I'm pregnant! Now what do I do?
Yay! Congratulations! This time in your life will be the most physically, emotionally and metaphysically transformative periods you’ll ever experience. And while that sounds exciting and, let’s be real, a little intimidating, it doesn’t have to scare you. The best social and medical support you can find are those that are understanding and respectful of your choices because this is, afterall, YOUR body and YOUR baby. In the next few minutes while I have your attention, I hope to put your mind at ease even if it’s just a little bit.
“Is that another pink line?” she impatiently asks the internet from her bathroom. “yup! Congrats!”, “I see it too girrrlll! <3”, “wishing you all the magic baby dust because YOU’RE PREGNANT!” are the responses she was hoping to get! So, now that you’ve gotten this far, what is the next step aside from telling “Daddy, Dadi-o, Pops”…the father! 😊
Step 1: Find a care provider…not all of them are equal!
Finding a care provider is truly based on your comfort. Are you locked in to having an OB and birth in the hospital? Great! There are some really great OB’s, but there are some that don’t always respect your choices. I would encourage you to ask lot’s of questions at every visit and ask them why they chose to be in Obstetrics. If the answer doesn’t flow with your birth desires, then schedule with another doctor the next time. You can also ask other women online. There’s plenty of reviews out there. NOTE: This is purely for your prenatal experience. You will not get to choose who attends your birth.
You can always interview a Midwife. Midwives tend to have a more personal and holistic approach to birth and usually talk with you long enough to get to know you and your husband. There are Midwives that work in hospitals alongside OB’s so you can have the best of both worlds. HERE is a link to my post on Midwives. There’s a list at the very end you can download to see who serves Sheboygan County and where they are.
Step 2: Get educated! Take a birth class!
Yeah Steph, we know you’re a birth educator and you want us to take your class. YES, I do! But, most of all I just want you to get educated! I know that not all birth classes fully prepare you for labor, birth and postpartum and that is why I love Birth Boot Camp’s curriculum! However, taking ANY class will be better than not taking a class and going in blind. Wouldn’t you like to be fully prepared for this next phase in your life? This isn’t just about the next 9 months and baby’s first year. Your birth experience is important and should be something you look back on with happiness, not fear. Read this blog post on fear, tension, pain cycle.
Step 3: Practice birth positions. Your body will seriously thank you!
Your body is doing all sorts of crazy things right now! One of them is releasing a hormone called relaxin. Relaxin loosens your joints and tissues so that your body can accommodate that growing baby. It also will start shifting your pelvis to make room for baby at birth. For this reason, SEE A CHIROPRACTOR, but I digress. Please, please, please practice squatting and lunges, stretching your back on all fours, and rotating your hips. All of these things will make you stronger during labor and help get your baby out quickly. Mother’s who practice stretching and labor positions report less pain, less stress and LESS TIME in labor! Get to gettin’!
Step 4: Create a list of all the things you think you’ll need and then THROW IT AWAY!
Now, let’s not be silly. You WILL need some of those things! You do not need all of them! You don’t need 7 different baby holding apparatuses. The floor works just fine! You don’t need baby bibs, wipe warmers, tons of baby toys, bumbos, most teethers and the list goes on. Register for the big ticket items like a baby swing, crib, highchair (convertible to booster), diapers…ALL THE DIAPERS…in every size, diaper pail (some say this isn’t necessary), a rocking chair that you have previously picked out (you’ll spend A LOT of time there), birth photography because memories fade and you will want to keep those amazing first moments with you and your new creation forever.
There’s a lot out there on the shelves at Target that is literal crap and totally meant for you to just bury your money in. Don’t fall for it. Be practical, ask your friends who have babies and they will remember the emotional connection they have to some things…like that $25 stuffy that baby will cherish all throughout toddlerhood…you’ll want that! 😉
Step 5: Practice relaxation. Labor is work, but it doesn’t have to be horrible.
Ooooookay, here’s where I’m going to get REAL with y’all! If you aren’t practicing your relaxation, you will have a harder time in labor. I’m not talking about just deep breaths in and out. I’m talking about being able to let go of everything around you and really focus on your body and baby. This can be one of the most sacred bonding activities you do with your baby…and dad can do it too. Simply lay down in a comfortable place in a comfortable position and let yourself breathe for a few moments. Feel the breath inflating your lungs….and then feel it leaving your lips. After a few moments of doing that you can listen to the ambient noise or a soft rhythm in the background. Dad can put his hand on your belly because most likely baby will start to move around. There are guided visual meditations that can help you even more (a whole booklet is included in my comprehensive birth class).
