I posted this to my personal blog when I was preparing for the natural hospital birth of my first baby and I've gone back to reference this list with every pregnancy. With each baby I've added to my list with each baby, and figured out what I don't need (pads, diapers for baby, they'll have that stuff). Many couples preparing for a natural birth plan to leave for the hospital late in labor to avoid routine interventions, which is smart, but sometimes baby has other plans and you may labor at the hospital longer than expected. Come prepared, most hospitals are not equipped to help naturally laboring mothers so what you bring is important. Is there something you found comforting in your natural birth that I left off? Share your story!
October 13, 2009
I've been talking about packing for the hospital like every day for 2 weeks. I got the bag, I got the stuff, I just need to introduce them, but for SOME reason this is hard to do. I guess my laziness is pretty epic right now. I am nearly positive that I will not start packing until I'm in labor... Eric agrees. I just keep thinking, "Well I need to pack this... oh but I might need it, I'll wait." I think that makes sense.
Anyhow how, to create the illusion of progress, I'm going to blog about packing... instead of doing it. I'll pack tomorrow... maybe.
I have two smallish bags, a labor bag and postpartum bag. This makes it much easier for your partner to find whatever mom needs quickly.
In my labor bag I have:
• My birth plan, a few copies
• Tape so I can tape a birth plan to my door
• Birth Boot Camp Field Manual for affirmations
• Something for Dad to occasionally time contractions, there's an app for that
• A pad and pencil to write down questions for staff
• A super comfy robe & slippers
• Something to wear in the tub
• Hair ties and butterfly clip
• Lip balm (deep breathing = dry lips)
• Super soft wash cloth, for sweaty face wiping
• Tennis ball for counter pressure and massage
• Awesome smelling massage lotion or essential oil (fave: peppermint!)
• Hard candies (faves: peppermints and orange)
• Snacks: protein bars (fave: Luna Bars), oranges, drinkable yogurt, honey sticks
• Coconut water (has electrolytes!) and chocolate milk (great recovery drink!)
• Small ice chest (we have one that is a bag) with cold packs, hospital may be able to supply them so ask at the tour. We brought our own.
• Small crockpot and at least 2 herbal rice wraps (one can be warmed in the crockpot while mom uses the other) You doula might have these
• Birthing ball, ok I can't really pack it, but it's coming. You might find the size or softness of the hospital's ball uncomfortable.
• iPod, ear buds, & dock
• Camera & charger
• Cell charger
*If you have hired a doula (highly recommend) she may have a lot of this stuff, so talk to her about what you should bring.
In my postpartum bag:
• Nursing bras and pads
• Leggings (fave: Secret Belly Leggings)
• Slippers (in case the others got wet)
• Cute sweatsuit set for going home
• Contacts & contact stuff
• Toothbrush and toothpaste
• Travel shampoo, conditioner... etc
• Make-up, brush, hair dryer and straightener (yes, I use them)
• Mirror to put on bed tray, so I can get pretty in bed
• More snacks! Breastfeeding moms are hungry!
• Change of clothes & toiletries for Dad
• Going home outfit for baby
• Receiving blanket
• Laptop, in case we have a long stay
Well, those are my favorites! Please share yours!
A birth plan for couples planning a natural hospital birth can be a double edged sword. It is a great tool to help you and your partner decide what interventions you want to avoid, who will cut the cord, etc. It's a great way to organize your wishes and begin a discussion with your provider about them.
However, a birth plan can also give couples a false sense of security. Some couples think that their birth plan is a shield that will protect them from unwanted interventions. Unfortunately that is not the case. Think of your birth plan as a list of requests. You may get everything, you may get nothing, in most hospitals you will probably get some requests honored, and that mostly depends where you are birthing and who is attending the birth. This uncertainty is scary for most couples, as it should be! So what are couples planning a natural hospital birth to do?
Learn Your Options
Don't google "natural birth plan" and just copy what you find online. You need to learn your options, the reasons behind hospital interventions, and what alternatives are available. The best way to do that is with a natural birth class. A weekend course will not give you enough information if you are planning a natural birth. One thing you will learn in a comprehensive class will be the impact each intervention has on birth. Instead of just writing "no IV" and hoping for the best, your childbirth educator can give you concrete suggestions on how to avoid this intervention without fighting with the staff. No mother should have to fight while she is in labor!
