Updated: Mar 28
The Ultimate Guide to a Joyful Pregnancy and Birth. Everything You Need to Know!
In Joy Birth is sharing their 18+ years of combined experience as birth educators and doulas along with the most up to date evidence-based information to bring you all of the tips and tricks on how to have the best pregnancy and birth. This is the best of the best information!
Here are our ultimate pregnancy and labor tips.
As birth educators and doulas, we have supported thousands of families during pregnancy and birth, and we have noticed commonalities between each family that have made the labor and birth more manageable. Through our experience, we have found that mothers who practice and condition their minds and bodies are more likely to have a positive birth experience, even experiencing joy or pain-free childbirth. In this article, we will share evidence-based information and our expert tips on how to have the best birth experience for you.
As experts in this field, we are here to share all of our tips and secrets on how to have the very best birth for you!
Table of Contents
Why Does Birth Matter?
What are the Most Helpful Tricks to Improve Your Pregnancy and Birth?
Our Recommended Resources
Why Does Birth Matter?
Let's briefly discuss why birth matters for you and your baby, acknowledging that not all aspects of it are positive. Studies from wealthy nations around the world reveal that the United States of America has the worst maternal mortality rate, largely due to a high rate of cesarean sections, inadequate or delayed prenatal care, and elevated rates of chronic illnesses. Many maternal deaths result from missed or delayed opportunities for treatment, particularly for women of reproductive age.. According to a study by the Commonwealth Fund, rates of death from avoidable causes, including pregnancy-related complications, are highest in the United States, with black women at three times greater risk. Shockingly, the United States ranks 55th for maternity care worldwide, due in part to healthcare deserts in some regions where women lack access to care, a soaring cesarean rate of over 32% for primary and repeat procedures, and healthcare coverage that is unaffordable for many.
Now that we've acknowledged these alarming statistics, let's dive into some practical tips you can implement throughout your pregnancy to ensure a healthier and safer labor and birth for both you and your baby.
These are tips and tricks that many women have implemented and its proven to reduce your risk of a cesarean section, improve maternal outcomes, and make for an overall more positive birth experience and recovery. Let's drop in!
What are the most helpful tricks to improve your pregnancy and birth?
Nourish Thyself - Maintaining a balanced diet during pregnancy is crucial for both you and your baby. It's important to reduce your intake of refined sugars and enriched flour and aim for a high-protein diet of 60-90 grams per day. Monounsaturated fats are an excellent source of energy for you and promote brain development in your baby. Foods like avocados, nuts, nut butters, seeds (such as chia and hemp), low-mercury fish, eggs, beans, and dark leafy greens are all great options. Remember, moderation is key.
Dr. Brewer dedicated his life to studying pregnancy-induced illnesses and the role that diet can play in reducing their risk. He emphasized the importance of a high-protein diet, salting food to taste (as salt is necessary for our bodies), and consuming foods in moderation. You can find more information on the Brewer Diet by clicking here.
2. Empower Thyself - Knowledge is POWER. Childbirth is a natural process, and the more we understand about it, the more we can trust in our bodies and in the birth experience. Taking a childbirth class, either in person or online, is highly recommended. In Joy Birth offers a comprehensive course that covers important topics such as the hormonal changes during birth, the various stages of labor, comfortable positions, grounding techniques, breathing exercises, natural pain management, and postpartum recovery.
By educating yourself during pregnancy, you can make more informed decisions about your labor and birth. This can help you feel more confident and empowered during the birth experience. Whether you choose an in-person or online class, finding a course that fits your needs and preferences can be a valuable resource as you prepare for the arrival of your baby.
In addition to taking a childbirth class, we also recommend a few books down below.
3. Get a doula! - Did you know that hiring a doula can significantly reduce the risk of a cesarean section by 60-80%? In addition, there is a 60% reduction in the use of epidurals, 50% reduction of pitocin, and 34% reduction of forceps delivery. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has recommended the presence of birth doulas as a way to improve maternal-infant health.
