when November rolled around, I committed myself to start preparing for labour. I had about 14 weeks to go until I hit 40 weeks. so I came up with a plan to do the following:
1. exercise daily
2. eat healthily + avoid processed food
3. increase my ibadah
4. seek more knowledge on labour and parenting
it’s been hard to chiong on all four fronts, so I’ve been doing what I can. I know I could probably do more, so I’ll try, I’ll try. for one I know I should green juice more often. hoping to pump up my new gym ball and start the exercises + do Zumba weekly too.
Amani natural birthing class review
the class finally concluded last week! I say “finally” coz two (out of five) sessions were postponed because the instructor had to attend to births. so tip number 1 is to budget 2-3 extra sessions in your calendar if your instructor is also actively assisting births and has to cancel class last minute.
overall it was a super informative course and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who’s looking for a gentle birthing experience. of coz I’ve not gone through labour yet so it may be premature for me to vouch for its effectiveness, but insyaAllah I’ll have a positive labour experience 😀 –> must use power of attraction and husnudzon mah. and also as kak fad says, if you take care of your pregnancy, insyaAllah your labour will take care of itself. amiin!
I can’t possibly recap everything because soooo much good stuff was shared, so I’ll highlight my top 3 takeaways from each class k.
session 1: exercise & nutrition
wah a real eye opener on all the things I’ve been doing wrong :p like drinking Coke because konon plain water sucks, when pre-pregnancy I avoided Coke! even NG, who loooves Coke, got worried about how much I was consuming. heheh. i was that bad, guys.
ok so top 3 most interesting facts learned:
– the water in your waterbag refreshes itself! which is why it’s important for pregnant ladies to drink up. babies in wombs also excrete waste, so refreshing our waterbag punya water helps to keep them comfy and clean. “so don’t feel annoyed by the frequent toilet trips!” yes ma’am!
– from kak fad’s experience, a tablespoon-ful of extra virgin coconut oil (cold pressed, not the one for cooking) consumed every day helps with an easy labour. you can swallow (as I do, doesn’t taste bad) or use it to cook or drizzle it all over your rice or add it into a smoothie/juice. personally I use this one, available at NTUC Fair Price Finest.
– green juicing (blending and drinking green leafy veg + fruits) is very important to help us get the vitamins and minerals we need. the darker green the vegetable is, the better. top of the table is ulam, which she warned can taste a little tajam. can start off with spinach, which doesn’t have a strong taste.
– (gonna cheat and add a fourth) also a diet high in sugar will not help with dilation later. so in the beginning I was quite semangat in avoiding desserts and sweet stuff, but 7 weeks later, I’m starting to miss chocolates and allowing myself some desserts… 😔
session 2: the physiology of birth
a really cool class where we learned details of how natural labour works, and how women’s bodies are perfectly designed for it. SubhanAllah. this class also made reference to the Quran, more specifically Surah Maryam.
– birthing while lying down, with your legs in stirrups, is not the best position for birthing even though it is the most common one in hospitals today. by lying on your back, your pelvis isn’t at the best angle for baby to emerge.
– the most optimal position for the baby to descend is LOA (left occiput anterior) which means that baby is head down and facing where your right butt cheek is, sorta. gawd I paraphrase so crudely. this reduces the rotation she needs to fit through our pelvic bones.
– when the baby is inside the womb, she’s submerged in water. even her lungs are filled with water. as she goes through the tight tight birth canal, the water is forced out of her lungs, so that she can breathe air once she’s out. so cool right! that’s why babies who are assisted may need the water to be suctioned out of them.
session 3: exercise and massage
highlight of this class was having them teach NG how to massage me! ooh yeaaah.
– statistics have found that pregnant mommas who exercise regularly will have shorter labours..!
– learnt some massage techniques that husbands can do to help relief the discomfort during contractions
– importance of doing kegel exercises and perineal massage (from week 34 onwards) to help us s-t-r-e-t-c-h-h-h
session 4: the 3 stages of labour
spent the whole 4 hours just talking about the labour process.
– labour has 3 stages: active labour, birth of baby, and birth of placenta
– within active labour, there’s this phase called transition ie you’re 7-9cm dilated. this last phase of dilation before you hit 10cm will be the toughest both physically and mentally, because the contractions will be the strongest and will not have a rhythmic pattern, unlike in early labour.
– when a baby is born, 30% of her blood is left behind in the placenta so that she’s smaller and can fit through the birth canal better. that’s why it’s beneficial to practice delayed cord clamping (ie waiting for say 15-30 mins before cutting the cord) so that the blood and stem cells can be transferred back into baby. however, not all hospitals, doctors and midwives are supportive of this, mostly due to time constraints.
session 5: breastfeeding
the most interactive class because the other mummies shared their own experiences. it’s a deeply personal topic so having them open up was like awww, privilege. it was a bit paiseh practising the different cradles using the baby doll around the experienced mummies, but ok lah at least dapat practice jugak :p
– learnt the various cradles/positions: cradle, cross cradle, football hold, baby on chest (?? can’t remember the official name) and side lying, which all the other mummies cheered for. lol.
– even if the baby does a good first latch right after birth, it still takes 1-2 weeks of trial and error to teach the baby how to latch correctly. basically, expect some pain.
– husbands’ emotional support is super important, espesh when faced with “criticism” from parents, aunts, and grandparents who have different attitudes towards breastmilk. the mummies also warned the first time daddies not to be lounging around while their wives are struggling with breastfeeding, and/or lepas tangan with the excuse that they can’t help much (espesh at night!). otherwise, expect things flying your way. …kidding.
so yeppp that’s a brief overview of the course. other than Kak Fad, there are other instructors teaching it. most likely they’ll cover similar topics since they’re supposed to follow the official Amani syllabus. again, I will definitely, highly recommend this course to anyone who’s considering a natural/gentle birth or a VBAC. insyaAllah it is worth the time and money investment! 😊