My favorite part of relaxation starts in the bathroom. Oh yeah….we are talking about poop now! It is inevitable! Poop must be a part of the conversation! You might actually poop during labor and here’s why. The contractions you will feel during labor are not unfamiliar to your body. There is a reflex that your body will naturally do when it is time to push out your baby. It is called the baby ejection reflex. Yep, it’s that simple! AND it is the same feeling as having a REALLY big poop! The BEST way to practice this sensation of childbirth is on the toilet when you 👏have👏 to 👏do👏 number👏 2.
Instead of pushing it out (like everyone tells you to do during labor), you simply remember your breathing and relaxation techniques you have been practicing and you wait until you feel it coming and then, blow. You blow slowly and steadily. A nice long exhale. This will take a while to get used to and comfortable with. but, you will SERIOUSLY thank yourself when it comes time to blow not push your baby out!
Step 6: Document your journey.
So, you have a growing baby and you are absolutely glowing! Literally, your face is glowing from all the extra blood you have circulating throughout your body. It makes you feel fat and bloated and like a big ‘ol pregnant balloon! Yeah, you may feel that way, but you really don’t look it! Listen to your husband when he tells you that you are BEAUTIFUL! He doesn’t say it to make you feel better, he says it because you really are. All of us feel ugly at some point during pregnancy…mostly toward the end…and that’s okay! However your feelings are of your pregnant body, you will want to look back and see yourself GLOWING and gorgeously round with child. Please take pictures of that belly or hire a photographer! There is no need to share it with anyone else, but just so you have something to look back on when you’re 80.
Step 7: Hire your Doula. She’s there for you AND dad!
A doula, in my humbled opinion, is a MUST when it comes to birth experience. She will help you and dad remember what you learned from birth class and implement it at the most necessary times. She’s a birth trouble shooter, an advocate and a strong bodied individual that can use her training to help put you at ease both physically and emotionally. As asset in every birth situation no matter the location. Doulas are welcomed at home births, birth centers and hospitals! Please interview your doula thoroughly! Ask questions and make sure she fits your personality.
*A special note about Doulas. She is there for you primarily, but she’s a HUGE help for dad! He’s going to get tired, and hungry and need a break. You will want someone that is used to the stresses of birth and can jump in to help you when dad needs time and space. No one wants him to pass out because he didn’t rest or eat the whole time you were in labor. I’ve been there…it ain’t pretty!
Step 8: Watch birth videos and make him watch them too!
Most experiences of birth are from the media and someone’s bad experience. If you submerse yourself with positive birth then you WILL feel more comfortable when it is your turn. Now listen up Daddy! Birth is yucky! I love birth, but it is still very yucky! There’s blood and MOST OF THE TIME poop too. Get comfortable with the uncomfortable because this ain’t about you right now! She’s about to undergo a life changing, body altering experience! Watch at least 3 birth videos to get used to what it looks like and sounds like. She will LOVE you for it because you won’t be the guy in the background with his hand over his face about to puke. Yeah….I’ve seen that guy…she get’s really mad at him! Don’t be that guy! HERE is a link to a birth channel that's isn't "gory".
Step 9: Remember YOU are in control! Confidence is the key to a happy birth experience no matter the outcome!
You cannot control your birth. Period. It will unfold the way it is supposed to. You CAN control the way you feel about it. Having a birth plan is really a guideline to help you advocate for your wishes. A woman who wants a completely hands off home birth experience may end up with a c-section for multiple reasons and she has to be okay with that. This is what people mean when they say, “all I want is a happy and healthy baby.” However, that really isn’t the only thing that matters. YOU matter! Your mental health and the way you process your birth experience matters!
This is why I have dedicated my life to helping women achieve
a birth experience they are proud of!
I want you to feel good in any situation birth throws at you. You may not get the experience that you wanted exactly the way you envisioned it, but it’s okay because you have armed yourself with,
-supportive and respectful care providers and support
-a way to look back and process these memories
Birth does not have to be scary. It will be intense and you might poop, but what part of life doesn’t have those elements? Nothing else I’d rather do! 😊
As always, please remember to ask questions and reach out for clarification on any topics discussed.
If you would like to register for birth classes, doula or photography, please email me at