A trained and professional doula provides education and advocacy, on-call text support throughout pregnancy, one-to-one continuous labor and birth support, and follow-up postpartum care and breastfeeding support. Even as an experienced doula, I personally would not give birth without a trained and professional doula to support me through it. This is because during labor, the birthing person cannot access the neocortex (the thinking part of the brain) to properly advocate for themselves.
It's important to note that doulas are not just for birthing parents, but also for their partners. A doula can help invite the birthing partner into the birthing space by encouraging and showing them how to physically support the birthing person.
If you're interested in hiring a doula, you can search for one in your local area by visiting DoulaMatch.
Pictured here: In Joy Birth Doulas of Orlando. Heather Rich and Madeline Mosco. Photography by: Angela Gallo
4. Exercise - Just because you're pregnant doesn't mean you can't move your body. However, we do recommend avoiding rigorous activities such as running or heavy lifting. This is because the round ligaments and pelvic floor muscles can become super tight during pregnancy. Tight round ligaments can create tension in the pelvis, leading to malpositioned babies and dysfunctional labor. Additionally, a taught pelvic floor can prevent the baby from rotating on the perineum, making the pushing stage longer and harder.
Instead of rigorous activities, we recommend trying a prenatal yoga class to promote a supple and flexible body, swimming for a good cardio workout, and daily walking to maintain a balanced pelvic floor. We're also fans of dancing because it's good for both the body and soul! Belly dancing, in particular, was designed to help with both getting the baby in and getting the baby out!
5. Chiropractic care - We highly recommend seeing a Webster Certified Chiropractor throughout your pregnancy. Not only can they help alleviate common pregnancy discomforts, but they can also align and balance your pelvis, helping your baby get into the most optimal position for birth. A Webster Certified Chiropractor has additional education and training in prenatal chiropractic care and focuses on releasing the round ligaments and sacral tension, as well as adjusting the pelvis.
By seeing a Webster Certified Chiropractor, you may experience a shorter labor, making it a worthwhile investment for your pregnancy and birth journey.
6. Spinning babies - To make labor easier, we need to consider the position of the baby in the pelvis. While babies cannot read our birth plans, we can encourage optimal fetal positioning by being mindful of our posture and tension throughout pregnancy. A malpositioned baby can lead to a difficult labor or even an unwanted cesarean.
We recommend following the Spinning Babies blog and implementing "the three balances" to encourage optimal fetal positioning. It's also important to keep up with weekly activities to promote good pelvic alignment. Using a birth ball can also be helpful, but make sure to choose the right size based on your height. When using a birth ball, ensure your knees are in alignment with your hips when sitting on it.
Pictured here: Gina Parani demonstrating the "Flying Cowgirl" Spinning Babies position.
7. Magnesium - Did you know that nearly half of Americans are deficient in magnesium? Magnesium is an essential mineral that plays a crucial role in cellular function. It can also help reduce insomnia, stabilize mood, alleviate pregnancy discomforts and cramps, and regulate bowel movements. Additionally, studies have shown that getting enough magnesium during pregnancy may reduce the risk of pregnancy-related complications such as preeclampsia, gestational hypertension, and premature labor. One great way to increase your magnesium intake is by taking magnesium salt baths several times a week. Magnesium can also be absorbed through the skin by using magnesium body butter. Be sure to consult with your healthcare provider about the proper dosage for you.
Recommended Reading and Additional Resources
As mentioned earlier, we would like to recommend some books for those who want to expand their knowledge. Please find these additional resources below.
The practices we've outlined above can be started at any time, regardless of how far along you are in your pregnancy. That said, starting as early as possible is ideal for optimal results. If you need additional support, please reach out to a member of our team. In Joy Birth offers complimentary pregnancy consulting services.
Our Favorite Books:
Natural Birth in the Hospital by Cynthia Gabriel
Nurture by Erica Chidi
Hypnobirthing: The Mognan Method by Marie Mognan
The Birth Partner 5th Edition by Penny Simkin
Thanks for reading our Tips and Tricks for How to have the best pregnancy and birth! In Joy Birth offers Birth Doula Services to the Orlando area as well as Postpartum Care, Night Nanny Services, and Childbirth Classes. Check out our website for more information. And you can follow us on Instagram or Facebook for more helpful tips and tricks throughout the childbearing years.