Preparing for Birth
If this is your first childbirth, if you previously had a medicated birth, or if you're planning a VBAC, it is important to plan ahead for labor by learning about birth, preparing your body and mind, and surrounding yourself with positivity.
- The Concord Birth Center offers a free four-session childbirth class taught by the midwives and a lactation consultant. The classes cover the physiological changes associated with pregnancy and how your baby is growing, normal labor and birth, when to call the midwives, coping mechanisms, laboring or birthing in water, what happens in the case of a transport for medical care, preparing for the postpartum and breastfeeding, and more. Ask one of your midwives about the birth class schedule, and we'd be happy to include you. We strongly recommend that you and a partner or your birth support person, attend this class.
- The River Guild offers a five-class HypnoBirthing series. The HypnoBirthing method teaches simple and powerful self-hypnosis techniques to induce deep states of relaxation and removing fears and anxieties around birth and parenting. Check their website for dates.
Movement & Bodywork
- Prenatal yoga is a wonderful way to gently exercise and stretch your body while connecting body and mind in coordinated movement. The River Guild holds regular prenatal yoga classes, as do many other yoga studios.
- We encourage clients to seek chiropractic care to address the discomfort associated with the body's adaptations to pregnancy, but also to help align the pelvis and encourage your baby to settle in an optimal position for labor. While we generally recommend Carlos Perez of Back in Motion, located in The River Guild, ask one of your midwives if you're seeking a chiropractor in your area. To book an appointment with Carlos, call 603-262-1770 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The Tummy Team is a group of physical therapists offering online courses to strengthen the core and pelvic floor, both in the prenatal and postpartum. Their easy exercises can be performed at your desk! This is especially helpful if you've noticed that the muscles running down your belly are starting to separate or have separated, or if you pee when you sneeze.
We recommend Brooklyn Logan, who is both a doula and a wonderful birth photographer. You'll find her photographs all over this website! Her website is www.mindfulmamabirth.com
Recommended Reading & Viewing
- Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, Ina May Gaskin. The celebrated community midwife Ina May Gaskin shares stories of birth and information about physiological labor in this essential guide. If we don't have a copy available for you to borrow in our library, you can find cheap used copies on Amazon.
- Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering, Sarah Buckley. Doctor and home birth advocate Sarah Buckley shares her research on the hormonal flow of birth and breastfeeding, exploring all the ways that we can support or disrupt that flow. Her website has lots of information on a variety of topics, from attachment parenting and elimination communication to home birth.
- Birthing from Within, Pam England. This unique guide to pregnancy through the postpartum invites readers to explore their feelings and expectations about birth using creative exercises. There are plenty of cheap used copies on Amazon.
- Surround yourself with positive birth stories that celebrate strength and joy. Pregnant people often find themselves in situations where friends, acquaintances, and even strangers want to describe their or others' negative experiences of birth; set healthy boundaries! The websites Tell Me a Good Birth Story and Positive Birth Stories archive many different settings and contexts of birth, all positive. If you'd prefer a podcast, The Birth Hour also has stories of different births, with many categories including water birth, VBAC, home birth, and more.
- Watch people having joyful births. One of our assistant midwives has compiled a YouTube playlist with numerous births, mostly at home, depicting childbirth as a healthy and physiological process, and a powerful experience.
Preparing Children for Birth
- If you are planning to have your child present at your birth, we recommend watching a few birth videos and discussing the sounds they might hear, how their parents might behave, and what they might see. We strongly encourage you to plan to have an adult present who can support your child or children in the case that they feel overwhelmed and need to step out, or in the case of a hospital transport. Some books that are helpful to read with children include Welcome With Love (also available under the title Hello Baby) and Mama, Talk About When Max Was Born.
- Spinning Babies is a wonderful resource on fetal positioning, with clear information about how different positions can potentially impact labor and birth, and exercises to encourage the baby to settle in a helpful position.