So last night, Jason and I were reading in bed together. He was reading the Birth Partner, and I'm still reading Ina May's Guide to Childbirth. Every so often we would each have our own giggles and then share the new amazing insight into the woman's body, or tips for helping a laboring partner. Here were some of our favorites from last night, that were either just really cool to learn about or made us giggle:
- The female pelvis is not just one bone, but FOUR bones, attached with ligaments that stretch and expand to accommodate a baby's birth. One way you can feel how your pelvis can stretch is by standing (or kneeling) with one hand in front on your lower stomach, and one on your lower back. Lean back slightly and feel how close together your hands become, lean forward and feel how far apart they become. When on all fours or leaning forward your pelvis is at the most expanded, which is why kneeling births, or where women can bend forward can be easier to push large babies (unlike laying flat on your back when it is most restricted).
- Men can also practice doing Kegels, which can aid in reducing likelihood of prostate disease and other prostate issues.
- Pregnant women should practice their Kegels regularly, and do 10 "super" kegels a day leading up to birth (this is where you hold them for 30 seconds! and repeat x 10). We both were trying to do this and started laughing immediately. It says that you can build up these muscles, and even if its tough at first, you will eventually be able to hold them for up to 30 seconds, which will greatly help strengthen these muscles that are very important when birthing (and for other, well, *cough* more recreational fun too!). When you are holding remember to breathe, and relax all other muscles. If you are unable to hold the whole time, gently refocus and squeeze again, keeping all other muscles relaxed.
- Pregnant women should practice doing 10 squats a day, and hold each for 30 seconds (I feel like the Birth Partner book is somewhat of a personal trainer's manual for labor partners haha).
- Birth partners should bring a rolling pin to the birth (Jason didn't say any more about this one, but we were "rolling" in laughter... i'm guessing to help massage my lower back?, all I can think of is the hip hop song, "Roll out~! Roll out!" haha)
- Birth Partners should prepare themselves for high-endurance, and pulling possible all-nighters (luckily Jason is a pro at the all-nighter as he does this regularly with his work). Its recommended to strengthen your upper body, arms, chest, and shoulders, as your partner may want to push against you, hang from you, and ask for you to apply constant strong pressure to her lower back and hips. (I'm glad this partner book is telling HIM to work out too! haha).
- Laughing, kissing, and making "moooooooo"ing sounds like a cow, or "loose lip neighs" like a horse are all conducive to helping advance labor, and ease pushing. The Moooooing, can help the laboring woman laugh, which helps with birthing. And the horse sounds, also probably will sound pretty funny which is good because laughter helps release endorphins and relax the lady, but also Ina May notices the correlation between woman who have flexed/tight lips and jaws tend to have tighter birth canals, and women with loose lips (mooing and neighing relaxes these muscles), loose jaws and mouths are more relaxed and more open to push better with less tearing. Most women can more easily, "relax their jaws and mouths" than know how to "relax their cervix/vaginal area" during birth, even if they aren't making barn yard animal sounds. Singing during birth, can also loosen up these muscles.
- Its recommended to sing to your baby the same song over and over, or read the same book over and over to your baby while still inside her mama. She will learn to recognize mama and papa's voices, and if a song or book is repeated enough times, it can be a soothing sound to her after she is born, and calm her when she is fussy. One mom who played Cello would play for her baby for hours before he was born, and after giving birth, playing the cello would immediately calm him down.
These books are so fun to read, and so much fun to read and share together. This weekend Jason and I are going to work on the baby's room, and he is going to install bamboo floors. We have our appointment all set up for the upstairs hallway and stairs to be carpeted, so that should happen in the next coming weeks. Getting pretty excited! The nesting bug is really starting to take root, I think that doing bamboo in her room is a better idea than the carpet after all. Since Jason will do the labor, it will be cheaper anyway, match our bedroom, and be much cooler during all the hot Texas months. Carpet on our stairs though? A must!! Safety first :)