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Birth

I’ve been going to births for over 10 years; here’s how I prepared for my own.

2016 was my tenth year of working as a birth doula, and the year that I finally gave birth. Here’s the post that I wrote as my due time approached. 

I’ve helped a lot of women and their loved ones prepare for birth, and now that it’s my turn, a lot of people are asking me what I’m doing to get ready for my own. So, other than trying not to eat my stash of labour snacks, here’s what I’ve been up to:

Movement.

I’m well aware of how a baby’s position can affect a labour and birth. I also know that the key to a well-positioned baby is having a balanced pelvis. Thankfully, I did *a lot* of work on my pelvis pre-pregnancy, back when I used to get extreme period pain, and I believe that’s helped me to have a healthy pregnancy (our baby has also been head down and persistently LOA – the ideal position – since around twenty weeks).

That being said, I don’t want to drop the ball so here’s what I’m currently doing:

  • Forward-leaning inversion (daily), to stretch and release the utero-sacral ligament.
  • Side-lying release (twice per week), to relieve tension and torsion in the pelvic floor.
  • Rebozo sifting (weekly), to relax the ligaments, relax me and our baby.
  • 3-5 mile walk (twice per week at the moment and shorter daily walks the rest of the time), for too many reasons to list. I tend to walk in minimal footwear which stops my hips and bump from falling forwards and also helps to lengthen my psoas.
  • Calf stretches, lunges and squats (daily), for all these really really good reasons.
  • Nadia Narain’s pregnancy yoga. I’m at the stage where travelling to North London isn’t very appealing, even for an amazing yoga class, so I’m glad Nadia has this great DVD for me to use at home (it’s also available to download on itunes).

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Holding on and letting go

Ok, ok, so I’ve been slacker recently and haven’t been posting as regularly as I’d like to. No, I haven’t been vegetating on my sofa, I’ve spent the last month trying to finish the last of my course work, and have been kept busy with births too. Bit by bit, stress has found its way into my body (my calves of all places), and by the tail end of last week I was struggling to walk up and down stairs without yelping. With another birth approaching, I knew I had to take some action, because a) I don’t like being in pain, and b) what good is a stressed out doula who can’t do gymnastics with you in labour?

Thankfully, I met the lovely Graham Stones at a recent workshop, and I had a sense that he would be the right person to sort out my aching body. Boy was I right. As a massage therapist, I find it hard to shut off and enjoy a massage, but within moments, I knew that I was in experienced hands, and that I could trust him. What followed was a very caring, dynamic, and powerful treatment. As I started to let go of the accumulated tension, I found myself drawing parallels between my treatment and my experiences as a doula: (more…)