6 Natural Birth Prep Techniques That Don’t Include Acupressure

When it comes to natural birth prep techniques, you probably know that we are passionate advocates of acupressure. It’s gentle, effective, comforting, and it’s backed by a plethora of research.

Natural birth prep techniques

But if you haven’t yet taken our acupressure course for midwives or if your client isn’t keen to give it a try, we recommend the following soothing techniques to prepare her for bringing her baby into the world. (Of course, if you are using acupressure with your mum, you can combine any or all of these natural approaches into your support plan too.)

 

1) CALM HER MIND

For a mother, keeping a healthy state of mind provides a great contribution to enabling a beautiful birth.

Feeling loving, supported and calm encourages the beautiful hormone oxytocin to flow. With oxytocin flowing, the mother can cope better with pain or intense sensations during contractions.

We know that adrenalin inhibits oxytocin. Fear and anxiety can really get in the way of labour starting and continuing. Fear makes pain feel stronger, and renders her less able to cope. Fear also makes her more likely to reach for interventions, which can lead to a more medicalised birth and a cascade of interventions throughout the birth such as Syntocin, epidural and caeserian section.

As a midwife, it is important to help your mother understand that preparing for birth also means taking measures to prepare her mind and soul. Understand her fear and stress triggers. Learning and practicing techniques that help calm her mind is a powerful way to prepare for birth – and it will come in handy during motherhood, too!

You can help her remember the techniques that work for her and recruit her own mechanisms for coping with stress. For example, touch and massage help a lot of us unwind. Touch helps us feel connected and loved, and helps turn the fear down when it starts to climb.

For others, it’s words. Hearing someone you trust telling you that you’re doing okay, that everything is as it is meant to be, that you’re doing an amazing job, can really do wonders in building up confidence and placating fears.

Take some time to work out which tools you think will work best for her and then she can add them to her toolbox for birth. Doing that will mean she feels more confident going into birth. This mentor relationship with your client is so important, particularly with a mother who experiences anxiety.

 

2) RESTORE ENERGY LEVELS

It’s ideal to go into birth and mothering a newborn with as much energy or Qi (“chee”) as possible. It’s often best to check with the obvious solutions – advise your client to try to get as much sleep and rest as possible and to eat as well as she can.

Avoiding sugar and gluten from 36 weeks onwards can make a real impact on reducing inflammation and swelling as well as curbing fatigue.

If she’s super tired and struggling and you’ve covered the medical checklist, you can recommend that she receive some acupuncture to help build her energy.

 

3) HYDRATION

Staying hydrated is always important, but especially at this time because as you are aware, being dehydrated can really slow things down or prevent labour from starting. As a midwife, it’s easy to forget to remind your clients of this basic but crucial fact.

Coconut water is fabulous for hydration, especially from fresh young drinking coconuts, but if they aren’t easily accessible you can find packaged organic coconut water at the supermarket (make sure there are no extra nasties in there) and encourage her to sip on it all through the day as she creeps closer to her due date.

Naomi keeps a bar fridge full of fresh coconuts at home! Rebecca took a box of coconuts into the birthing suite! They are also divine to drink after the birth when breastfeeding. Not only do they taste so good, they are jam-packed with nutrients and are more hydrating than water and far better than electrolyte drinks. Otherwise, of course water is the next best option.

 

4) BOWEL MOVEMENTS

It’s critical that her bowels are moving. We believe that constipation can slow things down during pre-labour and labour.

If any of our clients are a bit stuck, we recommend they keep well-hydrated, increase dietary fibre and take what we call our “Poo Potion”. We suggest that she drink this at night before bed and she can enjoy the results in the morning. If things are still not moving, she can add a second cup 20–30 minutes after her breakfast.

 

Poo Potion

– 1 teaspoon of slippery elm (add 1 tsp of psyllium husks if needed)

– half a cup of organic prune juice (no sugar added)

– half a cup of water

– 1 teaspoon of probiotics: a good quality probiotic with LGG for

bubba’s health and mastitis prevention. She can ask her health practitioner how to order the best quality probiotic for her and her baby. (Red Tent clients can arrange with us to receive practitioner-grade supplements by delivery.)

 

6) LET’S TALK ABOUT SEX!

We know this topic can feel a bit awkward, but we still need to go there and talk about sex and how it can help at this time. There are three reasons why sex can help a mother prepare for birth (although many women are not very enthusiastic about having sex to bring on labour, there is no need for it to be uncomfortable, hard work or unpleasant):

  • Simply spending some beautiful time connecting with and experiencing love with her partner releases oxytocin. They can also do this by taking some time to reflect on how they met, sharing memories of beautiful times together etc. At Red Tent we often tell a mother to say to her partner that their acupuncturist gave them homework and they need to say 5 things they love about each other. As a midwife, you can give this homework too, as having the instruction from someone else often helps them break the ice if they feel awkward.
  • Having an orgasm can help stimulate things and also releases beautiful hormones that can help move things along. That doesn’t have to be hard work or unpleasant, hey?!
  • We know that the ejaculate contains a similar compound used in the cervical gel that sends a message to her body that it’s time to give birth. But mums have it at home! On tap! (Usually.)

So let her know that she doesn’t have to have long uncomfortable penetrative sex to get the benefits of sex for inducing labour. She can have a loving time with her partner. Then, let him do all the work! The mother is doing enough work on the inside and she’s about to do a lot of work during the birth. Here is his opportunity to step up – and most men don’t need too much convincing!

 

Ultimately, a mother’s labour will start when her body and her baby are ready. These natural birth prep techniques are not meant to hurry things along, but to nurture your client and make her transition into labour as smooth as possible. But hey, you’re a midwife and you knew that already!

While we are here, we just want to sincerely thank you for being a midwife and for the beautiful, essential work that you do. It’s such an important job and we are so grateful for the support you provide to women and families. We love you!


Learn the ultimate natural birth prep technique – study acupressure for labour and birth online in our signature program, Ancient Secrets for Better Bumps Births and Babies. Accredited in Australia and the USA.

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