When my husband and I found out we were pregnant with our youngest child, we decided to have a home birth. And while we got plenty of questions and crazy looks from friends and family, we did everything we could to prepare ourselves and our home for our new arrival. We watched birth videos, read books, and interviewed practically every midwife in our neighborhood, but I still had a few reservations about birthing outside of the hospital. If you are feeling anxious about giving birth at home, you should know that there are things you do everyday that'll make your home birth easier.
I would be lying if I said I wasn't completely terrified when my water broke at home, but with the help of an amazing birth team, I was encouraged to face my fears and meet the pain head on. I had the freedom to move from my birth pool to my shower whenever I needed to change positions. And at the end of it all, my family was able to enjoy a delicious home-cooked breakfast with our newest member.
As your pregnancy progresses, regular exercise, watching videos of other home births, and talking to friends about your feelings can help you mentally and physically prepare for your baby's arrival. And when the big day comes, you and your birth team can create a calm, relaxed environment with the help of candlelight, your favorite music, and a few good snacks.
Giving birth is never easy, but by trying a few of the things on this list, you can make your home birth an experience to remember — for the right reasons.
1. Work It Out
As you get closer to your due date, you may just want to park yourself on the couch with a pint of your favorite ice cream. But exercise (even a little bit) can help give you the stamina you need to make labor a much smoother process. As certified nurse-midwife, Tekoa King told Parents, staying in shape while pregnant can help make labor more tolerable.
2. Do Your Kegels
And while you're working out, don't forget to add a few kegels to your routine. These magical exercises are widely known to help prevent urinary incontinence, but they can also big a big help during labor. Exercising your pelvic floor can help make your pushing more efficient, according to Today's Parent. The best part about kegels is that they can be done anywhere and no one will even know.
3. Watch A Video
It's natural to worry about potential problems with your home birth, but while this may be your first, your midwife has likely had plenty of experience. According to Midwifery Today, watching videos of your midwife's other births will help you relax. It may not be your first choice for movie night, but it may help put your mind at ease.
4. Take A Shower
During my home birth, the shower was my go-to place when I needed a break from the birth pool. As Dr. Marcie Richardson told Parents, a warm shower will help you relax the muscles that are tensing in response to the pain.
5. Have A Snack
One of the best parts about giving birth at home is that you can stock your cabinets with plenty of your favorite snacks. According to Parents, having a light snack at the beginning of your labor will give you the energy you'll need to push.
6. Light Some Candles
As your labor approaches, you'll probably be feeling a mixture of excitement and fear. But in order to help make the process go smoothly, it's important to try to relax as much as possible. Lighting candles will help create an environment in which you can relax, according to Alternative Mama. Look for chamomile, lavender, or any other scent that helps calm your mind.
7. Listen To Music
Another great thing about giving birth at home is that you can rock out to your favorite tunes without disturbing anyone — unless, of course you have cranky neighbors. Listening to music is another way to create a relaxing environment, as Alternative Mama mentioned. Whether you're into rock, hip-hop, jazz, or all of the above, you and your partner should make a birth day playlist of songs to help you get through.
8. Talk To A Friend
If you're feeling anxious, it can help to call a friend. Whether you talk through your feelings, or laugh about the latest episode of The Bachelor, having someone there to listen can make all of the difference..
9. Go To The Grocery Store
While you're waiting for your new little arrival, you may want to make a trip to the grocery store. Stock your fridge and pantry with staples to make sure you and your family won't miss a good meal, as Made for Mums mentioned. Trust me, grocery shopping will be the last thing you want to do in the first days and weeks after giving birth.