Six Keys to a Healthy Pregnancy and Labor/Delivery

Recently, I shared my in depth birth story with you. While writing it, however, I knew I wanted to share with you all the different things I did or took that I believe played a part in having such a healthy pregnancy and successful labor/delivery. I’ve had a lot of comments about my birth video and how I never screamed during labor, some saying–in a jokingly manner–that it couldn’t even be real. I’ve even had many say how good I look after just having a baby. All of these comments are nice, yet, they are directed towards the outside. What do I mean? Well, the way things look(ed) on the outside were a direct result of what was happening on the inside. I went through some changes and made some decisions on the inside that affected my pregnancy and labor. I want to share these six keys with you that helped me because they are certainly no secret! 

 

#1. Diet and Lifestyle

Many of you know I went through a diet and lifestyle change back in 2017. The whole journey really is what inspired me to share my story. I think when you go through a significant event in life, it would be sold short if you didn’t share your experiences with others. Who knows who might be on the other side of the screen reading it and it may be the exact words they needed to make the change for the better. There have been many people’s stories that impacted my health and the choices I made during pregnancy. I feel completely confident that the reason I had such a smooth, relatively ache-free pregnancy was due to the state of my health. When I was pregnant with Judah, my firstborn, I was tired all the time, my diet wasn’t great, and I was swollen the last two months. After cutting out a lot of junk I was eating and instead replacing it with whole foods I wasn’t tired all the time this time around. In fact, I went hiking all the way up until 2 weeks before I had Jonah. I also wasn’t swollen even in the hot, desert of Tucson. Eating right allowed me to only gain the healthy necessary weight for baby to grow. I also recovered even quicker this time and had my energy back a few days after. I’m so glad I made the diet and lifestyle change when I did as I know it played a big part in how I felt during pregnancy.

 

Along with my diet changes, I also kept up with my regular exercising which consisted of walking 4-5 days a week and hiking a few times a month. Because I felt great, I had the energy to exercise and because I exercised I felt great. It’s a beautiful cycle.

 

#2 Supplements

Before going through my diet change when I heard the word supplement I thought ehh I don’t need to take those. I don’t have anything “majorly” wrong with me. I have found that to be furthest from the truth. Diet improvements will only take you so far in this day in age with how much the nutritional value in whole foods has decreased over the last few decades. Supplements are meant to be just that. Something to add to what you are already doing. During my pregnancy I took two different ones, both I have found to be exceptional in their quality. I took Usana’s Cellsentials as well as JuicePlus fruit and veggie capsules. I had the confidence that even on the days I didn’t eat well or make the best choices for my health, I still had these supplements to bridge the gap for me so my baby could get all the much needed nutrients. This too allowed me to maintain all the energy needed to care for my toddler while also growing a human being inside me day in and day out.

 

#3 Hypnobirthing

I’m not gonna lie when I first heard of hypnobirthing I turned it off since I had always heard that hypnosis is bad. I was skeptical. But after hearing other mom’s experiences with it I decided to look into it. That’s when I stumbled across a christian hypnobirthing app. On it there are 7 tracks that focus on different aspects of hypnobirthing but with a christian twist. Now if you’re still wondering what hypnobirthing actually is, the best way to describe it are techniques that focus on relaxation and concentration in order to achieve a fear and pain-free birth. The christian one takes it to a new level by adding encouraging scripture, spiritual positive affirmations, and prayers for strength. I listened to this over and over. Many times while on my walks in the mornings. This gave me SO much encouragement and strength. It truly spoke to my soul. While I was actually in labor I only listened to the relaxation music because any words were too distracting for me, but since I had the other tracks in my head, I was able to remind myself of those the entire time. Phrases like, “My body has been designed by God and knows how to give birth”, “I accept the sensations of each contraction knowing that each one brings us closer to meeting our baby” “Birth is a wonderful, safe experience designed by our heavenly Father” “Our baby has been designed by our Father and knows how to be born.” If you have seen my birth video you’ll notice I had my headphones in the entire time. I even had them in still right after I birthed Jonah. My husband Jamie had to pull them out of my ears because I was still so focused. By having that constant relaxation music in my ears, I was able to drown out any noise or commotion going on around me. There was a point a half hour or less before Jonah was born when we blew a fuse in our room where I was laboring. I noticed the power had shut off and I faintly heard Jamie look out the window to see if it was the whole neighborhood or just us. Next thing I knew the power was back on. They said it was off for about 5 mins but I was so zoned out and focused inward that it didn’t phase me at all. I just remember thinking oh that would be a story to tell if I gave birth with the power off. 

