I mentioned yesterday that though the second pregnancy can be different from the first, I am using most of the same information and resources to prepare for birth this time around. My birth philosophy is pretty simple. Yes, birth is natural and can be an empowering experience (it was super empowering for me!). But there are also many, many unexpected circumstances that can pop up, and emergency situations can happen. I hope for a natural birth, and I do everything I can reasonably and comfortably do to prepare so that at least I can't blame lack of preparation if things don't go as I hope.
I'll also add that there's probably more I could do. But this amount/intensity of preparation feels right for me at this particular phase of life.
Here are the key things I'm doing to prepare:
Prenatal Yoga: I use this DVD. It's not incredibly hard (although the squats get me!), but if I skip a day of doing at least the fifteen minute warm up, I start getting pain in my leg and hip. I like that many of these exercises are similar to the ones on any "prepare for your baby's birth" site. There are kegels in the daily warm-up, which are so important, particularly when combined with squats (This infographic is really helpful for understanding kegels).
There are variations for each trimester on the DVD. I want to make sure my body is ready for labor and that my posture is good to hopefully make sure my baby is in the right position (you can read more about that on Spinning Babies, which I've only scratched the surface of). The yoga also helps me remember to breathe deeply throughout the day. Plus you can't beat the yoga attire in this video--pregnant women in unitards.
Walking: I try to walk often. I've definitely been more fatigued by longer walks, which frustrates me (maybe pushing the heavy stroller gets me. Let's just go with that.). I'm so jealous of women who can run during pregnancy. That would totally do me in. One difficulty with walking is that Liam is at an age where he loves to walk on his own. So sometimes I just walk with him (less exercise but more fun). Also Spinning Babies recommends a daily three mile walk without pushing a stroller for the best alignment. So I love it when Jon does our long loop with me and pushes the stroller. This does not happen as often as we would like due to his work schedule.
Exercise ball and squatting: Throughout the day, I try to squat often while playing with Liam. Sitting on the exercise ball while moving really helps relieve tightness, too.
Reading: I haven't done as much reading this time, but I plan to pull out our Bradley method book again for some of the mental exercises especially. This book also reminded me early on that I was not getting enough protein which is crucial if you want to feel well during pregnancy. I plan to skim the Lamaze book again. I love having lots of strategies and information. My favorite birth/infant resource is The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. All of these books made the cut when I ruthlessly purged my stuff.
Prenatal Vitamins: These vitamins are expensive, but to me, they are the best of the best. They are made of whole foods, do not make me feel sick, and have so many nutrients. They feel like little shots of energy. I had been taking them off and on before pregnancy, as I am still breastfeeding Liam. During the first trimester, I take the full dose, and sometimes I drop off later on to just two or three a day. They really are awesome, and every time a study comes out that says pregnant women need an extra supplement, I find that these vitamins already have the recommended dosage or more.
Red Raspberry Leaf tea: I waited until the end to do this last time. Now I'm trying to drink more throughout my second trimester and will continue to drink it into the third. Feel free to Google it to find out all the benefits. I usually buy it at Earthfare in bulk (but in small quantities at a time).
Of course I also try to eat well--plenty of protein and veggies. I find that I get grumpy so quickly if I don't get enough protein (this is always true to some extent but it is an especially clear connection in pregnancy).
I remember reading so many different options of things pregnant women can do to facilitate healthy labor and birth. For example, I almost considered switching to a new prenatal workout or trying out other supplements. But in the end, these are the things that work and that I can be consistent with. I consider this to be enough for now.