What a Pooping Unicorn taught me about birth

Have you seen the video for the Squatty Potty?  It features a unicorn pooping rainbow ice cream and a lot of talk about your sphincter.

My 7-year-old daughter LOVES this video (Poops + unicorns = hilarity).  Shout out to my dad for sending it to us.  I've now had to listen to my daughter talking about unicorn poops for a week.

Did you know that our bodies were designed to squat?  And not just for pooping.

My 94-year-old grandmother squats when gardening and sometimes just to hang out.  She was born in Indonesia, and like many other Asian countries, squatting is considered a normal part of everyday life.  

When I took my yoga teacher training, squatting was an essential part of our practice.  Poses like Garland (Malasana) encourage the hips to open and is always taught in my prenatal yoga classes.

How does this relate to birth?

According to Evidence Based Birth, "For women without an epidural, pushing in an upright position is associated with a decrease in the risk of episiotomies, vacuum and forceps-assisted deliveries, and fetal heart rate abnormalities, an increase in the risk of second-degree tears, and a possible increase in the risk of having blood loss more than 500 mL"

That's pretty great news!  But it's not just for pushing.  Squatting lengthens the pelvic muscles and can actually provide some relief while labouring.  

What about if you have an epidural?

The great news about epidurals is that it numbs pain and sensation and allows mothers to rest.  The not so great news is that it restricts movement (since it's not safe to rely on your legs due to loss of sensation).  So during labour, rest, and when it comes to pushing, your partner and/or doula can help you into an assisted squat using a rebozo or squatting bar (if the facility you are giving birth in has one).  And studies have shown that women with epidurals who remain upright in the second stage of labour can shorten labour (ask us about the Queen of Sheba throne!)

As birth doulas, we know squat.  And now, I'm going to get some ice cream.

What position did you use to birth?  Tell us in the comments below!

HypnoBirthing® for Better Birth

Parallels are often drawn between birth and other life experiences – usually not pleasant ones.

Why is the bringing into the world of your baby – the arrival of the love of your life, the most joyous moment you will experience – painted in such bleak colours?

Let’s for a moment equate birth to another physical feat we may choose to undertake... say a marathon. You sign up months in advance, you anticipate the day. In the months leading up to it, you try to eat well, maybe even do a few stretches here and there and take a Marathon Preparation class where you and other runners get together, perhaps even listen to someone who’s run a marathon before. You talk about the experience, how you might feel at the 10th, 25th and 40th kilometer... and then you go home. On the day of your marathon, you start off feeling great, by the 5th kilometer your legs are cramping... by the 10th you’ve forgotten how to breathe and by 15 you’ve hit the pavement. This is where the metaphor ends because, with birth, you must reach the end.

The missing ingredient in the above scenario – the one that would ensure you making it to 42 kilometers - is training... preparation... practice and understanding the physiology behind the activity.

Just like birth, running is an emotional, mental and physical process. You can’t run 42k without being prepared on all levels, without having learned how to psyche yourself up, keep yourself focused and, most importantly, if you’re terrified and dreading the experience.

By exploring and eliminating the reasons for pain in childbirth, teaching relaxation techniques and ways to work WITH your body the HypnoBirthing® curriculum provides complete understanding and preparation for childbirth in every way.

Our learning doesn’t end when you walk out of class - the deep relaxation and strength needed for birth comes only with consistent practice and training. We will provide both you and your partner with the materials to practice and condition your mind and body in preparation for birth.

Some things you will learn:

  • Achieving and maintaining deep levels of relaxation through self-hypnosis & breathing techniques. 
  • A positive and fearless approach to birth through visualization, affirmations, fear release and self-hypnosis.
  • Progression of a normal, healthy pregnancy, labour & birth, and course of action in case of special circumstances.

Our next set of classes in Toronto begins Saturday, June 17th!  Contact us for more information or to sign up!