 

I can’t stress enough how much of a difference having this made. When you can turn off any outside noise, you are able to concentrate on what your body is telling you, and along with that you are able to stay in control mentally. Any mom who’s delivered children knows that labor is a marathon. And like any athlete, they’ll probably tell you there’s a point during the marathon where your body will probably try to tell your mind you can’t do this anymore and should cave in. But when in reality we have control over our mind. We can reassure our body that it can do this. This takes a ton of concentration to consistently stay on top of our body’s response to give up. If you desire to have a birth where you are in complete control, I highly recommend this amazing app! https://apps.apple.com/us/app/christian-hypnobirthing/id1362809276

 

#4. Healthy support system

I’m not sure if I can stress this one enough. You could change your diet and lifestyle and take all the supplements and feel great, but without a strong support system, labor could be a very difficult time. I am so blessed to have such a supportive husband that has always been someone I can lean on and who encourages me to pursue my dreams. He has never shown any doubt that I could give birth the way I dreamed.

 

My midwife was a huge support to me as well. She always gave me the facts that I needed to know and never discouraged any decision we made for Jonah or myself. She always gave loving encouragement. When I shared with her how I envisioned myself during labor and how I wanted to give birth completely unassisted, she supported me to the end of the world and back. 

 

Another enormous support person was my good friend and doula, Elisabeth. I wasn’t really too familiar with what a doula does when I had my first son, so I never looked into finding one. I am so glad Elisabeth was there this time around. A doula’s role is so much more than someone who stands by you while laboring. That is however an important aspect but they are also there to support you while pregnant AND postpartum. I can’t tell you enough how thankful I was to have Elisabeth there for me while pregnant. Just having someone to talk pregnancy and birthing with was reassuring. She was also a big support to me after the birth. On top of her sitting and listening to me talk about my thoughts and concerns, she did some cooking and cleaning for me. Transitioning from one to two kids was a challenge at first. I honestly don’t know how we could’ve survived without all her help! 

Find your support system and don’t be afraid to open up to them about all your thoughts and desires.

 

#5. Supportive herbs and teas.

After having two births, I know these things work. I didn’t take them as religiously with my first pregnancy but with this one I did. I drank red raspberry leaf tea and motherwort tea every day during the last trimester, increasing to 2-3 cups a day towards the end. Red raspberry leaf tea has many benefits and drinking it during the last weeks of pregnancy can help strengthen your uterine muscles to perform better and therefore decreasing your labor time. Motherwort is known to also have similar effects in encouraging uterine contractions. I certainly noticed this with my second birth with only being in labor for 3 hours! Another thing I took alongside the teas was a tincture called “Gentle Birth” which consists of a handful of herbs and roots including red raspberry leaf and motherwort. All these together, I believe, created a powerful punch to such a great labor and delivery as well as recovery time.

 

#6 Faith

Last but most certainly not least was my faith. Not just faith in my own self but faith in the One who made my self–my Creator. I knew I was asking God something big when I prayed for a fast, pain-free labor; to be relaxed, no tearing and for me to deliver Jonah all by myself. Those things just don’t seem real this day in age. But I wasn’t going to just settle. I asked and believed in faith that he would answer them according to his will. I asked my BIG God to do something BIG, and he did just that. He answered every single one of my requests! It would be a lie to say my faith also didn’t grow through that experience. And now, I get to glean from that time and praise him for simply being God. It’s amazing how he created a woman’s body for birth! 

 

Normal labor and deliveries don’t have to be traumatic and fearful. They can be and should be an empowering experience–delighting in all the ways God created our bodies. I’m so passionate about it and would love to talk to anyone about it that is willing to listen. If you have had an interest in having a natural, unmedicated birth please reach out! I would love to answer any questions or just hear about your dream birth–because in reality it all starts with a dream.

 

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