Make a Plan With Your Partner
Sit down with your partner and figure out which options are important to you. Once in labor, mom will need to focus on being relaxed and open, so it's important that dad knows mom's wishes and can advocate for her.
Take Your Plan to Your Provider
Do this early! Not at 37 weeks... as early as it occurs to you that you want a natural birth. Pay close attention to your provider's reaction and be prepared to switch. Just because you have liked your provider up to this point does not mean they will be supportive of your desire for a low intervention birth, which may be inconvenient for them or make them feel vulnerable to malpractice suits.
Listen to what your provider says and how they say it. If you want freedom to birth in whatever position is most comfortable and your provider says "well you can push standing on your head for all I care," that is not support! That is sarcasm. They are not taking your wishes seriously and you should not expect to be respected any more than this in labor. If your provider is skeptical or unsupportive, then there is a very good chance that once in labor, your birth plan will not be respected, or even looked at.
Consider switching, it may feel awkward, but I assure you, he or she will probably never think about you again and the switch can be done without ever telling them face to face. Just find a supprotive provider and have their office call for your records. Contact your local Birth Network or ask your childbirth educator about providers that are supportive of natural birth. Your birth plan should help you find a provider that will help you achieve your desired birth.
Choose a Supportive Practice
If you have a supportive provider, make sure that if they rotate call with a team of other providers that they are also supportive of natural birth and mother-friendly care. If your doctor agrees to intermittent monitoring, even signing your birth plan and putting it on your chart, but the on call OB is uncomfortable with it because they are ignorant of the research on intermittent monitoring or because of malpractice fears, then there is a good chance you will be monitored continuously. If you are in an unsupportive practice then the thought of finding a whole group of providers that believe in natural birth may feel daunting, but they do exist! Getting the "wrong" doctor in a practice can be the difference between the natural birth you desire and a c-section.
Take Your Plan to Your Hospital
Sometimes your provider may be supportive of your birth plan, but the hospital is not. You will not be able to change hospital policy with your list of requests. Take a tour, bring your plan, and instead of asking if the hospital will "let" you do what's on your list, see if their standard policies match your desires. Is it standard that babies are given right to mom after the birth? Or is it standard that they are taken to a warmer and brought to mom later? Even if they say they will bring the baby to you, though it's not standard policy, there is a good chance that the nurses will forget and whisk your baby away, because that's what they do for every other birth. If it's hospital policy that once your water is broken you have only 12 hours until you are given a c-section, even if you are strong willed and plan to refuse it, It can be an impossible battle to fight in labor. Doctors and nurses can be very persuasive, especially if they bring up a possibly dead baby.
Use your birth plan to find a hospital that is used to accommodating naturally birthing mothers, otherwise a day that should be beautiful might be filled with conflict and disappointment. Keep in mind that a hospital is a business and they want you as a customer, they may initially tell you what you want to hear. Be a very skeptical consumer and shop around. It is not unreasonable to travel 30 minutes to an hour for a supportive hospital.
Can't We Refuse?
In a hospital nothing can be done to you without your consent, so why can't you simply refuse to lay in the bed or to get an IV? Well, you can, but you probably won't be able to stick to your guns in labor, or continue to labor while sticking to your guns.
A laboring woman requires a safe, peaceful environment for the hormone that causes effective contractions, oxytocin, to flow. Conflict may cause an adrenaline rush which inhibits oxytocin. Labor may stall, so mom may need Pitocin to start labor again, but then she will need an IV, continuous monitoring, maybe an epidural to cope with being confined to the bed and the stronger "Pit" contractions.
Conflict will also cause her to be tense, making contractions much more painful, causing her to likely need chemical pain relief. The fight itself ends up robbing her of the natural birth she was fighting for.
You are also not the first couple to refuse an intervention that the hospital staff truly believes will help you birth more safely. They know exactly what to say to change your mind. And remember, mentally you will not be where you are right now reading this, you will be in a very vulnerable state.
