Childbirth “Training”

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In one of the posts I mentioned the hours I have to spend a day preparing for childbirth. I’ve often heard the intensity and strength of childbirth is compared to a marathon and the preparations needed being just as important.

So I’d like to break it down for you:

Kegels: 3 times a day

This one is easy. It’s best to start as soon as possible even before you’re pregnant to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles to prevent issues with urinary leakage during pregnancy and after birth, as well as get them strong enough to push effectively. I have to say my PC muscles weren’t very strong when I started, some time after my 1st trimester nausea subsided. I use a iPhone app called Kegel Camp to train 3 times a day. The difference in my PC muscle strength now is amazing. It is a pain in the butt to remember to do them three times a day ( I have to put it on my daily to-do list), but it’s definitely worth it not having to pee your pants anytime you laugh or sneeze.

Strengthening exercises: 30 min

These were taken from the the Bradley Book and combined with a few pregnancy exercises. I mainly concentrated on my abs and my upper thighs , since those are the main things that will need endurance and strength when time comes to push the baby out. I have to admit that with the introduction of additional hypnobabies training (see below), I just haven’t been finding the time to do these lately . I feel really bummy about it, but I have to learn to accept that sometimes I can’t do it all. I just simply can’t fit it into my day anymore. I TRY to do them every day but I fail more often than I succeed.

Perineal massage: 10 min a day

Oh, this one is my favorite! NOT!

Guys, I gotta tell you – I was looking forward to doing it and preparing in that way and was waiting to turn 32 weeks to start. The massage has been shown useful in preventing muscle and skin tears during delivery and is to be done once a day 6-8 weeks before due date.

What I didn’t anticipate was how awful the first try was going to be. {If you don’t know how it’s done, look it up, so that you knew what I am talking about} I attempted to do it myself, but my big belly just didn’t let me get into a position where I could do it. So I did what most women do –  ask my husband. We got all set up, prepared the oil, and he tried it with 1 (!!!) finger. OH MY FREAKING GOD! I literally jumped back, looking at him like “WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?” It was really painful and the feeling wasn’t like anything I’ve felt before. After a few more attempts, I said “Screw it! We are waiting till next week to try again!”

The next week we resumed and now that I knew what to expect and used my relaxation techniques things went a lot smoother, but it’s definitely not a fun thing to do, I’ll tell ya! So 4 weeks later, there’s a HUGE improvement in elasticity, but you know what I think is the most valuable thing in doing the massage? It’s the familiarity with the feeling of what the baby’s head will feel like pressing on all the same parts while crowning. I can now imagine where “ring of fire” term came from. lol I am now actually prepared for that feeling and feel I can take a lot more than what  we’re doing, i.e. baby’s head.

Inversions: 3 times a day

I only had to do this for a few days. Back when Alexis was transverse, I did inversions ( 3 times a day to encourage her to flip. I don’t know whether that helped or she flipped on her own, but she was good and engaged a week later.

Walking: 40 min a day

(to encourage baby to flip head down when she was transverse)

I stopped doing it, because I started getting very strong Braxton Hicks a bit too often for my peace of mind. I’ll be resuming the walks after 38th week.

Finger drop 5 times a day

This is a relaxation technique to be done as a part of Hypnobabies course. You basically let your whole body go limp for about 5 minutes total, while doing the techniques they teach you in the Hypnobabies course 5 times a day is challenging but it’s also good  to force yourself to take a 5 minute break to relax.

Hypnosis track: 40 min a day

Again, this is a part of Hypnobabies program. Every day you’re supposed to listen to 1 Hypnosis track, preferably during the day, though I do delegate it to right before bed most of the time. It is THE BEST remedy against insomnia. It knocks me out in a matter of minutes and my husband loves it so much that he downloaded it on his iPhone as well and turns it on in the morning when he has trouble going back to sleep. (Speaking of sleep, since he started drinking that cherry extract he’s had no problems sleeping (cherry juice contains melatonin that helps regulate your sleep cycle)

Affirmations: 35 min a day

A non-hypnosis track that helps you set a positive tone in your mind about childbirth. It can be listened any time and I usually turn it on while writing a blog post or doing some work. It’s a great tool to ease worries and concerns about pregnancy and childbirth. It’s definitely helped me have a more positive outlook on things.

