31 Weeks: Preparing For Childbirth

As I go into labor, I want to know I did everything possible to prime my body for this experience. While many women probably do nothing to prepare and still have normal, healthy labors, I still want to cover my bases. My goals are to keep my body in complete balance so that when it’s time for the baby to descend, he has the best chance possible to make that journey smoothly. [Read more about that here.]

Below are five physical things I’ve done to get my body in shape for birthin’.

Pre-natal Yoga

I talk about this class a lot, but it’s really been SO helpful for me. Not only for all the reasons I mentioned in this post, but also because my squat is now deeper, my pelvis more rockable and my understanding of the childbirth poses stronger. It also has been great to have my yoga teacher and doula be one in the same since I have gotten to know her both personally and professionally. I have friends who went to her yoga class for months and said laboring with her was wonderful and familiar because they used many of the same positions from class. I’ve made every effort to get to my Tuesday night class and try not to miss a week!

Weight Lifting + Physical Stamina

I look at labor as somewhat of an athletic event. I’ve heard moms say in their birth stories that being active really helped them get through the physical endurance it requires. Caitlin said in her birth story that she could not have imagined going through it without staying active throughout her pregnancy. I’ve heard other moms say that the closest thing they’ve done to giving birth is run a marathon. Thus, I have viewed a lot of my activity as preparation for labor. I’ve kept my body strong with Pump classes twice a week and my stamina up with tons of walking, some cycling and a little bit of swimming – nearly daily exercise of in some shape or form. While I’m not sure that I could run an 8 minute mile right now, I do feel that my fitness level has been maintained – at least to the level that I’ll need to be in good physical shape for the big event ahead.

Pump

Chiropractic

I have not been a chiropractic patient in the past – mostly because I’ve been lucky not to have any issues with my back or structure that have caused me pain. But I knew upon getting pregnant with so much change going on in my body that I wanted to be proactive about keeping things balanced. It helps that my friends own a clinic that made going to my first visit very accessible and not scary. My insurance luckily covers it (with a co-pay) up to a certain number of visits a year, so I’ve been going every 2 weeks starting in the second trimester for an adjustment. For the most part, my body has been aligned well, but there have been times when my pelvis was off that I’m glad we fixed before it got worse. I can only imagine all the changes going through that area with the growth of the bump pulling and the hormone changes. I don’t think that chiropractic is absolutely necessary in pregnancy, but I wanted to be sure to catch something before it became a problem – and I want to make sure my pelvis is perfectly aligned when go-time happens and the baby must squeeze through! And thankfully my insurance supports chiropractic for wellness.

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Massage

Hand-in-hand with chiropractic, I’ve been getting regular massages. Now this isn’t something I would be doing regularly with the typical costs of massage or at a luxury spa, but CORE has a massage therapist in the building that is able to take my insurance (up to 15 visits – yay Blue Cross) if it’s referred through Dr. Tate. I’ve been seeing Erica regularly and she does amazing things for my hips, glutes, legs and back. The massage has been great first for symptom relief, but second it’s also helped to keep my body loose and counter the weight lifting I’ve done. I’ve heard a tight butt and hips are the last thing you want when your pelvis wants to open!

Stretching

Continuing the “balance the body” theme, I’ve been doing stretches at home to keep my body limber. Mostly an extension of the poses from yoga, squats, hip openers and sitting in cobbler’s pose. I don’t do them too often – maybe once or twice a week I’ll do a series when I get out of bed in the morning or in bed at night. Additionally, Jen, our doula, taught me several stretches. You can find them on Spinningbabies.com.  This inversion I try to do once a week or so (it relaxes all the ligaments) and this side stretch that is a partner stretch with Matt is AMAZING on the hips and glutes!!

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Do I think it’s necessary to do these things to have a healthy pregnancy and give birth? No. But they are all things that have personally helped me and will hopefully give me the best possible physical preparation for the Big Day(s ).

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31 Weeks: Not The Patient

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This past week Matt and I went for our first pediatrician visit! At your advice, I called the office of the practice we are planning to use and sure enough they offered a complimentary prenatal meet-n-greet visit. When I scheduled the appointment, I was surprised to find out that we were going to see one of our friends!! She went to UVA and joined the practice last year. It made me all the more comfortable to see a friendly face. It might seem like a concern to have a young pediatrician, but I actually think that is a good thing since the research is always changing and I would assume younger doctors would be more familiar with modern practices (I think that is definitely true of nutrition). But the benefit of this practice is that there are young and older doctors, so if there is ever a concern or something unusual, there are multiple brains and perspectives to consult.

It was strange for both of us that we were in a doctor’s office but neither of us were patients! A first for sure! Matt enjoyed the waiting room reading!

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I have asked around to my mom friends and there were two offices we were considering based on their recommendations. This practice had a sick and well waiting room, plus a separate one for teens. It has evening and weekend appointments and is open 365 days a year. We learned there is also a lactation consultant I can easily see, which is a big plus. I also really like that it’s a group of doctors – they all have different interests and specializations (from sports medicine to allergies) so we are less likely to be referred out if we need more care in special fields.

But I think the biggest plus of all is the location – walking distance from our house. Very convenient for baby wearing, stroller walking or even late-night visits. [You all know how much I hate to drive…]

We had a nice chat with our doctor about the different visits and appointments surrounding birth and the first month, and I asked a few questions about standard procedures and things.

You never know when it comes to the health of your child, but I am glad to know we have a good practice nearby picked out. Another check off the list!

[Is anyone else freaked out by that scary mole looking animal wearing a hat in the pocket!?]

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31 Weeks: ABsolutely Stretching

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I definitely grew a lot this week!!!! And so did he!

My movements have changed and are now big and bold and broad! No more little jabs here or there, but I’ll put my hand on my stomach and feel a huge hard rock of a backside or the nice outline of what feels just like a chicken leg poking out! It’s easily felt from the outside too, so Matt and friends have felt them as well.

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I always feel the leg(s) on my right side right under my ribs. There is a nice big bump that often appears up at the top and slightly to the right that I’m guessing is his butt. And I have been feeling hiccups way down south. The hippcups feel like thumps – almost like a really slow heartbeat – rhythmically pulsing over and over for a few minutes at a time. I’m feeling some right now! These all match his position at the ultrasound, so I’m guessing I’ve matched inside to outside pretty well. He doesn’t seem to change positions very much, and I rarely feel things on my left side. Loving these movements more than ever! 

Here is a nice diagram for you : )

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I’m feeling really good overall. Something to bring up: ABS! This is one symptom of pregnancy I haven’t heard too many women talk about, but it is my current most uncomfortable one. My abs really feel like they are thinning out and ripping apart in there. I have no idea if this means my abs were once very strong or once very weak – either way I’d believe you. They are either weak and separate easily or strong and are having a hard time separating. They cramp up if I move the wrong way too fast or twist, they make me roll over a beached whale (sometimes having to sit up before I lie down again), and after a day/night of standing on my feet I feel them tugging from the top – like they’re a sack of potatoes that is too full that’s just going to rip open and spill out! I find myself massaging just under my ribs a lot, especially if I do a lot of walking or standing. And oh my gosh – sneezing is NOT FUN! Sometimes my lower abs ache near the base of my bump too. And of course I had that awful nerve pain related to the fascia as well.

Growing is not yet over!

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I seem to have cured my hip aching by changing my sleep position. I was sleeping completely on my side – which meant pressure on the hip and glut that was taking all the weight all night. Even though I would flip back and forth, switching sides, it was too much direct pressure. I have now started sleeping partially on my back – with a pillow wedged under my back so I’m at an angle (and therefore not compressing the veins) and this position, while not the most comfortable overall, is working for the time being. It also means less rolling over, which is less strain on the abs!

Sleeping is going well. No other symptoms to report right now!

