In the past few months since Annabelle’s birth I have been approached a number of times by expectant friends who wanted to hear her birth story and pick my brain on natural child birth since I was able to birth Annabelle without any medication or interventions. Those conversations have been such a blessing to me as I have been able to encourage some of the sweetest expectant momma’s in their ability to birth with love instead of fear and to trust in their God throughout the entire process of pregnancy and into the next stage of their journey, motherhood, just as some wonderfully sweet momma friends of mine did for me when I was pregnant with Annabelle. It is such a gift to give back and to sow into others lives the way others have richly sown into my life. I’m honored and humbled that anyone would think of me to ask for advice. Especially some of the most inspiring and wise women I know personally. I was thinking back on these conversations the other night and thought it might be a good idea to use this blog as a platform for God’s amazing handiwork when it comes to birth and how He created us as women to assist Him in the making of a miracle like no other living thing can. So I thought why not share some of the advice I was given when Matt and I were pregnant with Annabelle and preparing for her birth as well as what we learned through out that process and some of the things that worked for us during her birth so that anyone who is looking for some encouragement can find it! 🙂 Yes, Matt and I were able to have a natural child birth with Annabelle but regaurdless of that I still feel that all of these tips made our pregnancy and her birth a beautiful one and would have still applied no matter what type of birth we would have had with her. So these aren’t just tips for natural child birth but birth in general. 🙂 Above all else I hope these are helpful and encouraging friends!
Labor and Birthing Tips For a Beautiful Childbirth
- Pray! – Any concerns I had about birth/motherhood I took straight to God as soon as I realized I was worrying about it, and I did my best to give it to Him, especially the things that I worried about that were out of my control. If there was something I do could about it though,like staying on top of my daily birth exercises, I’d ask for His help to stay consistent and dedicated and to not slack off. Regardless of how our birth went, one thing I knew going into the home stretch is that no matter what God was with me and Matt, and He would take care of us. Even if that meant the most horrible scenarios I had worried about happened I fully trusted He would take care of the three of us. It probably sounds strange that I thought about that type of stuff, but when the enemy bombarded my thoughts and tried to produce fear and sadness for my husband or myself over situations that hadn’t even happened yet, I found SO much comfort in prayer and praying specific verses that God had given to me during our pregnancy that I meditated on during our birth. Those promises fueled my trust in my God. He was and is in control. His plan is the best plan and no matter what He would walk us through every step!
- On that note, don’t worry about something until it’s actually something to worry about. – Speak life over and into the situation. Take time to find scripture that God leads you to and hold onto it! Pray it over your pregnancy, your child’s birth and your family. Some of the verses God had given me during this time were verses I already knew (but they took on a whole new meaning during this time). Here are the ones that I clung too during this season of my life. I thought I’d share them just in case one of them speaks to you as well sweet momma to be.
- Psalms 139:14 –I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful. I know that full well.
- 2 Timothy 1:7 -For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
- Philippians 1:6 – Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ
- Side note – this one specifically became my “battle cry” during my last weeks of pregnancy and heading into birth because I knew and trusted that God was about to bring this chapter of my life (pregnancy) and all the work He had been doing in and through me (creating Annabelle) to completion when Annabelle was born. It also gave me hope to know that God was not finished with me and He would not leave any part of me uncompleted as I was getting ready to leave one phase of my life and go into a whole new one; motherhood.