Another possibility is that you will never be given the opportunity to refuse. My first birth plan was 2 pages of "we do not consent to..." Like many other couples we believed it would protect us in a hospital that was not supportive of natural birth. The on call Dr. did not look at it and broke my water before I even knew what he was doing. Once my son was born, they cut his cord immediately, even though we asked for delayed clamping and for my husband to cut the cord (they let him trim it later, very anti-climactic). This is not uncommon.
Keep It Simple
Once you have chosen a supportive provider and birth place, keep your plan simple and easy to read. One paper posted on your door with a "yes please" and a "no thank you" column will be just enough to remind the staff that you are having a natural birth. I love these visual options some couples are choosing.
Ultimately, your birth plan should be more than a piece of paper, it is all the time and energy you put into preparing, interviewing, and investing in your birth. Don't make your birth plan something you have hide behind, you won't be able to any way. Use it to build a birth team that wont just tolerate your desired birth, but celebrate it!
It's not uncommon for a couple to find themselves deciding between Birth Boot Camp and Bradley Method classes. Both classes are about the same length, Birth Boot Camp classes run 10 weeks (25 hours) and Bradley classes run 12 weeks (24 hours). Both classes are in the same price bracket: $250-350. Both classes advocate natural childbirth and seem to cover many of the same topics. Considering the similarities, if I was planning to invest in a birth class I'd want to talk to someone with experience with both, so I decided to put together this guide.
The Bradley Method
In a method class a specific approach to birth is taught and encouraged. The primary coping technique taught by Bradley is sleep-simulation, a form of deep relaxation where a mother quietly lies on her side and practices deep breathing. She should look asleep to the people around her and she should be laboring in bed:
"After good, firm, regular uterine contractions are established, when she wishes to go to bed, escort her back to the labor room." (Husband-Coached Childbirth, p67)
Dr. Bradley developed his method in 1947 by observing laboring animals, and women who labored confined to beds, the only way women labored in hospitals at that time. If we go to countries where laboring in a hospital bed is not the cultural norm, women often times labor and even birth upright, though still deeply relaxed. The premise of Dr. Bradley's method is that the woman will be expected to labor quietly in a hospital bed, his cultural norm as a 1950's obstetrician. We now have better information. Lying down in labor can cause malpositioned babies, increased pain, and a longer labor. Furthermore, a naturally laboring woman often times isn't quiet. Low rhythmic moaning can be very comforting and is a sign of a mother who is coping well in labor. Encouraging women to birth using a method means that some couples will be left stranded at their birth if the method doesn't work for them.
Birth Boot Camp is Not a Method
Birth Boot Camp does not teach that there is a right way to birth. Birth Boot Camp encourages women to listen to their bodies while in labor. That means every woman will move, vocalize, and birth their baby in a way that is most comfortable to them. Couples learn to achieve deep relaxation in a variety of positions, what kinds of vocalizations help mom open, and how to listen to the different sensations of labor and birth. Once you are in labor, you will know what is and is not working for you!
Birth Boot Camp provides options, pros and cons, and techniques, but a woman's needs in labor will be unique to her.
In addition to sleep-simulation as the primary method of labor, the other foundation of the Bradley Method is husband-coached childbirth. The organization that trains Bradley instructors is the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth (AAHCC) and the name of Dr. Bradley's book is Husband-Coached Childbirth. Dr. Bradley advocated "The use of husbands as labor coaches (instead of female 'monitrices, doulas, labor companions, or labor assistants')." (Husband-Coached Childbirth, p236)
Making someone a coach implies they have played and are experts in the game. It's very unlikely that Dad is an expert in natural birth, and even if he is, his expertise will likely be useless in the height of such an emotional event. Dr. Sears does a wonderful job of articulating what many dads have felt:
"Birth reformers came up with the job title 'coach' as a way to get fathers into the delivery room, thinking that most men would identify with the word because they understood sports. Unlike sports, however, few men understand birth and no man has ever labored out a baby. My first experience as a birth coach came nearly twenty years ago. At the height of the game of labor I totally forgot what I had learned at practice and did what I naturally do best - love my wife. Once I dropped the role of coach and took on the role of lover, the whole process became easier for me." (The Birth Book, p57)
Ultimately, labor does not need to be coached. Let mom birth her baby the way nature already has designed and let dad love and support her. As for the female labor support people Bradley mentions, from the beginning of time up until 100 years ago, laboring women were attended to by knowledgeable, sympathetic women. Women, whether a midwife, or mother, or sister, who had been there and understood. While labor doesn't need a coach, mom and dad can benefit from a knowledgeable, caring guide. That can come in the form a doula. A doula has received extensive training in encouraging naturally birthing mothers and may have attended dozens of natural births. She will not interfere with mom and dad, but as an expert in normal birth and as an objective member of the birth team she may be able to make gentle suggestions and give needed encouragement.
