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In childbirth preparation courses, the midwife will show you different birthing positions and proper breathing during childbirth.
You can also prepare yourself at home with a few tools and exercises and look forward positively to the big day.
Preparatory massages with gliding, vegetable oils (e.g. special perineal massage oil, wheat germ, jojoba, St. John’s wort oil) make the perineum supple and give you a good feeling for your body. Massage twice a week from about the 32nd week of pregnancy, and daily towards the due date. Start with the areas around the vagina and anus by describing a figure eight lying down with your fingers. After some practice, you can also gently stretch the tissues downward and toward the anus from the inside with your fingers spread. If the perineal area is well prepared, birth injuries will also heal more quickly in the postpartum period.
For decades, midwives have been passing on the proven steam baths with hay flowers. To do this, pour the hay flower mixture (pharmacy, health food store) with hot water in a sturdy bucket to form a decoction. You can sit on the edge of the bucket or squat over it. The hayflower steam stimulates circulation and softens the tissue, while the squatting position stretches the perineal area and vagina.
Still quite new and not very common is the preparation with an anti-perineal trainer (about 120 euros, in pharmacies). Using a small rubber balloon that can be inflated to the size of a baby’s head by hand pump, the expectant mother should be able to simulate the most difficult part of childbirth: The balloon is inserted into the vagina and enlarged slightly with each squeeze. Along the way, it stretches the perineum and the muscles in the pelvis. For effective preparation, you need to practice regularly for about three weeks.
The deep breathing you learned in the preparation course should be repeated at home as often as possible. Apply them in a variety of situations, such as before falling asleep, when you have a calf cramp, or during special exertions. Soon they will become second nature to you.
Whether standing, sitting or on a pezzi ball, special loosening exercises make your pelvis more flexible, strengthen your back and are a good prophylaxis against back problems. “Zilgrei,” for example, is a method that is also used to facilitate childbirth. It consists of a combination of body position, pelvic movements and deep breathing. For example, a Zilgrei exercise follows the course of the clock by “tilting” your pelvis one hour at a time. Belly dancing, which many women are now discovering for themselves, has a similar training effect; and yoga also keeps the pelvis flexible. If you are used to doing sports, you should continue with your sport as long as possible, but dose the efforts carefully towards the end of pregnancy.
Make a mental roadmap of your “dream birth” in advance: How do you envision the birth process? Which people should be present? How would you like the environment to be? You can also include options for the clinic (e.g. episiotomy, epidural) in your considerations. Feel free to write everything down – the more concretely you have the birth in mind, the less the thoughts will worry you.