It has been said that your birth story dictates how you will parent. It is the essentially the fractal that plants the seed for how you will FEEL about mothering. At first blush it can seem like an overwhelming concept, but if you think about it in generalities it’s simplicity shines through. For most of us, our thoughts dictate our feelings which dictate our actions and actions give rise to our results or circumstance.
Preparing for birth and all of its wonder can make the difference during birth, whether you feel empowered on your new journey as a parent, able to go with the flow and present in most moments or as if you are being told what to do and barely managing. I don’t know about you, but the former sounds much better than the latter as a trajectory into motherhood. So how does one prepare for such a magical event of which we have seemingly so little control?
The truth is, we are never fully prepared for what will be the uniqueness of our birth story and that’s okay. There are, however, many types of care a couple can engage in, in order to feel a greater sense of trust and connection with their body and their partner. Hypno-birthing, meditation, having a birth doula, choosing a birthing team you intrinsically trust, chiropractic care to help strengthen your body and give you confidence in its abilities, yoga for a mind body connection and flexibility, soul discussions with your partner when preparing your birth plan, and acupuncture for cervical ripening and toning the nervous system are a few of the many ways to help you feel prepared for the miraculous event of having a child. I suggest all couple seek out a few of the above mentioned methods and choose the one or two to focus on that fits them as a couple.
Full discloser, I am an acupuncturist and probably a bit bias to its capabilities, however, there is scientific evidence that suggests acupuncture is a viable method to help increase cervical ripening as well as turn on the para-sympathetic portion of our nervous system that is essential for birth to progress. Many of my patients find their way to me during their fertility journey or while trying to mitigate some of the less pleasant symptoms of pregnancy like nausea and fatigue, but a few brave ones seek out my care for the first time days before they give birth terrified they will be medically induced or forced into a c-section. It can be scary to be up against a deadline to go into labor, especially for a new mom. Ironically, fear inhibits the hormone oxytocin which is essential to labor progression. Thankfully, acupuncture can help to curb the fight or flight response created by the fear of not going into labor on your own, fear of birth itself, or any other number of fears that come up during this time. It works by helping your brain to switch into what is known as para-sympathetic or the “breed and feed” mode of your body. This part of our nervous system then sends the message to our body that we are in fact in a safe place and it’s okay to start the process. Frequent treatments in the week before your due date or weekly treatments as early as 38 weeks can help to begin the dilation process and help you to feel cool, calm, and ready. Pretty crazy that something most of us have a fear of, needles, can be the antidote to our fears about birth.