Partner script: 10 minutes every other day

This is something we do together. My birth partner (my husband) reads out a hypnosis script to me every other night while I practice my relaxation. It’s very helpful and I gotta say, having him read that script is much more powerful than the hypnosis tape.


I have to admit- it’s a lot! And it gets overwhelming sometimes. I try to make it my priority but it’s hard to do, since there’re always more pressing things to accomplish rather than prepare for this hypothetical, some-time-in-the-future event. It’s always extremely hard to do something that you can’t see the results for right away (or even know if it would work). But I guess all important things in life are like that: eating well and exercising for your health, going to school to advance in a career, parenting, saving money for the future- it all requires lots of patience and determination and in the end it’s always worth it.

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  • Reply
    January 8, 2012 at 3:50 PM

    Its so funny, but I bought my husband the exact same brand of cherry juice, because he struggles with inflammation related to gout. It’s really helped him as well, however, sleeping has never been his big problem, much to my dismay. I’ve been too lazy to see if it’s ok for BFing Mommas, but it actually tastes good (the taste that I took did at least)
    Looking at this daunting list makes me kind of “ok” with the fact that I had a c-section, and will get to schedule everything from now on. Hahaha.
    I would also invest in a good nipple cream (I love the Motherlove brand, but there are lots out there, trust me, I think I’ve tried at least 10 brands) and start putting that on your nipples as well. My lactation specialist suggested I do the same prior to BFing, however, I forgot and had a painful experience at first. It’s not guarantee, however, she said it helps. I cannot wait to see how this technique works for you- the idea of a natural birth was always appealing to me. I can’t believe how close you’re getting! 🙂 Eeep!

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      January 8, 2012 at 4:09 PM

      Haha I’m not drinking that juice for the same reason- too lazy too research if its ok for preggos, BUT… Think about it: all it is is a concentrate. That’s exactly what they make some fruit juices and fruit drinks out of. I’m sure it wouldn’t be good if you were to drink a whole glass of the extract but following directions and diluting 1-2 spoons in water is less of the juice than what they put in juices sold at stores.
      So I think I’ll start drinking it when Little Alexis comes- a glass of 2 tbs a day.

      I got the nipple cream, though I can’t see how putting it on now would help. I moisturize boobies daily so that isn’t an issue. I think nipple soreness has more to do with the proper latch. I’m reading 2 breast feeding books right now and loving all the tips and advice I’m getting from it. Can’t wait to start breast feeding!

      • Reply
        January 8, 2012 at 8:43 PM

        Mine didn’t have anything to do with the latch. She latched on like a pro. She has to “bring the nipple out” (ie: make it longer) and that’s why it was so painful for me. For everyone I know, it was painful at first for that reason, but every body it totally different. I love bf now! 🙂

        • Reply
          Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
          January 8, 2012 at 9:14 PM

          Oh yikes! Makes me squirmy just thinking about it. So how does the cream use before breastfeeding help? Did the midwife mention it?
          So it doesn’t hurt at all now?

          • 02754447004654848897
            January 8, 2012 at 9:22 PM

            Supposedly my midwife (who is also a lactation consultant) stated that the more moisturized it it, the least likely it is to chap and crack.
            It doesn’t normally hurt now. Sometimes she gets lazy and does a shallow latch, so I have to re-adjust, but normally it doesn’t “hurt” anymore. I still use the cream daily before bed, because it’s still tender at times depending on the day. Sometimes she’s more aggressive, and sometimes she’s lazy- both of which hurt more than a “normal” day. But those days are getting fewer and farther between.
            I also used a shield at first which helped.
            I’m sure that your hospital will have a lactation consultant on staff while you’re there- and they help- a lot! The first couple weeks are the hardest, because they are eating non-stop, but it gets much (much!) better, and now, I love it. She smiles at me, and responds to me, and it’s our little time.
            However, if you are using an oil on your tummy, it won’t hurt to use that on your nipple as well. I’m sure it will do the same thing. 🙂

          • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
            January 8, 2012 at 10:01 PM

            Aaaah that makes sense! I do moisturize my boobs, tummy and thighs for stretchmarks with the oil, so that’s probably doing the same thing. And I definitely have the motherlove nipple cream patiently waiting to be packed away in the hospital bag.
            The lactation consultant at our hospital left and a L&D nurse took over for her, so I don’t put too much stock into the hospital provided one, since she’s not certified. And it’s way too important to get it right from the beginning, because I don’t want any supplementation whatsoever. So i got a number of a local LC, and will call her if need be. But in the meantime, I’m reading as much as I can on breastfeeding which is really helping. Until yesterday I had no idea what a proper latch looked like or that most babies need help latching on correctly in the beginning until they figure it out for themselves later.
            I had a dream about breastfeeding not too long ago and it left me with such feelings for Alexis and breastfeeding in general that every time I want to smile, I just picture that.
            I’m glad BF is going great for you. I know how many people have trouble with it.

  • Reply
    January 8, 2012 at 7:05 PM

    I never did Kegels, and I honestly have never peed from sneezing or laughing. I also tightened right back up with out a problem. I know some people swear by them, but I think it depends on who you are. Also tried perineal massage, and I gotta say it did NOT prepare me for baby head. You will stretch in ways you can never prepare for! Good on ya for serious prep, though!

    Oh yeah….breastfeeding hurts simply because you are using bits that have never been used before. Good cream helps, but no matter how good the latch is, sometimes it just hurts like all hell. Eventually it passes!

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      January 8, 2012 at 7:12 PM

      Oh I can imagine. My boobs have always been super sensitive. So even if the latch is good and my nipples aren’t sore, I’m sure the feeling of the baby gumming at my boobs would be pretty freaky at first lol

      As far as perineal massage, I’m sure I am more prepared now than when I first tried it because the first try was hell. At least I know the direction of the feeling now.

  • Reply
    January 8, 2012 at 8:20 PM

    It’s so wonderful that your husband is reading to you every other night! Mine wasn’t into it 🙂

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      January 8, 2012 at 8:27 PM

      Oh he’s not doing it cuz he likes it 🙂 I always have to remind him and ask him to do it. But he does notice how much I do in this area and I guess just can’t justify saying no, he is totally supportive of all the prep- just too lazy to motivate me.

  • Reply
    January 8, 2012 at 8:59 PM

    You are going to do great. You are going to be glad you did everything possible to prepare for her birth- no matter how it all turns out. You are getting so close!
    PS- I know you’re waiting on your Mom but I don’t know if I missed your post or if you haven’t posted it yet but I did the primrose oil, spicy food, pineapple, raspberry leaf tea, walking, bouncing, complaining, and begging. It worked. She was 13 days early 🙂

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      January 8, 2012 at 9:16 PM

      I was just going to do walking for now cuz I’m dying to do smth active and then if she’s late, I’ll add a few more things including begging lol

    • Reply
      January 16, 2012 at 8:43 PM

      Evening Primrose Oil definitely helped me. Every night after I hit 36 weeks I’d put a capsule by my cervix. I started early because I had preeclampsia and I was getting induced very soon. I was very scared that the induction wouldn’t work and I’d need a c section. I ended up being induced at 38 weeks and I was 2 centimeters when the induction started.

      Good luck! Can’t wait to read your birth story and see your beautiful pictures!

