Now that I’m 34 weeks old, I’m in the home stretch! My mother likes to tell me that the countdown is underway.
I can’t believe our baby will be here in just over 6 weeks, if he arrives on schedule. Although he may decide to be an early-bird and arrive before his due date, hence why I’m currently trying to get my hospital bag all set and ready to go just in case. My hospital bag is the last thing that I need to get organised now.
We have all of the essentials that we will need for his arrival, plus lots of not-in-the-budget essentials too…ooops! I keep seeing so many cute things that I just can’t help but buy. At the moment I’m focusing on getting myself ready for the birth and sorting out my postpartum care too. My midwife appointment is later this week so I’m really looking forward to hearing his strong heartbeat.
In an effort to get me in the right frame of mind for labour and birth I attended my first antenatal class last week. To be perfectly honest, since it was so late in the day to be looking for classes I was considering not even bothering and going it alone.
Also, neither my mum or my nan, who’s had eight children, never had antenatal classes at all. It all sounds very old skool, but whenever I asked other mothers who had taken classes if they actually used any of the techniques they had been taught they all said no! Antenatal classes aren’t cheap either so it was also the case of thinking perhaps the money would be better spent elsewhere.
Although they all agreed that it was lovely meeting other mamas who were due around the same time to share their anxieties and experiences with, many of which remained friends after birth.
There is always that fear of going into something unprepared and despite reading lots of natural baby birthing books and blogs I still had some concerns and needed some reassurance. I found a holistic active birthing class by Lazy Daisy which concentrates on the physical and mental readiness of birth by using movement and birth hypnosis.
It’s a weekly course that runs for 6 weeks in total, I went to my first class last week and really enjoyed it. The sound of active labour appealed as it means that I will have the freedom to move around the room to find more comfortable positions, which is generally how I handled period pains during the night.
Obviously, I understand that labour pain is far more intense than period pain, but I thought that maybe the same principle may apply and moving around may help.
The holistic classes are based on a unique set of active movements done on a yoga mat with birth breathing techniques to create a sense of calm and confidence. Each movement allows you to visualise each contraction and develops your intuitive muscle memory, so you go into labour and actually use the techniques that you were taught. They also look at the use of birth balls and water during labour.
Unfortunately, the couples workshop is running too late for my pregnancy, so I attended the ladies only birthing class. I would have preferred to have Alfie there with me, but we talked about the techniques after the class and I have a hypnobirthing video which I got in last months Project B box that we’re planning on watching together.
Having said that, it was great meeting supportive ladies that were all at similar stages as me and no one was afraid to get involved and make fools of themselves with some of the on-all-fours movements.
To get ready for birth and labour I’ve been doing my kegels and drinking raspberry leaf tea, both of which are supposed to help with labour and strengthening the uterine muscles ready for birth. There are contradictory reports about drinking raspberry tea, but I think anything is worth a go and it’s success seems to be unique to each birth.
I’ve also been using this natural perineum massage oil by Weleda, not the most glamorous of things to do, but it was recommended to me. I’ve also bought some natural aromatherapy candles and massage oil to help relax me before and during labour too.
After the class I’ve felt so much more prepared and more positive about labour – the affirmations used throughout the class definitely helped there! I now feel more self-assured on how to have a comfortable natural labour. Women’s bodies are biologically designed to give birth and I now have more confidence that my body knows what to do.
The holistic techniques are there as support to create a relaxed environment and to get the best out of every contraction to help me meet my baby boy.
If you are currently pregnant or had a baby did you go to antenatal classes? What type of class did/do you go to? How helpful were they during labour and birth?
Those of you not expecting, would you be looking to take antenatal classes?
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