Elliette May Reddy was born almost two weeks ago. She weighed 6 pounds 11 ounces and, unlike our first daughter, was full-term. We tried a few new things during the course of this pregnancy in hopes of having a full-term baby, as well as having a natural childbirth. We ended up having both! Here are a few things that we tried this time around:
Raspberry Leaf Tea: Touted by midwives for ages for its ability to strengthen a woman’s uterus for birth, this vitamin-rich tea is also loaded with one of the most easily assimilable forms of iron. I had no leg cramps at all with this pregnancy (last time around I’d wake up at night in agony with leg cramps) and I read, after I’d already started drinking raspberry leaf tea, that this tea helps reduce/eliminate leg cramps, which are caused by a vitamin deficiency. Drink one cup a day in the first trimester. Two cups a day in the second trimester and three cups a day in the third trimester. This is delicious iced as well! As always, do check with your doctor before use. This is also excellent postpartum for its vitamin content (especially iron) and it also helps with milk production. This may also help shorten the length of labor for some women.
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth: My husband read this book once and I read it three or four times during this pregnancy. If you are hoping for a natural (e.g. no medications) childbirth, this is a must read.
Prenatal DHA: In addition to our usual cod liver oil supplement, I also took prenatal DHA. Omega 3’s, present in foods such as salmon, are the building blocks of the brain and also contribute to breast milk production. While pregnant I did not always feel like eating fish so this was a good way of ensuring the baby got plenty of brain food.
Birthing Ball: I had always thought this was used when in labor. However, it can also be used in the weeks leading up to delivery to ease hip discomfort and to help get the baby in position for birth. I was on the birthing ball all the time the few days before our daughter was born. Once I was in labor, it was the only thing I could sit on comfortably.
Evening Primrose Oil: This helps prepare a woman’s cervix for delivery and should NOT be taken any earlier than two weeks before the baby’s due date. Also, it should not be taken if you have a history of fast births. Ask a doctor before use. One capsule should be taken in the morning and one in the evening. If overdue, check with your doctor about increasing the dosage (as opposed to being induced, etc.).
Water Birth: I love baths and I kept reading the more relaxed a woman is during birth, the better the birthing process will go (usually). I figured we should give water birth a shot since I find baths incredibly relaxing. Water birth did not make birthing pain go away, but it did make it more manageable. Plus, the time in between contractions was more restful (at least to me) because of the soothing, warm water.