This week in the course pack, we’re reading about nutrition, exercise and the stages of birthing. Following good nutrition guidelines and enjoying moderate exercise can help you stay low-risk in your pregnancy and have a better birth, obviously.
The course pack discusses the Brewer Diet, which also appears in the Bradley Method materials. This is a high-protein, lots of fruits & veggies thing. It seems like a lot of food in one day. I always had trouble figuring out how to combine the suggestions into a reasonable meal plan so it frustrated me. Rather than going nuts, I just remember to try and get a good amount of protein each day and a variety of produce.
The course pack gives suggestions for boosting protein and more info on nutrition, staying comfortable, and etc.
Next up are pregnancy exercises and descriptions and photos for how to tailor sit, squat, pelvic rock, do Kegels, and suggestions on perineal stretching.
I felt the info on nutrition and those specific pregnancy exercises was helpful. What’s next seemed lacking:
Stages of Your Birthing Time
This section was incredibly brief. Five sentences on the early first stage. Slightly more for the mid-to-late first stage. What is commonly called “transition” is called “transformation” in Hypnobabies and this section — brief. Pushing — not much info.
But there was a page and a half on the third stage — when the placenta comes out and the immediate changes that happen following the birth. Um?
I know the Hypnobabies approach is to keep all language positive and to focus on what will go right. Perhaps they think keeping info to a minimum will be helpful in this regard. Personally, I prefer to know in more detail what I can expect — even if I hear about something that doesn’t happen to all moms. I don’t think having more knowledge would harm me. I think it would better prepare me for the intensity that is birth.
(Skip this part if you are doing Hypnobabies and would rather not read a non-Hypnobabies statement: Some women throw up when they are in transition. The rapid hormonal changes, plus the body trying to free up all space in the bowel and stomach can contribute to her barfing. This happened to me with Johnny. Since I already knew that this was a pretty common thing for later-stage labor, I accepted it as me just being pretty close to meeting my son. Had I not known that barfing was normal, I might have panicked and been afraid — and in pain because of that!)
The Bradley Method teaches moms and husbands about “emotional signposts.” These things are often more reliable than simply timing a mom’s pressure waves (contractions) to get a sense of how far progressed she is. It’s helpful to be aware of these signposts to know when to head into the birthing center or hospital, and it’s helpful especially for the dad to know about. If his wife is showing serious signs of self-doubt, he will then know that she is super-far along in birthing and their child will be born soon. But if he wasn’t already made aware of these signposts, he might rally for an epidural or something.
Perhaps the signposts aren’t as obvious in Hypno-moms since their focus is a little different. I do think I’ll be re-reading portions of my “Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way” book for a refresher on the stages of birth and the signposts.
Audio tracks this week:
– Joyful pregnancy affirmations (daily)
– Learning Self-Hypnosis (every other day)
– Deepening (every other day)
In “Learning Self-Hypnosis,” we are introduced to the “finger-drop technique,” and also create a mental light switch.
When our switch is in the “off” position, we are still and relax all muscles to the fullest.
The light switch tool is designed to cause a conditioned response in our bodies. We practice so that instantly, when we turn our switch off, we are in deep relaxation. This will be important during the birthing when you need to have your body respond to what your mind is telling it to do. I think by practicing this technique daily (as the course recommends), it really will be an automatic response.
It’s sort of tricky at first when your mind is telling your body that it can’t move, and to hold really still and relax. Your body might want to test your mind and it develops itches or feels uncomfortable to see if you really will hold still.
If you HAVE to move, you turn your light switch back on, deal with whatever, and go off again so the conditioned response won’t be adversely affected.
The next track, Deepening, is one that makes an appearance in weeks 3-5 and in maintenance. It’s purpose is designed to heighten your relaxation so that you go deeper every time you listen to it, and so that you will be more effective at going into deep relaxation in an instant.
That deep relaxation is important so that you will be more effective at sending “hypno-anesthesia” to parts of your body that need it (this info is coming in future weeks).
One thing that sorta threw me off — at the very end of the Deepening track, the voice on the CD said “peaceful sleep now,” which is a cue from another Hypnobabies track that’s designed to help you fall asleep quickly. I sorta zonked out in the minutes before she said that, and when she did say those words I snapped back to full attention because I thought my iPod had skipped ahead to that track.
Turns out, she was telling us that if we wanted to go ahead and fall asleep for awhile, we could — and she gave us that cue word. But we are also given the option to come back to full alertness if we wanted.
I thought it was interesting how part of my mind heard that phrase and was like, “What?” It must have missed the part about “you can go to sleep if you want.”
Overall, I think the tracks this week are pretty helpful and will certainly be built upon in the coming weeks. For example, I know next week I will be learning about a “center” position for my light switch so that I’m able to move around and still be deeply relaxed.