Natural Childbirth Prep
At what point during your pregnancy did you start preparing for your natural childbirth? I'm reading (very slowly) a couple of NCB books and I've hired a doula, and I will sign up for NCB classes (birth boot camp). But I haven't really done a whole lot of reading into it. I'm almost 18 weeks. Am I behind or ahead? I virtually know nothing about childbirth. This is my first and I've seen some terminology floating around, but I'm not sure exactly what it all means. Like the different stages and what not.
My NCB experience is a little different as I've delivered in a hospital due to being high risk, but I'd say that you've got a lot of good groundwork covered! Do you know where you want to birth (home/birth center/hospital)? Do you have a provider who is on the same page as your NCB plans? I'm just thinking that if you're planning a home birth, you may need time to get that sorted if your insurance is picky about it.
I'm sure some of our home birthing mamas can pitch in on when they started ordering birth kits and all of that. Wish I could be more help but I think the fact that you're starting early is great. I too decided early on with my first that I wanted an NCB and found all the months of reading/watching videos/research helped me get pumped for DD's birth. :D
I don't think you are behind at all. I think you have plenty of time to look into what you think will work best for you. Sounds like you are off to a great start too. One thing that really helped me and also opened up DH's eyes was the documentary: The Business of Being Born because it talked about NCB in a general way. It's on Netflix. It was a great resource for us and then we were able to look into actual NCB methods, if we wanted to do classes, if we wanted to do it at the hospital vs. home vs. birth center, etc. Ina May Gaskin's book is another great resource that helped me get an overview on NCB. This board was also very helpful and inspiring to me when I was planning this babys delivery. There are lots of very experienced, strong women on here and reading their lodges was very enlightening and I learned a lot just from this board alone. Good Luck!
Elizabeth - you're ahead of me so far I think! ;)
With my first I started with all the generic books like WTEWYE and such. After I read several of those plus some med school text books on obstetrics (I'm a nerd), I started in on the natural birth ones. It was quite a ways in to my pregnancy. I say you are perfectly on track, even ahead. Get yourself some Ina May and you will likely have a hard time putting it down. I was so excited for my birth experience after that.
With ds1, I took childbirth classes. I think most of the women in the class were in their 2nd tri. I was in my 3rd. It was mostly useful for dh.
I honestly don't remember when I bought the home birth kit. I think the best prep for me, though, was reading natural birth stories and doing research about the biological process of birth. There's stuff that will still be a surprise to you no matter what, but being armed with other women's experiences and a good understanding of what your body has to do (in detail) is really helpful.
I would recommend asking other moms you know (online or IRL) what was the most unexpected part of their labor experiences. About the different stages, the real thing you need to know about is transition (when the baby gets ready to come out and you are getting close to the pushing part). There are some significant symptoms, and after this point, it is not recommended that you be moved unless there is an emergency.
I don't think that there's a real time line you need to follow, although the stuff I read made more sense the further into the pregnancy I got.
Thanks! All good suggestions. I'm planning a med free birth with a midwife and doula in the hospital. This particular hospital is very pro ncb and even allows birthing tubs. So I'd like to try that. My insurance covers nothing maternity related, so this is all out of pocket.
DH wasnt comfortable with the idea of a home birth and my midwife only delivers at this particular hospital and her reviews are better than the midwife reviews of the birth center. Plus I called the birth center 3x and they never got back with me. I love my midwife, so Im ok with the hospital option now. Plus I have afflac which pays me for going to a hospital but not to a birth center.
One of my good friends had her baby at a birth center...so I have been asking her lots of questions. She pretty much studied ncb throughout her whole pregnancy which is why I feel behind.
I have 2 architectural licensing exams I need to finish before the baby comes...so I was hoping that I could start the in depth ncb study and classes at the beginning of my 3rd trimester. But wondered if that would be too late?
I knew I wanted a NCB before we started TTC and I read a few book while we were TTC but I really didn't get "into it" until I was 12 or so weeks along. I took a Hypnobirthing class starting at like 22 weeks, I think. I was really bad about listening to the tracks at home other than the Rainbow Relaxation track. I joined this board when I was 27 weeks or so. I think most of my prep was accomplished in the last 2 months. Preparation isn't necessary for a wonderful NCB but it helps for sure. The very best thing you can do is breed a strong sense of confidence in your body and surround yourself with supportive people. You've got plenty of time to do that!
I started reading a few books on natural childbirth several years before we actually decided to have a baby-I love to read and it was a topic that interested me. Once I actually got pregnant, I read whatever I could get my hands on from fairly early in the pregnancy and also watched videos of natural births on the internet, but I don't think you have to start by a certain time to prepare. I didn't do any classes or use any of the hypnobabies/hypnobirthing stuff. I did go on a tour of my hospital which was helpful as I found out more about their specific policies so I wasn't thrown for a loop by anything when I showed up in labor.
My advice is:
1) to labor as long as possible at home, that way you won't run into any hospital policies interfering with your laboring. Even if you have a great hospital, you will still probably feel more relaxed and comfortable in your own home since it is a familiar environment.
2) be familiar with the stages of labor, but also realize you may or may not experience things as they are described. For me, I never felt transition and I also didn't really have a strong urge to push. I asked about pushing because I felt like I had been lying there for a while and when the nurse checked, she told me I had a bit of a lip that she could hold out of the way and I could go ahead and push if I wanted to. I started pushing cause hey, thats what your supposed to do when you reach 10 centimeters, but I think it would have been better if I had waited a bit longer until I actually felt the urge-I ended up with really bad hemorrhoids and a third degree tear-I may have gotten them anyway but I just think I should have waited for my body to cue me in.
3) I found it helpful to imagine myself experiencing the most painful contractions possible and having no problem dealing with them. My mantra was "I'm tough, I can handle the pain cause it means my body is working, bring it ON!" My contractions weren't nearly as bad as I imagined them to be so I had a pretty easy time managing them.