Birth Boot Camp Dads Don't Coach
The relief in men's faces when they are told they don't have to be the "birth coach" is priceless, someday I'll have to set up a hidden camera. Dads have an irreplaceable role in the birth of their child, and that's to love mom. He knows her better than anyone else, he may be able to anticipate her needs before she even knows them herself. Birth Boot Camp helps dad apply what he already knows about his partner to comforting her physically and emotionally in labor. Mom and dad are encouraged to let go of the birth fears perpetuated by our culture, and both mom AND dad will gain the knowledge necessary to be relaxed and comfortable with the birth process.
Birth Boot Camp Training and Transparency
Your Birth Boot Camp instructor completed on average, 9 months worth of study to receive her certification and she must add to her education every year in order to remain certified. The required reading includes 13 books and films. You can see the complete list of requirements here. Birth Boot Camp has also vowed to remain transparent and publishes their unmedicated birth and cesarean rates every year so couples can see that Birth Boot Camp has a measurable impact in helping couples achieve a natural birth today.
The Bradley Method Training and Transparency
Bradley teachers have some of the same requirements as Birth Boot Camp instructors, like having birthed naturally and breastfed their babies, but the amount of study required is significantly less, only 4 books, the two I have cited above and two others. Even with revisions, the information in the Bradley publications are dated. Being old does not make a book bad of course, some of my favorite books are super old, but having outdated information is a disservice to teachers and couples.
The Bradley Method boasts an 86% success rate in helping couples achieve an unmedicated, spontaneous birth. This stat has not changed for as long as I can remember. Not only are we not sure how the AAHCC came by that number (Over which years? Were all mothers included or were some excluded for various reasons?), but couples today have no idea if the Bradley Method has continued to be effective as epidural and c-section rates rise and hospital policies and midwifery laws change.
Bradley Method Today
When deciding whether to certify as a Bradley Method or Birth Boot Camp teacher I called the AAHCC to find out how materials were updated. I had read the required coursework and was concerned about the outdated suggestions made. I was told that I had the most revised copies and that "birth hasn't changed, so there isn't much to update."
I understand that perspective, the uterus of the modern woman works just as effectively as they did 1000 years ago. Woven deep into our DNA are all the same instincts our ancestors had and babies are still eager and active participants in their births. However, we don't birth in timeless, culture-less vacuums. Birth has changed! In the 1940's fathers in the delivery room was truly innovative, but today it's standard policy, barely worth mentioning in class. In 1970 only 5% of births were by cesarean section, today it's 33%. Major shifts in the medical system and in our culture led to that change. In the 1990's natural birth gained more support, hospitals offered mothers comforts from home, and after a rise in c-sections, VBAC's (vaginal birth after cesarean) were suddenly being encouraged! The future looked bright! Today most hospitals have established VBAC bans, and couples face obstacles to natural birth that Dr. Bradley could have never foreseen in his lifetime, which is no fault of his own! Although Bradley teachers could research and update the class curriculum and videos on their own, they are strongly discouraged to by the AAHCC.
We owe Dr. Bradley our deepest gratitude for seeing that women could in fact birth naturally and that fathers deserved to be apart of birth. Are women just as capable of birthing naturally today, absolutely! But a couple deserves the most current information when preparing for such an important life event. Were women shaved and given enemas in the 1970's, absolutely. Do you need to embarrass yourself by mentioning it on your birth plan today? From personal experience... no, no you don't. I really hope you found this helpful in showing some basic differences in the philosophies and content of two seemingly similar natural childbirth classes.
