My Birth Story
I gave birth to my little angel all without any pain killers, epidurals, etc. . In this blogpost I will tell you all about how I did it. But first I’ll tell you a bit about my birth story and my background to give you some context and more understanding about my predispositions.
I got pregnant unexpectedly and was very sick the the first few months. So I wanted to find the most effective things I could do to prepare for an „easier“ labor in a short amount of time. A few notes on my body:
-I am naturally on the slimmer side and my mother and my grandmother gave birth quickly and easily.
-It is also important to note, that I have been doing yoga-like mini-exercises every single day since I was a child. This means I already had a certain flexibility.
So, now that we got my background out of the way, I’ll tell you all my best tips to prepare for an unmedicated birth.
A quick reminder before we get to the tips. Giving birth without any medication or giving birth in any certain way should not be something you judge others or yourself by. It is a very personal choice and sometimes we don’t have a choice. Pregnancy and childbirth are under nature’s power. We have to go with the flow and adapt to whatever is happening. You are not weaker or stronger because you give birth with or without an epidural. You are strong by nature. And you need to (with the help of your physicians, midwifes and partner etc.) make the decision that is best for you and your child/ children. A painkiller-free birth can be your personal goal and it is okay if you achieve it and okay if you don’t.
*The following tips are for people who try/want to give birth unmedicated and have chosen to prepare for doing so*
The Malasana Deep Squat
No matter how „fit“, active or flexible you are. No matter where your starting point is, no matter when your due date is, I recommend to everyone who can do the Malasana deep squat to open up your hip and pelvis area for childbirth. If you only do one exercise let it be this. If this feels to painful or hard for you then put a yoga block or pillow underneath your bum to assist you during the squat.
More tips on Yoga for pregnancy:
Swap Your Chair With An Exercise Ball
A wonderful tip I have is to swap your chair with an exercise ball for a few minutes a day. When you are sitting on the exercises ball you can move your hips in a circle or a laying figure eight for example. I felt that it helped open up my hip and pelvic area. It was also more comfortable as chair when I was in my third trimester with my huge belly. Please do always make sure that you are stable and do not use it if you are you feel dizzy or anything alike.
Kegel exercises help to strengthen the pelvic floor but also make it more elastic. And this is exactly what we need to have easier labor. Try to do them everyday even after childbirth.
Here are two YouTube videos that explain how to do it and why:
Start Week 34
This is a massage that you can do by yourself or with the help of a partner. The aim is to help „stretch“ the perineum. There are also devices you can use instead of a massage. I didn’t like doing this at all so I did it when I was comfortable enough. But I still tried to do these massages regularly.
Here is a video that explains the technique:
Start Week 36
You can do sitz baths to help prepare the perineum and pelvic area for labor and also to help regulate contractions (according to my midwife).
A sitz bath (sitz means „to sit“ in German) is a warm bath you can do over the toilet for your nether regions. You can buy these little tubs that you can put over your toilet seat. You fill them up with warm water (make sure it is not to hot) and add hay flowers or lime blossoms (check for any allergic reactions first, maybe on your arm wrist 24h prior to doing the bath).
This is also great for healing after childbirth and for painful PMS or periods.
Always clean and disinfect the tub afterwards.
Raspberry Leaf Tea
Drinking raspberry leaf tea is beneficial to all women pregnant or not and throughout all of pregnancy. I still drink raspberry tea when I am PMSing or when I am on my period.
Red raspberry leaf tea has also been used to strengthen the uterus, improve labor outcome and prevent excessive bleeding after childbirthhttps://www.healthline.com/nutrition/red-raspberry-leaf-tea#pregnancy
The Most Important Thing: Mindset
The one thing that truly got me to through it all was my mindset! I believed in myself and I told myself that I will do it without medication. In fact, I „knew“ everything would go well. I told myself over and over that I could do this, that I was strong, that my labor would be quick and easy until I „knew“ that it was going to be quick and easy.
And it truly ended up being quick for a first timer and fairly easy. Of course I was in pain but I excepted that pain and knew it was part of the process. I wholeheartedly advise you to learn about labor and the pains that come with it. Learn all about what happens and when, so that you know and understand what is happening while you are in labor. That way you’ll be more capable of accepting the pain and welcoming the waves of contractions. Contractions are good. Contractions help to push the baby out. So accept the contractions and look at them as waves or clouds that come and pass. And know that you were built for this. Your body knows exactly what it is doing and you are in sync with nature. Trust yourself and the people around you. You are in good hands. Like Bruce Lee said, be water. Adapt and fully give in to nature.
On top of that, I really was more scared of an epidural. I absolutely wanted to avoid it at all costs, so that helped as well.
Tips for while you are in labour
Here are three things that I did that helped a lot during labour:
- Trying different poses: I wasn’t afraid of trying different poses. Don’t worry and just do whatever feels right to you no matter how it may look. In movies we always see the woman lying on her back in the hospital bed. This pose actually doesn’t facilitate labor. On the contrary, it might be harder to push the baby out this way. This is what a „better“ pose might look like:
2. Water Birth: Being in warm water helped me tremendously. It eased my pains and had a relaxing effect.
3. Breathing deeply during contractions: I used a technique in which one breathes out „Os“ and „Us“ during a contraction. It’s a deep and primal breath out. Again don’t feel ashamed or shy when thinking about this. We are creating a life here so no need for any shame about anything.
Here is video to illustrate it: