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December 12, 2010

8 “Must-Haves” For a Mindful Birthing Day!

Whether you are staying home or birthing out of home, begin preparation for this special day early in pregnancy for a smooth, seamless and stress free arrival of your sweet one.

Here are 8 “Must-Haves” for a joyful birthing day:

Photo courtesy of Showcase Reflections, Boulder, CO.

1. Birth partner

Your birth partner is your beloved, spouse, partner, mother, sister, or other trusted friend or family member. Your birth partner may not be a birth professional, but may indeed be a person who can provide emotional support or even physical comfort measures (the birth doula can assist your partner with this.) When your labor starts, notify your birth parter so that this person can arrange to be with you as soon as possible.

2. Birth doula

Whether birthing at home, hospital, birth center or other location, a birth doula is someone not to forget to have with you for birthing day! The Greek word doula translates to “woman caregiver.” Therefore, a birth doula is a woman who looks after and watches over birth. She assists the partner is being an effective support person, often gently guiding the birth partner to use helpful techniques for assisting and supporting mom with labor.  A doula is a professional caregiver who trusts, respects, and understands the birth process. Her role also is to help mama and partner to have a wonderful experience that they look back upon as an uplifting and joyous occasion.

3. Birth altar

A birth altar is a wonderful way to prepare emotionally, mentally and spiritually for the arrival of your sweet baby. Whether you create a corner in your home, a bag filled with special object for your altar, or a customizable portable birth alter, the process of reflection and preparation is nourishing to mama and partner as well as baby! Your baby feels your love as you create space to honor the pregnancy and your new role! Your alter can contain photos, objects from nature, poems, art, baby items or anything that has special meaning to you.

4. Birth plan

A birth plan is a tool of communication about your birth preferences and desires. In “Creating Your Birth Plan” by Marsden Wagner, M.D. says,

“First you need information about everything that could happen. Second, you need information about the different ways to handle what happens. Third, you need to make decisions about your preferences in case things happen. And finally, you need to communicate or express those preferences.”

While I highly recommend this book to every pregnant couple who is planning for a new baby, I also recommend enrolling in an independent childbirth class with a teacher who trusts and understands the natural divine birth design.

5. Food and drink

Giving birth is the greatest athletic event of your entire life. Of course, food and drink are necessary to stay energized and on top of your game. Purchase or make your favorite energy drink as well as nourishing snacks like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, fruit and nut bars or other snacks that appeal to you. The scientific evidence clearly shows the importance of eating and drinking in labor.

6. Camera / photographer

Giving birth can be one of the most profound life changing experiences. Michelle, a mom from California recently explained it this way:

“Birthing both of my children at home and intervention free helped me recognize something. Birth is a gateway. Once we pass through that gateway unhindered, we have reclaimed our power as women in this world.”

Capture this special event with casual snapshots or professional shots. Create an album of photos for your child and take it out every birthday to honor and celebrate her birth!

7. Favorite music

Music carries incredible power to soothe, uplift, encourage or relax. In your relaxation, movement or meditation practice play your favorite songs to help your body and cells create the memory of your music within your body. When birthing day comes along, your body will hear your music and automatically let go into relaxation. When the body is relaxed and free of tension, the uterus can do its job of pushing baby out.

8. Comfortable cozy clothes

Reflecting back to the births’ of my own children as well as my understanding of labor, it may be helpful to prepare a “wardrobe” of clothes. Here is why. In early labor most women are quite modest and like to be covered up. Don your favorite nightgown or t-shirt and cozy pants for ease of movement. Yes, you’ll be moving around – A LOT! Many women like to wear a nursing bra for support. During active labor most women lose their modesty and prefer to be wearing little to no clothes. Mama is sweating from the intensity. Clothes may bother her skin and she may just want to wear a nursing bra (not a regular bra because baby should head toward the breast immediately.) After the baby is born, she again will want comfortable clothes, perhaps a button down shirt for easy access to the milk.

Suggest your “must-have” for birthday day in the comments section just below!

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