My natural health obsession reached a peak when I became pregnant with my son. I was well on my way before then but the responsibility of creating another human being really kicked it up a few notches!
I knew right from the get-go I didn’t want to give birth in a hospital setting unless there was some sort of medical emergency that required it. And my health philosophy is all about being super (and borderline obsessively) proactive to avoid medical emergencies. When it comes to my health, I never leave anything to chance.
An acquaintance of mine that had gone through a couple of natural home births recommended I start drinking red raspberry leaf tea even before I became pregnant to improve fertility and especially during pregnancy to strengthen my uterus. I did this regularly before and throughout my pregnancy. In doing your research on this herb, you’ll see that conventional medicine says it can cause miscarriage in the first three months. If you read carefully, the research tested the isolated active component and not the whole herb. Be aware and do what feels comfortable and safe for you.
From a food standpoint, I avoided the usual list to steer clear of but on top of that I completely eliminated coffee and even chocolate. My boy didn’t even get chocolate cake on his first birthday… I made him “chocolate cake” using carob. I told you I was crazy right? I’m a lot more nutritionally lax with my son nowadays but it was really important for me to get him started right. I was also drinking a lot of fresh, homemade green juices.
It goes without saying I went the midwife route. I also hired a doula and took hypno-birthing classes. These are non-negotiable in my opinion. I have no doubt that the affirmations and visualization I learned to do through hypno-birthing were a big factor in my success and positive birth experience. I actually hate that as women we’ve been made to feel disempowered and scared of our own bodies when it comes to birthing. These exercises helped me ignore the fear-mongering that surrounded me.
In addition to mental exercise, physical exercise was a huge part of my pregnancy. I was doing spinning classes into my 8th month and my last gym workout was 4 days before I gave birth. I worked with the amazing Sarah Zahab to get the best pregnancy workout for my needs. I also religiously did my Kegels and deep squat stretches. Giving birth was probably the toughest workout I ever did and staying in shape throughout pregnancy was definitely one of the best decisions I could have made.
I really wish someone would have introduced me to the power of essential oils back then. High-quality mandarin and lavender are amazing health and mood supports during pregnancy. I’m certain I could’ve reduced a lot of discomfort with oils and I can just imagine how amazing it would have been to have a diffuser going during labour.
I rarely go into detail about how wonderful and empowering my birthing story was because I know that’s not everyone’s experience. However, I decided to share some of the counter-culture things I did to help others who want to follow this path and hopefully make a small impact in the birthing experience of these women.
We are STRONG. We are POWERFUL. We were MADE TO DO THIS. Please don’t ever let anyone take that belief away from you…
Sounds crazy (and by now you know I am crazy!) but I would totally give birth again tomorrow. Unfortunately, having another baby just wasn’t in the cards for me.
I would absolutely love to hear the positive home birth stories of other women! Feel free to share with us in the comments below and include any unconventional things you might have done during your pregnancy 🙂