5 tips to prepare you for a natural birth (Braidyn Birth Photographer| Sheridan, WY| Ft. Sheridan Birth Services)

Hey parents!  I've got some really exciting reading material for you!  Keep reading ;) 

The thought of having a baby can be scary.  Your body is going to be doing some crazy things over the next nine months!  Are you thinking you want to try a natural birth?  Maybe you're not sure?  That's okay too!  You have time to prepare for whatever path you choose.  Why not have fun doing it?!  Laura Simpson, with Sheridan Birth Services has some great tips for a positive birth experience!  Here are five tips to help prepare you for a natural birth.  


1.  Your body knows what it's doing and was designed to be able to do this.

 Our culture really encourages the idea that women must be "saved" from childbirth (example: how is birth typically portrayed on sitcoms?).  Most often, our bodies know exactly what they are doing, and we just get in the way.  Prepare for an amazing birth by having confidence in your body!  Think of it positively!  This is a great life-long habit, not just during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum.  
Ina May Gaskin, a well-known midwife in the U.S., puts it perfectly in her book Ina May's Guide to Childbirth: “Remember this, for it is as true and true gets: Your body is not a lemon. You are not a machine. The Creator is not a careless mechanic. Human female bodies have the same potential to give birth well as aardvarks, lions, rhinoceri, elephants, moose, and water buffalo. Even if it has not been your habit throughout your life so far, I recommend that you learn to think positively about your body.”

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2.  If you want a natural birth, the support of your birth team and birth place are vital. 

The support of your birth team and birth place are vital. 
Does your birth team and birth place encourage the birth you are desiring?  Do you know the policies they have about fetal monitoring, IVs, changing position throughout labor, pushing in various positions, giving ample time for labor and birth?  What do you think of these things and what are you envisioning for your birth?  Do the two align?
These are all super-important things to know.  Make a point to find these things out by talking with your care provider and asking ahead of time.  
Not sure what to ask?  That brings me to point number three....


3.  Take a childbirth class!

This may seem like it's countering what was said in point #1.... but here's the thing.  Even though your body was designed to be able to do this, our culture encourages the idea that you can't.  This leads to great fear of birth.  Fear alone is reason enough to take a birth class.  Beyond that, there are many interventions (see point #2) which may not align with what you are envisioning or believe best for yourself and your baby. 
Education takes away the fear and replaces it with excitement.

 Laura teaches an amazing birth class.  Click  here  to learn more.  

Laura teaches an amazing birth class.  Click here to learn more.  

4.  Prepare for postpartum.

When pregnant, the birth looms ahead and it's very easy to let it be the only thing you think about.  Don't let it take the stage.  Yes, birth is amazing, and life-changing, and will forever be with you... but so is postpartum.  Once that sweet little bundle is here, moms tend to be forgotten.  While everyone around you is oogling your sweet pea, they are also waiting for you to snap back to your pre-baby self.  Meanwhile, you're scrambling to discover who your new "you" is.  (This isn't just a first-time mom thing.)  
So do yourself a favor, in a couple ways: plan for your needs and your happiness.
Needs include things like: food, sleep, and showers.  (Yes, a shower is a need.)  
Happiness is very personal.  Ask yourself, "When I'm having a terrible day, what picks me up?"  Then find a way to stash that for the postpartum days.  (I always play happy music when I'm having a bad day, so I made some pick-me-up playlists.)


5.  Prepare for breastfeeding.

Are you finding a theme here?  The way our society handles birth, postpartum, and breastfeeding does not prepare women for those parts of life. 
Think about it: Have you seen a baby born?  Several babies?  Have you helped a mother labor?  Do you know how a baby breastfeeds?  What should a mom do to encourage her baby to breastfeed?
100-150 years ago, women were actively engaged in this part of each other's lives.  You would've helped your sister labor to birth her baby, watched as the local midwife assisted with any problems with breastfeeding, and then attended to your sister's needs for the next few weeks to months.  After that, you would've seen her nurse this baby for the next year (or two, or three, or four).  You would have been exposed to birth, postpartum, and breastfeeding before you even had your own babies.
Since we don't get that exposure now, it's important to prep ahead of time - and this includes breastfeeding.  A good childbirth class should include information on breastfeeding.  You can also read books and watch documentaries on breastfeeding, meet with a La Leche League while still pregnant, and talk with other moms who have experience nursing their babies.

They can all be wonderful times of life, especially with a little foreknowledge.  Feel free to reach out to me at www.facebook.com/sheridanbirth if you have questions or are wanting to know more about preparation for an amazing birth!

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Fun stuff about Laura (Sheridan Birth Services) and her class.

I decided to become a childbirth educator after the birth of my son.  I've always loved this time in women's lives, and loved that I found a way to plug into that passion.  I felt so confident and incredible after the birth of my son.  Unfortunately, I had a lot of friends who had terrible experiences in their birth, for various reasons, and still deal with the emotional aftermath of that.  It shouldn't be that way.  We should look back on the births of our babies with happiness and pride.  I studied for 9 months before I flew to Dallas, TX for my training and testing through Birth Boot Camp.  It was hard.  I read a ton of books, watched documentaries, studied like crazy, and put in time and finances.  But it was so worth it.  Changing lives is always worth it.  

The Birth Boot Camp classes are up-to-date, accessible, and engaging. 
Our curriculum is updated constantly - and that's no joke.  I've only been teaching for 2 years, and I've already had 3 different instructor manuals.  That's a good thing!  It means my certifying organization is staying on-top of the changes in research and care provided to birthing women.
Birth Boot Camp offers online classes, so that couples anywhere around the world can get phenomenal childbirth education.  I especially appreciate that living in Wyoming.  We have lots of rural towns that don't have access to a childbirth class.  But with internet, they still can have access great information that an in-person class offers.
Classes involves the couples.  Rather than letting it be a lecture-style class, there are games, hands-on comfort measures and activities, birth videos to watch and discuss, relaxation practice, and exercises.  And that's just an overview!

Are you a breakfast person or dinner person?
Breakfast!  Breakfast is easy, quick, and everyone is happy.  By dinnertime it's like, "Why does everyone wanna eat all the time?  Can't we all just go to sleep?!"
Do you have any hidden talents?
I used to sing opera!  But I only sing around the house and at worship now.  Or in the car - very, very loud.
Tell us about your family?
I'm married to the most amazing man in the world.  Fun fact: my college roommate and I nicknamed him "husband material" before I actually met him. We have a 3 year old son with an extensive vocabulary and love for animals, and a 6 month old daughter who is a morning ray of sunshine.

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