[Can you see the purple smudge on the side of my stomach? That’s a vein!]

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Emotionally, I think I’m in a bit of denial. The closer my due date gets, the more I think (ironically) YOUR LIFE IS ABOUT TO CHANGE! And I’ve had my first ‘What did we get ourselves into’ moments. Of course I’m still totally excited, but the distant future has become the near future and I can feel the days counting down. I alternate between moments of pure excitement and pure nervousness – much like the feelings before I left for college or started a new job.

He’s a little firecracker waiting to pop! Happy 4th!

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31 Weeks: Live From The Womb

Somebody was squirming too much to get a good portrait, but he is cute while he wiggles live! His arm is across his face for most of the video. My favorite part are his legs, which I feel from the outside frequently : ) Look for the smile at the end!

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31 Weeks: Stuff

Anyone remember this Diamond Rio song, “Stuff”?  This post has it playing in the background :mrgreen:

I know you’re probably thinking: “Kath this is sooooooo not important right now!”

However, houses, home organization, decluttering and sorting stuff is one of my favorite pastimes. I’m actually looking forward to the challenge of finding ways to organize toys.

I know you’re also thinking: “You can organize them but they will be all over the house 5 minutes later.”

That’s ok – I’m still going to make some effort though! I’ve babysat kids enough in my life to know that putting all the toys back in the bins can be fun.

Here are a selection of my favorites (can you tell I love Land of Nod!?)

Storage

1) Land of Nod Wire Basket
2) Land of Nod Canvas Bin
3) Land of Nod Gingham Cube
4) Land of Nod Grey Bin
5) Land of Nod Zig Zag Baskets
6) Land of Nod Rattan Basket
7) Etsy Fabric Bin

(I’m there are TONS of cool options at stores like Homegoods, TJ Maxx, Target and more too!
These were just my fancy favorites)

So where will all the STUFF go!? Well I have some ideas….and empty corners….and plans for lots of cute baskets and bins.

First the living room….

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It’s on the “stuffy” side (haha) because we don’t really use it that much. Mostly for entertaining and reading. But it’s the closest living space to the kitchen, so I can see it becoming kid play area – although I wouldn’t be able to have my eye on him so safety is a concern. I now understand why all the women on House Hunters want the open kitchen so they can see their kids playing!

I know there is a nice open spot for the swing though1 Can you leave your baby out of eye’s reach in a swing?

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There is room behind this chair for a nice bench or bin for toys

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And an open corner here for something slim

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One thing about our living room rug. I absolutely love the texture and feel….until you put a knee on it. It’s probably the worst surface for baby crawling ever!! I hate to get rid of it, but we will see what happens and where we end up doing most of the playing.

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I can see this area of the entry way becoming something built-in with hooks and a shelf or two for hats n things

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Oh and clearly…the linens can be relocated

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I imagine our downstairs family room will become Play Central. There is less to break and lots and lots of space for toys, pack n play, swing, etc. It’s just so dark down there! But I realistically see myself spending the most time here both once the baby is born and when he is much older too. Plus the rug is plush!

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There are plenty of empty walls for shelves, toy baskets or bins to go

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These shelves are pretty much empty

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This basket just has a blanket in it – nothing more

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This entire corner is empty!

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More skinny space

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Under the stairs – hideout or big toy storage

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And of course..

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Up in the dining room, we have several corners that would work for the high chair – I’m hoping to get a modern green one to match the green lamp shade!

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In the kitchen, we have several spots that can be reorganized for baby/toddler bottles, cups and things.

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The poor wine glasses really could go elsewhere.. and this could become the bottle cabinet!

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We also might play on the porch! I have been debating getting an outdoor rug for the porch, but I just love the rich red floors so much I hate to cover them up. But once the baby crawls…

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And someday…

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31 Weeks: Snapshots

Which belly is not real!?!?!?

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I caught up to the fake bump!

[Flashback to my first maternity clothing shopping trip!]

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31 weeks and growing!

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