Birth - The Best Run Ever
Who here enjoys running? With as many running groups as there are in Tulsa, trails throughout town and even places like Turkey Mountain, there are some fantastic places to get in a short jog or a long, blissful run.
There is something about plodding through those first five minutes to get the kinks out and then finding your pace, focusing on your breathing and just letting your body move smoothly and naturally.
You then start to take in your surroundings, enjoy the feeling of blood pumping through your body, and feel your muscles being activated and challenged. If you listen to music while running, your brain finds the rhythm and your body starts to follow the beat. Well, I guess that all depends on your music choice, right?
Sounds to me a lot like what your body does in labor.
Because it totally is. Purposeful exercise comes with a frame of mind of pushing through the difficult physical aspects of your own exercise journey, finding your rhythm and then just letting your body take over and do what it already knows what to do.
Running While Pregnant
When I found out I was pregnant with my third child, I went through a whole range of emotions including shock, despair (hyperemesis gravidarum) and joy. At my first appointment with my doctor, I asked if it was going to be okay to participate in the Tulsa Run that I had been training for since April. Because I had been running and training up to the pregnancy, and I didn't have any health indications saying that exercise would be risky for the baby or me, he told me he would see me there.
I continued with my training knowing that it quite possibly would be filled with a few puking episodes during these runs. Morning of the race, I packed a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in my little water bottle fanny pack and a protein shake, threw up only once that morning, and then finished what I had started months ago. And it felt great!
Personally, I maintained my running for a while after this race, but then started to slow way down as the pregnancy progressed. After a while, it just wasn't comfortable to continue running while a growing human was strapped to my abdomen. After his birth, I got back into running and reached my goal of a half marathon.
But one thing I did discover, was that exercising throughout my pregnancy made the pregnancy and birth of this baby so much easier for my body and my mind.
Natural Labor is a Mind Game
Many people that hire the doulas from Tulsa Family Doulas have a goal in mind of having a natural childbirth. It isn't a necessity to want to have an unmedicated birth to hire one of our teams, but we do see a trend with that type of delivery being a consistent goal. We will support whatever goals our clients have in labor whether natural, medicated or peaceful cesarean.
So how can we support the goal of natural childbirth better for our clients?
I think if we talk about labor and birth in terms that women, especially first time moms, can understand, then they have more of an idea on what to expect that birth will actually be like. For those that have exercise as part of their daily life, we have an "in" on the terminology. In the absence of complications, how you respond to what your body does in labor is a mental choice, very much like choosing to push through tough running challenges.
There are many methods out there that people can utilize to help train their brains and bodies to respond a certain way.
- One way is to talk about what it was like for the client that has previously met a goal in other parts of their life. This could be a physical goal, exercise goal, education goal or even employment goal. What steps did you take to meet that goal? What obstacles did you overcome? How did you respond to those obstacles? How did you stay focused during times when you didn't think you could possibly keep going on? Who supported you? Who didn't? Your doula can talk through that process with you and help make a plan for how natural childbirth can be one more goal for you to accomplish.
- You can retrain your brain to think differently about childbirth. Our Hypnobabies class utilizes medical grade hypnosis techniques that do just that. The focus becomes on mindful connection with your body and your baby and using hypnosis tools to be fully present and aware during birth while having entirely different physical responses to the actual process of birthing your baby. The women that choose this method do so in an effort to respond calmly and peacefully to their birth and to actually enjoy their baby's birth day. And it works, regardless of how you choose to give birth, including natural childbirth.
- Focus on your physical and mental health regarding how your body was created for childbirth. Stay healthy and low risk. Have a healthy diet high in protein, whole foods, vegetables and low in sugar and processed food. Work through a daily essentials exercise plan for your body that works even if you were not athletic prior to pregnancy. There is so much internally with your ligaments, tendons and muscles that need to be balanced, stretched and activated prior to putting your body through birthing a baby. And my gosh, the endorphins from exercising and feeding your body well have absolutely no other replacement on earth.
- If you don't feel like you are healthy before pregnancy, find a nutritionist and exercise program that will feed life into your body and get your body prepped for an easier pregnancy and birth experience. And if you are feeling the love of exercise prior to pregnancy, talk with your care provider, make sure you and your baby are good to go, and then keep going with your physical health program. Childbirth takes stamina. Stamina comes from training - both physical and mental. You can do this, mamas!
Most importantly, find your rhythm, focus on your goals and just keep moving. That is the only way any goal, including natural childbirth, is ever accomplished. Want to learn more about how we can help you achieve your childbirth goals? Connect with us today!