A Rainbow Baby Home Water Birth
with a cord wrapped around his neck, arm, and chest!
Rosie and I had our second sons the same month, at least, we were due the same month, mine came early. We have remained friends in the years since and watched each other grow our families. I'm honored she was willing to share the birth of her third son and rainbow baby (a baby born after a loss of a baby) here.
The Birth of Bronn Everett
Friday, January 10th, one day before my due date, I woke up at 3:30am to use the restroom and had several prodromal labor contractions 4-5 minutes apart. I became antsy hoping this would turn into "real" labor and so I started my last load of laundry and ate breakfast. I decided that if I'd had a few more that I would alert my mom and midwife Shannon since my last 2 labors were very quick--I didn't want them missing it. I sat on the couch to play a little Candy Crush and the contractions quickly petered out back to just crampy braxton hicks and 10+ minutes apart. At 4:30am I declared it prodromal labor and went back to bed to try to get some sleep before my boys woke up.
At about 4:45am, my 2 1/2 year old son Axton came to bed with us. I got him settled in our side-carried crib and patted his back. I was quite uncomfortable with the back cramping I was experiencing (and had been for the last 4 days) and was having a hard time falling back asleep. At 5:15am, just as I was drifting off to sleep I felt something that I couldn't decide if it was a huge punch from baby or my water breaking. I decided to get up and check, and sure enough, it was my water. I put on a pad and got breakfast and the TV going for Axton, since he woke up when I got out of bed. I called Shannon, who asked if I'd like her to go ahead and come on over. I felt really silly asking her to come since I hadn't had any contractions since my water breaking, so we decided she'd get up and ready and I would text her when I started having contractions. I called my mother and sister Candice to go ahead and come over, woke up my husband, and put my in-laws on alert.
At 5:30am I texted Shannon that I'd had a couple contractions. I was having a hard time timing them, as I'd have one, then forget to hit stop as I tried to take my last pregnant belly picture, brush my teeth, fix my hair, and put on makeup (hey, so I'm vain...).
My guess is about 3 minutes apart. I had a bit of bloody show at 5:40, but not much. I updated my Facebook due date group and my personal page that I'd be having a baby that day and turned on my water in the bathtub. My mom showed up about 5:55am and Shannon showed up about 6:10am. She checked my blood pressure, temperature, and checked baby's heartbeat as I sat on my birth ball. At this point the contractions were becoming very tough and intense and required my full attention. I leaned over the bed and closed my eyes and tried to relax through them, but was already having a hard time doing so; the pressure was so intense in my lower back, and I was also experiencing very painful cramps in my lower back and lower abdomen in conjunction with the tightness and pressure of the contractions. They began coming every 2 minutes and lasting over a minute. After a few more contractions, I was already feeling overwhelmed with the intensity and pain and began crying. I promptly decided it was time to get in the tub, even though it wasn't even half full.
I donned my "traditional birthing tank," as my sister calls it, and climbed in the tub. The water felt great, but unfortunately didn't provide as much relief as I remember it having with my other two water births. My husband Corey climbed in after me and I assumed my position draped over his knee. Upon seeing the two of us in the tub, Logan (5 1/2) and Axton decided they wanted a bath too. My mom helped them put on their swim trunks and they came in with us for about 10 minutes or so.
They played a bit and hugged me a bit, then I needed them out. The contractions weren't quite letting up between each peak; they would peak and die back down, but the cramping in my back didn't let up and then I'd have another wave of contraction. Sometime around 7, the time really escaped me this labor, my sister Candice, student midwife Amber, and my father-in-law arrived. My father-in-law helped watch the boys and warm more water on the stove for the tub, as I later learned we were having problems with the water pressure and so the warm water ran out before the tub was full, and my mother and sister took pictures and videos for me.
