I remember it well. My estimated due date was December 18. The pressure that builds when you have a late December birth looming. The seduction of induction (my care provider and I started discussing it when I was 6 months along). The stress of not wanting to still be pregnant in the NEXT year. The fear of birthing when hospital staff might have their thoughts on holiday parties and family gatherings. Actually, who am I kidding. The stress of US missing holiday parties and family gatherings! I had always said I didn't want to have a baby in December and yet there I was 9 months pregnant in the busiest month of the year.
I am here today to share some of what go me through the pressure to birth way back in 2006, to help you prepare your body for birth (control what you can, release everything else) and to trust that it will all work out.
Many moms to be come to me in this month hoping that Reflexology can induce their labour. It can't. And please don't let anyone tell you that it - or any other technique - can. Natural means to "induce" labour are only designed to help your body prepare for labour. They are wonderful and *should* be used, but don't kid yourself that they *will* induce. Even medical means to induce labour are not as effective if your body and baby are not ready, thus leading to difficult and possibly surgical births. But this doesn't mean that all hope is lost!
Birth is an extensive process. And to be the most positive experience possible we should be using the 9 months of pregnancy to train for it. Just like you wouldn't wake up the morning of a marathon and decide to run in it without preparing first, you shouldn't wake up in the last weeks of pregnancy and decide that now is the time for you to prepare for your birth. Natural methods of preparing your body for birth - including Reflexology (by a trained professional) - should be done throughout pregnancy and regularly/consistently in the 3rd trimester. This is the training process. Working with your body to gently prepare it for the big day. You can read more about the many ways to naturally prepare for birth in my other blog post by clicking here.
So back in 2006 I spent my final month of pregnancy doing just that. Mentally preparing for the holiday time by getting holiday tasks like shopping and wrapping out of the way so I wouldn't be stressed during the birth and postpartum that I forgot something. This meant I was always on the move. Walking around shopping, sitting upright. Baking, cooking. Anything to keep my body working and preparing.
Warming up on those cold December days by drinking my red raspberry tea to strengthen my uterus. Booking my appointments for Reflexology well in advance because it shouldn't be an after thought of something to do (more about the benefits of reflexology in a minute). But also other appointments like my hair or nails. Not making promises we couldn't keep. This was HUGE. We didn't know when our baby was born so why commit to attending dinners or parties? If we could be there, bonus. If we couldn't, I think we have the best excuse possible for why we aren't! Don't spend each day watching the calendar or clock. Your baby will be born on the day it is to be born. Whatever day that is, don't worry about it. Trust that your baby and your body knows what is best. You can control how you prepare for that birthing day. You cannot control what day it will be unless you decide to induce medically. So let it go. Believe me it will be good training for later in parenting life when you will want to "not sweat the small stuff".
As much as you might worry that you are the cause of care providers "missing out", trust me they signed up for this. They know that they might be working on specific holidays and are totally fine with it. And if you have done your preparations ahead of time, hopefully you will have a positive, short birthing experience and make their day even brighter :)
So if I'm spending this blog helping you understand why you shouldn't stress about the day your baby is born, why the emphasis on Reflexology?
The benefits of Reflexology are huge, but especially for the pregnant woman in her final weeks of pregnancy. I don't just shout from the roof-tops about Maternity Reflexology for those birthing in late December, I shout about them ALL THE TIME.
Have a look at my top 3 reason why you should be using Reflexology to help you prepare for birth - anytime of the year!
1. Sleep. You wouldn't wake up the morning of a marathon not having slept properly the night before, so why would you want to go into birth with little sleep? One of the greatest benefits of Reflexology is that it helps you get a better quality of sleep. I can't make your baby stop pressing on your bladder making you wake to go pee every few hours (sorry, lol!!), but I can make the hours that you do sleep be quality hours. And the reflexology can perhaps help you to have a nap during the day to catch up on whatever you didn't get through the night.
2. Improved digestion. Have you ever looked at a picture of the anatomy of a pregnant woman? (see below). Those internal organs all get smushed together making it more difficult for them to function at their best. Reflexology, because it works with the body in a different way through the reflex points, can naturally help stimulate these organs to work better. And an empty bladder and empty intestine makes more room for baby to descent into the pelvis, placing more pressure on the cervix for dilation and effacement.
3. Decrease of stress and anxiety. Being at the end of your pregnancy and thinking about the upcoming birth amounts to enough stress, let alone having the end of your pregnancy be in December. Reflexology is known to have a great impact on decreasing the stress/tension that gets built up in the body. As much as I talk about the importance of movement in preparing your body for labour, it is also important to balance that with rest for your body. Stopping the hectic times by receiving a Reflexology treatment and allowing your mind and body a chance to rest is important. You will walk away having a more relaxed outlook on life. Your feet will be less swollen and tender as a result of carrying the extra pregnancy weight. And the good news is that those benefits will stay in your body for a few days! That's right, the effects will continue working after the treatment so one treatment helps you prepare your body naturally for a few days. Which could result in the birth of your baby because you are mentally and physically prepared.
Remember to always stay informed. Induction is not always the wrong solution. (I did end up being induced due to medical concerns with my son. After my Estimated Due Date. Under much guidance from medical care providers, myself, my partner and my close friends. An informed choice.) There are many reasons why we are at a great advantage in society today because it is an option. But birthing in December is not a great reason for induction. And inducing before you are full term if there are not other medical reasons for it is also not a great reason.
Trust your body, trust your baby. Control what you can, be surprised by the rest. Save medical interventions for when they are medically necessary. I am here to help you do all this!
About your author:
Tanya (formally Goreing but recently married so now Tanya Hill) is an alternative health practitioner, doula and educator. She is passionate about improving the health and wellness of families, especially surrounding pregnancy, birth and parenting. Practicing in Cambridge ON, she offers in home and in clinic treatments.
Tanya Goreing is the proud mother of one boy and the owner of Soul Treatments. The natural health of woman and children is her passion!