So, you want to give birth naturally? Wonderful! The benefits of a natural, unmedicated birth affect not only your baby, but you as well. In general, natural births boast of faster recovery rates for mom, and an easier time starting breastfeeding for mom and baby. Naturally born babies are more alert at birth and often are calmer.
However, there is more to giving birth naturally than showing up to the hospital in labor, or calling your midwife for your home birth. The more preparation that you do before hand, the more likely you are to successfully give birth naturally.
I'm starting a weekly series on twin (and other multiple pregnancy) tips, hints, and helpful advice. Our first installment is my top ten tips for a healthy twin pregnancy.
- Select a health care provider that you trust, are in synch with and are willing to work with. I went into my twin pregnancy assuming I'd have a low risk singleton pregnancy, and planned on seeing my doctor as little as possible! After all, this was to be my fifth baby! Twins change everything! Thankfully I had chosen a doctor that I liked and trusted, because I saw A LOT of him! I also spoke with his nurses a lot on the phone, so a helpful staff is a plus as well.I found out I was expecting twins at 23 weeks and I began biweekly visits at that time. From 30 weeks on I saw the doctor weekly. Frankly, I enjoyed making sure my babies were growing well and were on track, and once I was on bed rest, I was thankful for the chance to get out of the house!
- Be prepared for some form of bedrest. Some MOMs (Mothers of Multiples) are able to skate by their entire pregnancy while working full time or juggling other responsibilities, but most have some form of bedrest. My doctor told me from the outset that his policy is standard modified bedrest once a MOM measures full term. For me this was 28 weeks. Quite frankly, as I was measuring full term and still had a full ten weeks of pregnancy to go, I was thankful to be off my feet. I also had a few weeks to prepare and make arrangements. I used my bedrest time as a time to relax before the roller coaster of newborn twins, and I took the time to learn Photoshop, which I would have never taken the time to do otherwise!
- Read up on life with twins, but avoid the horror stories if you can! After had my girls I ran into website after website telling me all of the things that could have gone wrong and I am so glad I did not see them when I was still pregnant and worrying every day!
- Talk to other MOMs. Get advice, swap pregnancy stories, and snag some hand me down twin gear! Most MOMs love to share all of these things!
- Take lots of pictures, of you. Yes you...with that big old belly. You know, the belly that even sticks out of maternity clothing ...yep that one! Your kids will thank you for it some day!
- Drink lots of water. The water will calm your uterus, which tends to be more irritable during multiple pregnancies, and it will keep you comfortable and hydrated. I felt like I could never stay fully hydrated during my twin pregnancy!
- Eat high calorie foods! A twin pregnancy requires about 3000 calories a day! This sounds like heaven until you realize how little space your stomach has left, and how many things give you heartburn and reflux. Now is the time to indulge in milkshakes and ice cream. (However, avoid overly fatty foods, or you may end up in the hospital with a gall bladder attack like I did!)
- Don't buy a lot of maternity clothes. Trust me, they aren't going to fit. Sadly, they are meant for people carrying one baby at a time. I invested in some pajamas and one or two outfits for going out in. However, even though I spent a lot of time in yoga pants and pajamas, I tried to do my hair and make-up most days. It is hard to feel pretty when you are so big, but you do what you can.
- Get out and pamper yourself at least one time before the babies are born. I had a manicure and pedicure about two weeks before the babies came, and a haircut the day before my induction. The babies are six months old now, and that is the last time I did either of those things...which reminds me...I'm due for some pampering!
- ENJOY THIS TIME! I know that it feels very overwhelming to know that there are two or more babies growing inside of you, but you are truly participating in a miracle! The payoff is so worth it! Let people spoil you, because they will want to!
Each week we scour the internet for videos that will inspire, entertain or educate. Today, Stephanie Tallent of beeyoutiful.com shows us an easy way to prevent heartburn during pregnancy.
Whenever I answer these mothers I always suggest the same book. Taking Charge of Your Fertility, 10th Anniversary Edition: The Definitive Guide to Natural Birth Control, Pregnancy Achievement, and Reproductive Health. This is a book that every woman whould have on her bookshelf and refer to often.
Taking Charge of Your Fertility is 512 pages of reproductive health information. Author Toni Weshler details in easy to understand terms how to really understand your reproductive cycle at every stage in life. She details how to chart your cycles and then use that data to acheive or prevent pregnancy. For those (like myslef) who are nearing the end of their reproductive years, she details the progression of menopause, what is normal and what is not.
This is truly the book that your mother should have bought you as a teen, but didn't. This is the book that you should purchase for your daughters.
From the publisher:
Celebrating 10 years of helping hundreds of thousands of women achieve pregnancy, avoid pregnancy naturally, and gain better control of their health and lives, the 10th Anniversary Edition of the classic bestseller will include:This book can be truly life-changing for many women who prefer to avoid hormonal birth control, and for those who are unsure about their cycles (fast fact: the 28 day cycle is an average, not the norm).
• New 'Preface to the 10th Anniversary Edition"
• Updates on new fertility technologies
• Natural approaches to conception
• Updated Resources and Books
For any woman unhappy with her current method of birth control; demoralized by her quest to have a baby; or experiencing confusing symptoms in her cycle, this book provides answers to all these questions, plus amazing insights into a woman's body. Weschler thoroughly explains the empowering Fertility Awareness Method, which in only a couple minutes a day allows a woman to:
• Enjoy highly effective, scientifically proven birth control without chemicals or devices
• Maximize her chances of conception or expedite fertility treatment by identifying impediments to conception
• Increase the likelihood of choosing the gender of her baby
• Gain control of her sexual and gynecological health
Taking Charge of Your Fertility can help you answer the tricky questions about why your post-partum periods are irregular and help you determine whether or not you are fertile while breastfeeding.
This is a NaturallyBorn top pick!
Seriously: we have put blood, sweat and yes, even tears (can anyone say, "hackers"?) into this redesign. And, this is beginning: new features will be rolled out in the coming weeks and months.
Here are a few of the improvements we have made:
- A HUGE archive of questions-and-answers asked here on our Facebook. We weren't able to archive all of them -- you all have asked thousands upon thousand of questions :-) -- but we have about 2,000 questions categorized and tagged so far, with more to come.
- Don't want to wait for us to repost your question? Don't want to risk having friends/family see your question? Ask it instantly by posting it on our site! The question will be posted there, AND piped back here to our Facebook page. You can still post your question completely anonymously, but either way, your name will NOT be posted to Facebook.
- Our baby pro directory is better and bigger than ever. Find doulas, midwives, lactation pros, and more. We have also opened the directory to NEW providers such as holistic pediatricians, pediatric sleep consultants, and chiropractors.
- JOIN US!
- Answer a question, or two, or seven
- Join a group, or start one
- Subscribe to our blog: enter your name and email in the "get updates" box.
- Are you a birth or baby pro? Get in our directory!
And please, tell us what you think! We LOVE to hear your suggestions and feedback.
With warmth and gratitude for being part of our community!
Amy, Pam, and the NaturallyBorn team of volunteers