Top 10 Tips from Midwives
This age of information overload can leave a mama -to - be tearing her hair out as to what advice to follow - especially when it comes to the grand finale. These are the top ten tips from experienced Midwives in Melbourne - guaranteed to put your mind at ease and give you a few laughs too!
Exercise during the pregnancy
Even if it is walking on your lunchbreak or with your child to school or childcare – the
minimum amount of exercise to aim for is 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. You may
be able to maintain the same level of exercise you were doing before pregnancy, i.e.
weights, yoga, swimming – but with some modifications as your posture, blood
pressure, weight and centre of gravity change. Upper body strength is just as
important as lower body strength – you don’t know what positions you will be in for
Have lots of sex
Having an orgasm spurs your uterus to contract! Unless you’re nearing the tail-end of
your pregnancy and your body is ready to begin the birthing process, these contractions
aren’t strong enough to make you go into labour, and will actually keep the baby in!
Orgasms also lead to an increase in oxytocin – the love hormone that creates a sense of
bonding while decreasing cortisol and pain levels.
Massage your perineum
Gently stretching the perineal region after having a warm compress on will do
wonders for softening the skin and muscles in preparation for a vaginal birth. This
can be done after 34 weeks by either yourself (if you can still reach!) or your partner
a few times a week, and can be helpful during the actual labour.
You really don’t have to lie down
- Moving, laughing and dancing will help decrease your cortisol levels (your stress
buffer) and perception of pain during labour. You never know which position will be
most comfortable during the labour – bouncing on a fitball, leaning forwards over a
chair, or on your hands and knees – speak to your midwife about different labour
Stage one, or early labour, can last up to 12 hours, while stage two, or active labour
can last up to 5 hours – you will get hungry! Carbohydrates that deliver a slow,
steady release of energy into the bloodstream is ideal – think cereals, mueseli bars,
fruit, etc. Eat little and often, rather than having one big meal.
Hair removal is optional
Although you may notice a healthy new sprout of body hair (everywhere!) – we
don’t. It’s the last thing we are thinking of during your labour! It might be to your
benefit to be "au naturelle", as the evidence shows your skin may be more sensitive to
hair removal creams, and there no reliable studies have been done to determine if
either laser hair removal or electrolysis are safe for pregnant women.
Take a nap between contractions
Did we mention bringing snacks? Labour is a marathon – guaranteed to get your
muscles working, cardiovascular system pumping and energy levels depleted over
the hours (sometimes days!) of early and active labour. Rest between your
contractions to have energy for the grand finale!
Have a supportive birth partner
Mamas who feel strong social and emotional support from their partner through the
pregnancy had fewer symptoms of post-partum depression and anxiety after giving
birth. That said, it’s your choice who you take into the delivery room – be it partner,
grandparent or friend. Your birth partner is responsible for supplying you with
water, snacks, pillows, massage, music and pep talking to get to the finish line!
Let it out
Talk about your anticipations, fears, and excitements with your partner and health
care professional. Get it out in the open! When it comes to labour – sing, moan,
huff, yell – do whatever you need to – vocalisation helps to move your diaphragm up
and down which relaxes your pelvic floor, as well as being a stress reliver too!
Call the 24/7 Nurse & Midwife Support Hotline - for confidential advice, dial 1800
667 877. Pregnancy and birth should be an exciting adventure – there are many
supportive health professionals to assist you on your journey.