- Another thing that we did with these verses was write them down on cards along with other helpful things that Matt could say to me during our labor and birth so that when the moment came and both our minds went blank we could just pull out that ring of cards and he would have the God breathed words right at his finger tips that we knew ahead of time would encourage and affirm me.. that would encourage and affirm all three of us. 🙂 It was our take on birth affirmations if you will. It was super helpful during labor practices and when the time came because since Matt used them to practice with every night he had the scriptures and other encouraging words (in case you were wondering what my love language is it’s totally words of affirmation and quality time lol) memorized, just like I did, so we actually didn’t end up using the cards during our labor because it was all in our heads by then lol. 🙂
- Take classes and learn how to birth – Even though it’s completely natural and normal and our bodies as women were made to do it, birth is something you learn how to do just like swimming or running. Matt and I personally really connected with The Bradley Method after reading their latest book “Husband Coached Child Birth”. We would highly recommend both the book and the classes! We’re not sure if Dr. Bradley was a Christian but based on his philosophy we want to say he was because he talked about God and how we were designed for birth. And that even though God took away our knowledge of how to birth instinctively, like other animals at the fall, He did create us with brains that can learn how to do things. So we can watch other animals in nature and learn from Gods design, as best we can, how to birth. Doctor Bradley also talked about how a husband is meant to coach his wife through birth, and that really resonated with us because we all labored (Matt, myself and Annabelle) in our own way to bring Annabelle into this world and into our family. I obviously had physical labor, but so did Annabelle. She had to come through the birth canal. And Matt had the labor of working diligently to support, encourage and do whatever he could to help get me through each contraction, whether that be praying over me, helping me breathe or applying counter pressure to offset any discomfort I felt, which he did a phenomenal job at, and is one of the many tools we learned in our birthing classes!
- Start preparing for birth now – Take classes, read books, eat healthy, find a health care provider that your philosophy lines up with and you feel you can trust and are safe with. We had birth exercises that we did every single day to prepare for labor. They weren’t too time consuming or difficult and we just got into the habit of doing them through out the day. Those exercises were kegels, pelvic rocks, sitting Indian style/Taylor sitting as much as possible, walking for about 30 minutes a day, squatting to pick something up or whenever I could instead of bending over and doing about 10 butterflies with Matt holding my legs and applying very light resistance. We also did 20 minutes of labor/relaxation rehearsals with deep natural breathing every night before bed and then I did 20 minutes of relaxation rehearsal on my own sometime during the day. This all really helped prepare my body for birth and gave us something tangible to do to prepare. Also the labor/relaxation rehearsal really helped because I got to a place where all Matt had to do was talk to me and just hearing his voice instantly made my body relax because we had practiced so often. It was almost like a “Pavlov’s dogs” response. Lol
- Surround yourself with supportive, encouraging people who you trust to uplift you and cut down on interaction with negative people.– This isn’t to say that you have to go hacking people out of your life but if you know someone isn’t going to be supportive of your desire/plan for a natural child birth then don’t talk to them about it and if they bring it up just keep things brief. Also, when someone says something always remember who the source is. That’s advice that really helped me keep things in perspective. So when someone would say something to Matt and I that was super anti-natural birth we did our best to remember who was saying it and if they didn’t have credit to be speaking on that topic then we remembered that. It really helped to keep my confidence up.
- If you can, consider hiring a doula. – Our birth instructor, Jessica, was also our doula so Matt and I got really close to her and now she’s our friend! Anyways Matt was definitely my coach but our friend/doula Jessica was like an assistant coach to Matt, for me. She really helped him look for sign posts and gave him a lot of confidence that he was reading my body language/emotions right and knew where I was at each stage of labor. He’s said that if it wasn’t for Jessica we would have went to the hospital much sooner but since she had been to so many births before and knew what to look for and guide us through it we felt comfortable laboring at home for much longer. She also helped with keeping me comfortable. So when Matt had to pack the car or call our Doctor she was there to step in and coach me through a contraction. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely preferred my husband coaching me but it was nice to not be alone when he had to take care of something else for us.
- make a labor playlist!!! – We had one filled with worship music and lullabies that we played every night during labor rehearsals and during birth. It was SO comforting, relaxing and really kept my mind focused on God when the time came!
- Use water during birth! – For me it really helped take the edge off of contractions. And just listen to your body and do whatever feels comfortable when your in the moment. Don’t try to stay in a position or keeping doing something that isn’t working.
- Just take one contraction at a time – A really wonderful friend gave me this advice when we were pregnant and planning on having a natural birth. She too had a natural birth and told me this little tip really helped her to keep her focus where it needed to be instead of getting panicky. Just take one contraction at a time and don’t think about the ones to come or the ones that came before. Just focus on breathing through that one and then when it’s over relax and bring yourself back down to zero emotionally. This was super helpful for me as well because it really did help me to keep my focus and not get over worked and over taxed emotionally.