Shortly thereafter I began feeling my body squeezing with each peak of the contractions and called Shannon into the bathroom. The contractions felt too much to handle at this point and I began repeating "you can do this. Come on, baby. Come on down" in my head. I also remember telling my husband "this is stupid. I can't do this anymore" :) Shannon gave me encouragement telling me how strong I was. In between these "pushy" contractions, my body gave me a little rest as I felt like there was more time in between these contractions than what I was feeling before. I knew my body would begin pushing soon and tried to prepare myself mentally for what I knew would be hard. At about 7:30, my body began to bear down, and my first thought was "no, I'm not ready," but there was no stopping it. I was involuntarily shaking and crying, the intensity was just too much to bear. I had to make myself try to keep my sounds low as I cried out (embarrassingly loudly) "owwww" and "whoooo". After two pushing contractions I announced that I felt his head. Two more contractions, crying, and grunting and his head was out. He had a tight nuchal (around his neck) cord, and my body hadn't given me another contraction yet. Shannon asked if I was ready to have my baby and helped me deliver the body. I could feel his body wasn't in the best position coming out, so birthing his body was not as easy or painless as it had been with my other two boys whose bodies slid out with a push. She passed him to me and I pulled him out of the water. He did not instantly pink up out of the water since his cord was not only wrapped around his neck but around his arm and around his chest. Shannon and I did a quick fumble/scramble to get him untangled and I brought him to my chest.
I did it. It was soo hard, but I did it. My baby was here. He wasn't crying, but I knew all was well when he turned his head and looked directly at me with wide open eyes. When he rooted and tried to nurse through my shirt, all worries melted away--he was going to be fine. I rubbed his back, cooed over his tiny head full of dark hair, and watched him pink up as his brothers came in to meet him. We marveled at how tiny he was, which Shannon and Amber laughed about, but he is my smallest baby, so to me he IS so tiny.
After we cut the cord and I delivered the placenta, he nursed like a champ and Shannon did his assessment.
I forgot to mention that since he had turned head down around 28 weeks, he had been direct occiput posterior, OP, with a hand on his face that would slip down into my pelvic inlet at times (his back at my back and a hand that might possibly come out at the same time as his head...basically the most unfavorable position for labor and birth). Most OP babies give their mamas lots of prodromal labor, a hard and long back labor, and a long pushing time (not to mention if that hand came out with his head). January 6th and the 9th, I saw my chiropractor for the Webster adjustment to hopefully get my pelvis in line for him to turn anterior (his face at my back, or the most favorable position for labor and birth), and while it did help alleviate the pain I was feeling in my pubic bone, he still remained posterior. He remained OP throughout labor, giving me intense back labor, but did emerge anterior. I can't say exactly when he turned, but I'm sure it had something to do with him being nice and tangled.
My beautiful rainbow baby Bronn Everett was 7lb 13oz, 19 1/2", born at 7:39am on January 10, 2014, after a very hard 2 hours and 20 minutes of labor. And he was worth every second of it.
“To be a rainbow baby does not negate the ravages of the storm. When a rainbow appears in the sky, it does not mean that the storm never happened, or that the family is not still dealing with its sadness aftermath. What it means is that something beautiful and full of light has appeared in the midst of the darkness and clouds…..and that light is you. Storm clouds may still hover but a “rainbow baby” provides a counterbalance of color, energy, and hope.”
You're puking, your tummy is bloating, and your back hurts... sexy is probably not the first word you'd choose to describe pregnancy. While it might be tempting for you or your partner, you should consider not putting sex on hold for the next 9 months plus 2 months (don't forget about postpartum!). Sex is good for mom, for dad, and even has benefits for baby.
Sex is safe for most pregnant moms
Unless your doctor or midwife has instructed you not to, it is perfectly safe to have sex during all stages of pregnancy, even in labor as long as your water hasn't broken. YES some couples have sex when mom is in labor, and there are benefits to that as well.
It's important to remember to take it slow. Pregnancy causes all kinds of hormonal shifts, some women want more sex and some want less. Dryness, an extra sensitive cervix, and post sex spotting are all possible reasons to take things slow. Here are 9 reasons (one for every month!) to make time for sex in pregnancy. Remember moms, do what feels right for you. Partners, please respect mom's comfort levels.
