I’ve had many pregnant clients ask me if I could recommend a book to help them prepare for childbirth. While those who have experienced it know that no book can totally prepare you for childbirth, I have to say this book was an excellent resource for me. Keep reading for a bit of my birth stories and a section about how acupuncture helps along the way.
About the Book
The book is called Juju Sundin’s Birth Skills. You can buy it here, but I borrowed it for the library. From her website: “Julia Sundin (JuJu) is a physiotherapist in private obstetric practice in Sydney. She is one of Australia’s most prominent educators in prenatal education including both childbirth preparation and holistic pregnancy fitness.”
Here is a great description (from the amazon page) of what can be found in the book: “Explanations about the physiology of pain and what techniques can help ease it help pregnant women understand what bodies experience during labor and what can be done to actively manage the pain. … this guidebook offers proven pain-management tips such as movement, breathing, vocalizing, and using stress balls and keywords. All types of birthing methods are described—including short and long labors, natural or epidural labors, and water births. ”
This book is not a replacement for prenatal classes or a doula, both of which I highly recommend. However, if you like to research and read on your own to address any anxieties you may have about childbirth and gather concrete strategies to use during the birth, this book is fantastic.
My Childbirth Story
I can see now how naive I was about pregnancy and childbirth. I was going to be that pregnant lady that floated through all nine months of pregnancy without so much as a swollen ankle. All rosy cheeks and glorious shiny hair. Well instead, my first pregnancy was nine months of absolute hell. I vomited ALL. THE. TIME. All the way to the bitter end. I vomited until I injured my esophagus and that’s when I finally caved and took the darn diclectin. I lost 14 pounds in my first trimester. It was not enjoyable and I was miserable. Undeterred, I still pictured myself giving birth in a swimming pool in the calm and peace of my bedroom. This was also not in the cards for me. I was induced, laboured for 6 hours or so and ended up having a C-section. I was pretty devastated. I was told to just be happy that my baby was healthy. No one wanted to hear about how the events surrounding the birth traumatized me, leaving me feeling powerless and guilty. I resolved to avoid feeling that way again.
Fast forward to my second pregnancy. Still lots of vomiting but once I figured out that I had to eat EVERY TWO HOURS, even if I was nauseated EVERY WAKING HOUR, I was much better off. I made sure my snacks and meals had a protein, a carbohydrate and a fat so as to avoid drastically elevating my blood sugar. This time I was determined to have a Vaginal Birth After C-section (VBAC), come hell or high water. I was induced again, but this time with the help of the techniques outlined in this glorious book, I worked hard to manage my pain without medication through each and every contraction. I found a mantra and I said it at the TOP OF MY LUNGS through all 549,049 contractions that night. Well, that’s how many it felt like. My mantra went like this: “Down baby down, just breathe, ok relax, just relax, breathe, breathe the baby down, down and out, breathe the baby out.” Lots of breathing and moving and squatting and being on all-fours. I also used stress balls and cue cards as outlined in the book. I must have driven my doula, midwife and husband CRAZY saying those things over and over and over again, but that’s what helped me get through all those hours, with a fetal monitor strapped uncomfortably on my belly, intense chemically-induced contractions wrenching my body. I feel like that mantra, being louder than the pain, is what allowed me to have a “normal” birth that glorious, empowering day. I did it my way. I felt very proud and accomplished that I was able to take control and manage my labour the way I wanted – thanks to the great information provided in this book, tireless support from my doula, my midwife and my husband (and the quiet and patient labour & delivery nurse who monitored my little Jonah’s heartbeat throughout).
Acupuncture for Pregnancy and Childbirth
Since I’m an acupuncturist, I like to take every opportunity to educate the public about TCM acupuncture and all the conditions it can help with, including the following aspects of pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum:
- Irregular, painful, short, long, absent menstruation,
- Infertility – men/women,
- Support during IUI or IVF treatments
- Nausea/vomiting during pregnancy (provided you are already eating proper/frequent meals)
- Aches and pains,
- Carpal tunnel,
- Gestational diabetes,
- Recurrent miscarriage,
- Urinary tract infection,
- High blood pressure,
- Malposition of fetus (breech – before 35 weeks)
- Pre-birth preparation (37 weeks on)
- Stalled labour,
- After birth pains,
- Insufficient lactation.
Let me know if you have any questions! Contact me.
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