoga: I know it's not for everyone but I really fell in love with this 'sport' last year during my Spring Semester of college Junior Year. It seriously fixed my back and helped me build a ton of strength everywhere (and it's relaxing too). There were tons of perks when I wasn't pregnant so I figured there could only be more perks to it while being pregnant. I'm currently enrolled in an hour class that happens 1x a week and it's been really great in building upper and lower body strength. The Warrior poses really help build leg muscles and it's incredible what I can still do with this big belly in front of me still! On my own time, I do yoga now maybe 1-2x a week for maybe 10 min. Cat/Cow Pose, for example, has really helped save my lower back from those annoying dull aches and even helped with round ligament pain I've experienced. Plus it gentle rocks baby and I like to do about 10 of these before I go to sleep because it gently rocks Kellen to sleep (funny huh?), into a comfy position and that means this mama gets more sleep and gets kicked wayyyyy less throughout the night. Here's some other poses that I've done (Click the link)...http://www.pinterest.com/pin/178877416423789945/

10-15 Squats Per Day:  I picked up doing this everyday from the Bradley Method's Book "The Bradley Way" by Susan McCutcheon. I'm a little embarrassed to admit that at first I couldn't squat without falling over or falling flat on my bum. But now that I make it a point to do them every day, breaking it up into 5 squats 3x a day, I can do them without help and can even stay in the squat position for a long while (all though it kind of makes me feel like Tarzan just squatting there like he does in the Disney movie when he's on trees). I am doing squats to build muscle and lower body strength again for 'labor day' and because the squat is one of the positions recommended by the Bradley Method for pushing (so sorry for tmi but hey, it's part of life and how do you think you got here?).

Eating Well: When I found out I was pregnant, the pregnancy thing did not suddenly become my license to eat crap and a lot of it. Nope. If anything, I just became more aware. My portion sizes have stayed the same for the most part and I've debunked the lie that 'you're eating for 2'. Seriously? Would you try and feed a baby the same portions you do yourself? Not a chance--they couldn't do it. I also snack a lot more in between meals now. I try and make sure I have veggies in every meal, I snack on lots of fruit for snacks and Ben and I make it a point to eat at home. We really just don't go out. Every once in a while we will but it's not a regular thing, and when we do I don't beat myself up about it because I know it's okay in moderation. Overall though I make sure I'm eating tons of fruits and veggies (Bananas and cuties for example have been great go-to-snacks) and I'm also making sure to drink lots and lots of water and eat protein in every meal. Yogurt has been a great source of protein for me in the morning for breakfast or eggs. Basically I'm not sitting on the couch eating potatoe chips, crap tons of carbs or eating tons of sugary, creamy, greasy things. I believe after lots of stuff I've read through different mom blogs and pregnancy books that you can have a great labor if you eat well! Check out some of these smoothies I've made also (they're loaded with awesome stuff like oats, yogurts, different fruits and spinach, which you can't taste if you make them right):
Click here to view some Rocking Smoothies

Also, here's some of the guidelines I've been following from the Bradley Method for Eating Well:
This is the Bradley Method recommended pregnancy diet. I don't follow it exactly, but I try to generally stick to it.

**SIDE NOTE:  On the note of Eating Well, I found something sort of funny online that I also figured I'd try out. This one mom posted about how she believes eating 6-8 Dates a night will help your labor go a lot smoother and potentially faster (according to the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology). I know it sounds 'sketch' but I figure dates a good for you so there's not much I have to lose. Also I'm making it a point to eat pineapple now, as I've heard that also helps with labor (I will spare you of details as to 'how specifically' that you didn't want to know and just provide the link for you if you do). Click these links to read more: 

http://thehumbledhomemaker.com/2012/08/7-ways-to-naturally-induce-labor.html


http://luckytwenty-eight.blogspot.com/2013/07/tips-for-achieving-unmedicated-birth.html



Mental/Spiritual Prep-Work:

Believing and Trusting that God Designed my Body for this Work: It was a hard concept for me to grasp at first after all the TV shows and movies I'd seen where there's the lady in labor, screaming and cursing on the hospital bed. It looked awful and I always asked myself "Why do we keep having babies? Who keeps tricking us into doing this year after year?". But when I identified the problem, it made sense--I think many don't realize that women were built for this kind of work or labor. Also, women have been doing it for 100's of years and make it through so why can't I? And I think that has a lot to do with the fact that when people don't realize this, they get scared naturally (like I was). I admit I was scared of labor up until I started doing tons and tons of research on it. The more I began to know, the more I realized how God designed my body for this and I was built for it. Therefore, I realized I needed to put my trust in Him and His design in order to say 'no' to being afraid. Ultimately, when I realized I need to put my trust in Jesus, my fears melted away and now I can confidently say that no matter what happens He is still Lord and His love for me is great.

Prayer: I pray almost everyday for Kellen and over my upcoming labor with him. I figure that blessings come through praying and inquiring of God so why not make it a point to do that? I read Pslams over Kellen at night with Ben, if I'm worried or unsure about something going on in pregnancy or about something that could happen during labor I turn to prayer and I pray because it helps me "just be still".

Relaxation Time& Deep, Rhythmic Breathing: These go hand-in-hand. I make it a point to set aside at least 15 min of some sort of quiet time a few times throughout the week. I do this mostly by taking a bubble bath (I love relaxing in warm water). When I do this, I listen to the sound of my breath and clear my head. Also I take time to pray while doing this (as mentioned above). I sometimes will turn on relaxing 'spa music' on my pandora to help set the tone. I got this advice from the Bradley Method also because I've been learning about how in order to prepare for labor it's important to know how to relax. By doing these things, I'm not only de-stressing but also am learning how to better relax so I don't fight labor or panic during it.


Well, there you have it. That's what I've been doing and it's been a fun process and very educational at that, to the point where I think I'll continue most all of these post-pregnancy as many now have become habits. Obviously because I've not had a baby before I'm no expert and won't consider myself an expert even after I've had Kellen but I do think that doing these things are important and have helped me in so many ways I couldn't have imagined. 

Getting very excited to meet my little ray of 'Son-Shine',

Sarah


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