9 Benefits to Sex in Pregnancy
1. Better Sleep
Every stage of pregnancy can affect mom's sleep. Frequent bathroom trips can begin in the first trimester by the third trimester mom's well rounded tummy can make sleep uncomfortable. Some women experience hormone induced insomnia. Sex can be a solution to sleep issues because immediately after orgasm prolactin is released, which helps mom feel relaxed and sleepy. A better night's sleep means a more energized mama in the morning!
2. Fewer Aches
Many pregnant women long to climb into bed all day, only to find they can't get comfortable once they get there. A quickly growing uterus can put unique strains on the body which sometimes cause pain. Sex, however, can block pain! Oxytocin, aka the "love hormone," is released during orgasm and has pain blocking and pain tolerance rising qualities. We will talk more about oxytocin later!
3. Improved Immune System
Everyone is talking about how you can boost your immune system. Research has shown people who have sex often are sick less. Pregnant women already have a suppressed immune system. Sex boosts antibodies and may help you ward off that cold... which is really the last think you need when awaiting the arrival of your little one!
4. Stronger Pelvic Floor (Less Likely to Pee on the Floor)
Many pregnant women have been there, you sneeze, laugh, someone surprises you... and you pee unexpectedly. Your pelvic floor is like a trampoline holding up all the organs in your pelvis and helps with bladder control. There are two ways in which sex can strengthen your pelvic floor: partner kegels or "sexercise" and orgasm. Kegels are when you contract the pelvic floor muscles, you can locate these muscles by stopping the flow of urine. Partner kegels can be done during intercourse. Practice kegels on your own and then check in periodically with your partner and find out if you are getting stronger. Also, orgasm causes contractions in these muscles, you get a workout that actually IS fun!
5. Lowers Blood Pressure
Your diet is important in helping to maintain a healthy blood pressure in pregnancy, but sex has also been shown to be effective in lowering systolic blood pressure. Keeping your blood pressure in a healthy range can mean keeping you and baby healthy and keeping your pregnancy low risk, avoiding an induction or even a c-section.
6. Boosts Mood
Sometimes pregnancy is hard. Being tired and uncomfortable can take a toll on our overall mood. Orgasm can help boost your mood by releasing endorphins which are good for mom and baby! Oxytocin also fosters attachment and closeness between mom and dad, making for a happier relationship. Did you know orgasms did so many cool things?
7. Less Stress
Pregnancy should be a beautiful time in a couple's life, but there are times where it can be a source of stress. Again, orgasms can be a source of relief! Oxytocin and endorphins activate pleasure centers in the brain that can reduce anxiety and even depression.
8. Start or Progress Labor
Semen contains prostaglandins which help soften and dilate the cervix, and orgasm will give you a big rush of oxytocin which is the hormone that creates contractions that will bring baby down and into this world. If your body is ready, sex can encourage labor to begin! Once in labor, sometimes the closeness or working together through contractions and the high levels of oxytocin can actually be arousing. As long as mom's water hasn't broken, it is completely safe, and actually beneficial to have sex in labor. Most couples don't talk about it because it can sound weird, but I personally know quite a few couples who have had sex in early and active labor, which can actually further progress labor and bring baby into the world sooner.
9. Faster Recovery
By keeping her pelvic floor strong in pregnancy, after baby's birth her muscles will recover much quicker. A strong pelvic floor may have made baby's delivery easier, and mom would have been less likely to tear, making for a recovery with much less pain.
Be sure to check with your care provider to makes sure sex is safe in your pregnancy. If it is, you have 9 reasons to not kiss intimacy goodbye.
Natural Birth Series
Sept 28 – Nov 15
Infant Sleep for Expecting & New Parents
6:30pm - 9:00pm
Gentle Cesarean: Planning & Recovery
Toro Park, 3-6:30pm
Natural Birth Refresher
Salinas, 1– 4pm
Preconception & Early Pregnancy Class
Salinas, 1– 4pm
Sibling Prep for Parents & Kids
November 4th & 5th
Toro Park, 2:-4pm
Fall Home & Birth Center Birth Series
Nov 7 – Dec 12
Natural Birth Series
Nov 29th – Jan 17th