  • Reply
    January 9, 2012 at 9:42 PM

    Elena….I hope you still have the “what happens, happens” attitude that you said you had a while ago. Its nice to have a plan and all but I know exactly 0 people that had a plan that childbirth went according to it. I have a friend…she had a birth plan. She instead gave birth in her bathroom standing up (her labor lasted exactly 10 minutes and she didnt realize she was in labor for 5 of them). The only reason the baby didnt fall on the floor was because her husband walked in just in time to (literally) catch him. Its fine to have a plan….just know that it can get shot out of the window at a moments notice. I know a lot of people that didnt have the “birth experience of their dreams” and they feel really really bitter about it. They said that because it didnt go 100% according to how they wanted it to go they felt like they “missed out” (sometimes it just DOESNT go according to plan…..Im testimony to that. I had a plan… plan went out the window after 24 hours of contractions and nothing happening. My cirvix didnt efface….didnt dialate….decided to not do anything….I ended up with a c-section). Just something to think about……

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      January 9, 2012 at 10:19 PM

      Oh yes, plans in my mind are always “subject to”. Especially when it comes to things that are mostly out of your control like birth. I like to prepare though. That way I feel I have it 100%. And if things go a different way – oh well. I rarely lament over things. 🙂

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      January 9, 2012 at 10:20 PM

      Oh and really cool story with a friend btw. My mom and sis both had very short labors so I’m afraid to miss it 🙂 lol

  • Reply
    January 10, 2012 at 5:28 PM

    I know some of this is for Hypnobirthing, and I know a bunch of people who’ve gone that route and been really happy with it, but I just have to mention for others reading your post that pretty much none of this is necessary. I walked about 6 blocks a day, saw a prenatal chiropractor for pain, and got in a pool as often as I could. I did a few kegels when I thought of it — which was almost never. But even without meditation, inversions, perineal massage (I did NONE; I had no tearing), or strengthening exercises, I managed to give birth naturally to a breech baby. So your body is already incredibly powerful even without doing any of this. I’m not saying don’t do it. I’m just saying to women who may be intimidated by your regime that they can be a lot lazier and still have a baby. 🙂 And, in fact, I was told by a prenatal fitness instructor not to do too many kegels! Childbirth wasn’t a marathon for me. It was a sprint (6 hours of contractions and then 2 more hours of really intense contractions + pushing). It’s different for everyone. Prepare as you like, but it’s okay to be a little “lazy.” Good luck!

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      January 10, 2012 at 5:46 PM

      I totally agree! It’s very possible to not do a thing and still not tear, have natural childbirth and a fast labor, as well as strong kegels. But there are also a lot of women who do tear, have urinary leakage, end up with an epidural due to being unprepared (not that I am against an epidural, but I know some women get upset if they give in). However for me, the point is I want to MAKE SURE I do everything to make the right things happen, rather than hope. I would rather do it all and then know that I’ve done my best, than not. Other people feel differently. This IS a lot of work and I can’t see a lot of people doing it. For one, you have to have a decent amount of free time, so if you work full time or have other kids, this is probably not feasible. This is just what I AM personally doing ( and I am lucky my husband is supportive and gives me the encouragement and help around the house so that I could do this.)
      The baby will come out no matter what lol. I just want my body and mind to be prepared in the best way possible for me. I think many women get a good experience, but there’re even more women that have problems during and after childbirth. I want to do anything I can to prevent that-but that’s just my personal preference.

      Re: Kegels, I know you can overdo them and make your muscles too strong. I am doing just enough but not too much that’s for sure.

  • Reply
    The Art of Making a Baby » Blog Archive Birth Plan | The Art of Making a Baby_The Art of Making a Baby
    January 29, 2012 at 6:51 PM

    […] in any hypnobabies/hypnobirth birth plans and how things worked out. Before commenting, please read Childbirth training post, if you haven’t before. Thank […]

    • Reply
      January 30, 2012 at 10:18 PM

      My hubby massaged my perineum with organic olive oil, which made things a little less uncomfortable. We were going to use peanut oil but were worried about allergies.

    • Reply
      Brittney Kittchner
      August 7, 2012 at 6:29 AM

      I was wondering where you got the hypnosis and affirmation tracks and where i could get the hypnobabies programs. And what techniques did you use during labor to stay relaxed during labor for a natural child birth. I’m interested in a possible water birth or using hypnosis techniques. Also do you have any recommendations on relaxing music cd?

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