A new day has come where many hospitals are now welcoming a fleet of skilled and well trained birth professionals called, “the doulas”. Doula is a Greek term meaning “woman who serves” it was appropriated to describe the women who lend themselves to serve birthing mothers. A once marginalized profession, these birth workers are now increasing in numbers and popularity. When I was pregnant with my son Fulano nearly 12 years ago, I didn’t know what a doula was, today I am one of the most sought after doulas in NYC serving clientele from the fashion, entertainment, beauty, and sports industries through my maternity lifestyle company- Mama Glow. Our practice is booming with blossoming bellies, and new newborn babies. What I’ve learned over the years is that women just want to feel like someone is holding their hand through the process and that is our goal at Mama Glow. Your pregnancy is a unique experience and a rite of passage- and your birth is a celebration. I’ve been around the (hospital) block a few times and now I’m dishing my top tips for a fabulous pregnancy.
7 Savvy Tips for a Rockin’ Pregnancy & Birth
Hire a labor doula– A doula or birth coach is an enriching part of your birth team. She offers continuous support for the laboring mother and these coaches have deep wisdom, comfort, and encouragement to offer as well as some nifty tricks that come in handy like nipple stimulation, acupressure, and medicinal herbs. Doulas help liaise between the doctors, nurses, and your partner during the birth process and serve as educators, advocates, and cheerleaders for the laboring mother. Doulas help facilitate an easier birth. In fact, having one present at your birth can cut your laboring time by 50 percent!
Make a plan- then scrap it! One of the most informative exercises is the birth plan/birth preferences exercise. This allows you to get clear on what you want the birth experience to be. You and your partner can envision your ideal scenario and communicate that to your doctor and doula. Once you’ve made the plan- the key is letting go and learning to go with the flow. Birth is unpredictable but it’s nice to have a map of where you are going- even if you detour.
Play with toys- This is not what you think. Spice up your bedroom magic with a trip to the “toy store.” I’ve sent numerous clients to Toys in Babeland and Kiki de Montparnase to purchase a special adult toy of their liking as vibrators serves a really great purpose. Believe it or not, vibrators are great to use during childbirth. The pleasurable sensation shuts off the pain receptors. During contractions a woman can use a vibrator for relief, to take the edge off the contractions and experience a more pleasurable birth. Just another interesting thing to pack in your birth bag.
Be Selfish- Make time for your own self care. This is mandatory. “Please put on your safety mask first, before assisting others” does that sound familiar? When you take time to relax, get a massage, have your hair blown out, take a warm bath by candle light, read a good book, it’s like like hitting control, alt, delete and rebooting! Recharging the batteries is so important when we are taking care of everything and everyone else. Remember- mother yourself first!
Find your Sister Circle– When you have a baby one of the biggest challenges for moms is asking for help. Identify the women in your life who can serve as your main support team after birth. Who is going to wash dishes, cook meals, help you learn to change those dirty diapers, watch over the baby while you take a shower? Your partner will appreciate this support because both of you will be overwhelmed and overjoyed at the same time and every little bit of help and guidance goes a long way.
Pack a mobile Pantry- Always carry a stash of snacks with you. During the late second and third trimesters you require an extra 300 calories and most mommies get hungry. You want to be sure you have access to good quality, nourishing foods so you don’t settle for the vending machine or deli options. Having nuts, seeds, fresh and dried fruits, sliced veggies, hummus, on hand can help stabilize your blood sugar between meals.
Breathe Deep- So simple and yet so many of us aren’t maximizing our intake of oxygen. Deep breathing floods your body with oxygen which keeps your cells thriving. When you close your eyes and take 10 long full deep breaths you bring increased blood flow to your pelvis and growing baby, reversing the effects of stress hormones that on the body. You also calm your brain waves and relax your mind creating a sense of ease- this comes in handy during labor. The more relaxed you are, the smoother the birth.