Sounds fun right, but yes ladies this is indeed a part of preparing yourself for natural childbirth. You want to be as stretchy as you can be, so that your baby’s head will slide right on out easily without a lot of resistance. This can be beneficial to you in so many ways! First of all it can make natural childbirth a whole heck of a lot less painful, and it often helps the pushing phase to be much quicker and easier.
There are a few techniques that you can use to prepare yourself to be really stretchy. In this article I’m not only gonna share them with you, but also share my experiences using these techniques. So get ready to get up close and personal with my flower of life! ; )
My Biggest Fear about Natural Childbirth
So I come from a family who is no stranger to natural childbirth, I was born at home and my entire life have heard nothing but what a great experience my birth was. So I was pretty confident about having a natural childbirth. But this does not mean that I had no fears. Boy oh boy did I! And this was my biggest fear; I did NOT want to be ripped open or cut during birth. I couldn’t even imagine the pain that would ensue. OUCH!!!!
However I also knew how extremely important it was to rid myself of those fears before my birthing time. I couldn’t very well be birthing my baby while the whole time I was thinking about my most sensitive area being ripped open! So to deal with this fear I decided that instead of dwelling on it I would find out how I could prevent this from happening.
What I found out was that during pregnancy certain hormonal changes occur naturally that help the tissues of the cervix and perineum to become extremely thick and elastic. And I also found out that there were indeed some pretty simple things that I could do to support this process, and to work with my body. I’ll start with the easiest first.
Foods That Help You to Be Stretchy
First I found that you have to stay super hydrated in order to keep your tissues healthy and to help your body with the elasticity. So I drank a ton of water! What I would do was fill up a gallon size water container every morning and just made sure it was all gone by the time I went to bed. Yes I had to pee a lot, but it was a small price to pay!
Also in order to support your body’s process in becoming super stretchy you have to make sure that you get enough of the right stuff: protein, vitamins, and what they call short-chain fatty acids, the “good fats”
Good Fat Sources: Avocado, nuts, seeds, beans, cold-pressed oils and fish such as salmon and tuna.
Vitamin E Sources: (at least 1,000 mg per day) Wheat germ oil, wheat germ, sunflower seeds, almonds, pecans, safflower oil, peanuts, corn oil, soybean oil, and lobster.
Vitamin C: (very beneficial for tissue health, cellular integrity, elasticity and regeneration) Strawberries, oranges, grapefruits and other citrus foods.
Bioflavanoids: These are the compounds that make oranges orange, blueberries blue, and cherries red. Some foods rich in flavonoids are blueberries, cherries, citrus fruits, pears, grapes, cabbage, legumes, plums, and onions.
Preparing Your Perineum for Natural Childbirth
OK here is the fun part, perineum massage! This is the process of actually sticking your (or your partners fingers) inside of your yoni and gently stretching it using a certain massaging technique. You do it every day of your last month of pregnancy and it’s supposed to make your tissues uber stretchy so that when your baby’s head is crowning you won’t tear or have any need for an episiotomy.
My Wonderfully Thrilling Journey through Perineal Massage
This is my experience with perineal massage. My slightly kooky childbirth instructor told us in class that this was a good thing to do for many reasons. Not only would it make me super stretchy, but it would allow me the “opportunity” to get acquainted with the sensations that I would feel during birth giving me a platform to practice remaining calm, relaxed and breathing through the sensations. Also, she suggested that instead of doing it myself that I would have my partner do the massage on me, because this would give us a chance to “work together, communicate with each other and build trust” in preparation for our birth.
Ummm..……..can you say, “AWKWARD!!!?”
Only after she assured me that my vagina wouldn’t stay stretched out forever, and that after birth it would snap back into place did I decide “What the heck, why not.”
After all, when it really came down to it I would do pretty much anything to prevent myself from tearing!
And since I felt like I had done this entire pregnancy by myself I figured it would be the perfect opportunity to con Andy into getting involved in preparing us for our natural childbirth. After all I didn’t make this baby on my own so I thought it only fair that he helped as much as he could. Also it might help him not to pass out if he got used to seeing my vag in a different sort of setting so that he wouldn’t be so shocked by the “expansiveness” during birth.
He was a bit hesitant, and only after cracking a crap load of perineum and vag jokes did he step up to the plate, and we went for it! Now that, is LOVE!
I took a bath to get myself and my tissues relaxed. I imagined that my birthing time had begun and that this was the real thing. We set the room just like we would for the birth; we dimmed the lights, put on the music I had picked out for our natural childbirth, the whole shabang!
Using almond oil to soften up the tissues he stuck both his fingers and his thumbs inside of me and began following the instructions that we had printed out on how to perform the “massage.” http://www.bloomingbellys.com/bb-blog/prenatal-perineal-massage/
I relaxed as much as I possibly could. He would gently and progressively stretch to a point where there was quite a bit of pressure, if it was too much pressure I would cue him by tapping on the bed to tell him to let up a bit, if I could handle a little more pressure I would tap on the wall so that he could apply a little more.
I was a bit shy at first, but I very quickly realized how this was helping us to communicate with each other and had also put us both in a rather vulnerable and intimate position where we had to let down our walls of resistance and really become open with each other.
Even still I have to tell you that it wasn’t much fun, and it actually did create quite an intense sensation! But, it was well worth it! I found myself really having to be creative to find ways to fully and completely relax. Which turned out to be a truly great way to prepare me for natural childbirth, because I got to experience firsthand the difference between how when I tensed up it created pain, and how when I relaxed it became easier and manageable.
So we did it every night for the last month, and every time we did it I was stretchier than before, and it became easier and easier to do.
The Results- A Pain Free Natural Childbirth
So what were the results of all of our efforts? It was the 16th hour of my birthing time (of course I had not known that) I had gone to a place where time didn’t exist. I was fully consumed in this alternate reality, of complete surrender and unhampered connection with this HUGE universal energy that was flowing through me.
All of the sudden I felt my body make a changeover and suddenly I felt the urge to push. It felt so completely natural that I hardly even felt like I actually had to do much pushing at all. It more felt like my body was going to do it. So I tried to relax into it. Sure enough my body began to do some pushing and I helped it out by filling myself with enormous breaths and harnessing all of the power and strength that I had within me. This power expelled itself in these amazingly powerful moans!
I had heard all about the “ring of fire” that I was supposed to feel as the baby’s head came out and was secretly waited for the excruciating pain that was supposed to come. 3 gentle pushes and her head was out. No pain, no ring of fire, just a squish.
It actually felt amazing as her head and body came out, it was like this tremendous relief! And the best part, not a tear, not a rip, not a scrape. My perineum was perfectly intact and my yoni was all shiny and pristine! My baby was amazingly healthy and beautiful, no smooshed or cone shaped head, just perfection.
Oh and by the way, Andy was GREAT during the birth, not squeamish at all, he was oozing with love, tenderness and connection. For us the stretchy vagina techniques definitely paid off!!!
I would love to hear your thoughts! What do you think about this whole stretchy vagina, perineal massage business? Have you tried it, or would you think about trying it for a potentially easier natural childbirth? Or do you have any tips on how to prevent tears?
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