The pregnancy and childbirth experience is considered one of the most coveted experiences in a woman’s life. Maternal health is no longer just the domain of physicians, but of you, the expectant parents. Dr. Lauren Feder’s new book, Natural Pregnancy, aims to empower parents and give them the confidence to make the best, most-informed decisions regardless of giving birth at home, at a birth center, or in a hospital.
Consider the following tips for your pregnancy and birth:
- Eat healthy, exercise, and enjoy your mate. Healthy nutrition and regular exercise help to avoid complications in pregnancy, shorten labor, and improve baby’s health. Studies suggest exercise enhances a baby’s brain development. Spend quality time with your spouse, as your relationship profoundly influences your life during pregnancy….and beyond.
- Become informed about prenatal tests. Most pregnant women agree to tests such as ultrasound and amniocentesis, without fully knowing the implications. The tests can sometimes provide excess information which may not be useful, but still can lead to a great deal of anxiety. With regards to ultrasound, “The long term effects of repeated ultrasound exposures on the fetus are not fully known. It is recommended that ultrasound only be used if medically indicated.” (American Pregnancy Association)
- Try for a vaginal birth. Baby’s first inoculation is not breast milk or a vaccination, but descending through the birth canal. Exposure to this beneficial flora from mother helps to seed and colonize baby’s own intestinal tract with immune boosting microorganisms. Babies born by C-section are deprived of vaginal flora and lack a specific group of bacteria which may have an impact on lifelong health. In addition, research shows that babies born vaginally produce less gas and suffer less colic as a result.
- Consider a midwife or mother-friendly practitioner. From home to hospital birth the mother-friendly approach recognizes, respects, and encourages natural healthy birth. This includes maternal support in an undisturbed environment, freedom of movement during labor, non-drug methods of pain relief, and assistance with breastfeeding, The midwife approach is the optimal model of care for most births, because a midwife is trained in normal birth.
- Hire a doula. Surround yourself with people who respect your birth choices. If having a hospital birth, consider hiring a doula who is familiar with the birth experience and who can be your advocate in the hospital. Research shows that women who labor with a doula request less pain medication, have shorter births, and have substantially lower rates of interventions including cesarean sections.
- Comfort zone and comfort measures. Ensure the birth space allows for privacy with minimal disturbances. Remove the clock. Avoid small talk and unnecessary questions. Take sips in between contractions, and urinate hourly. Birth classes offer information for comfort measures including birthing techniques, hypnosis, and use of the birth ball. Keep on moving, change position, and if possible, labor in the water.
- Use homeopathy: Homeopathic medicine offers a safe and gentle holistic medical approach, which aids many pregnancy related conditions (i.e. constipation, heartburn, etc.). Homeopathy can also be used before and during labor for easier childbirth and postpartum healing. Take Arnica montana (30C or 200C) hourly during labor to help prevent or minimize soreness, bruising, and swelling.When a laboring woman is undisturbed and uninterrupted in a private, serene, and safe environment, she will usually deliver her baby normally. Remember, giving birth is a normal rite of passage, a process done by all of our women ancestors. Your body is designed to give birth.
LISTEN to a wonderful discussion of Natural Pregnancy with author Dr. Lauren Feder:
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Written by Dr. Lauren Feder
978-1-57826-499-5, $15.00 paperback
978-1-57826-500-8, $9.99 eBook
Published June 24, 2014
New from Hatherleigh Press.
Distributed through Random House.
Available wherever books and eBooks are sold.