Posts Tagged ‘childbirth education’

API Principle #1: Prepare for Pregnancy, Birth, and Parenting

Friday, November 4th, 2011

When a couple finds out they are expecting, it is often a time filled with excitement, joy, and a healthy dose of nervousness. Whether it’s your first baby or your fifth, a pregnancy begins a new journey for your family. Attachment Parenting International views pregnancy, birth, and early parenting choices as important bonding opportunities. Therefore they encourage families to prepare mentally, physically, and emotionally for pregnancy, birth, and parenting.  The difficulty is that we often don’t know how to do that? Most expecting couples will spend a great deal of energy, time, and resources into decorating a nursery for new baby and collecting material things for baby. However they often give little attention to preparing the mental, physical, and emotional space baby will occupy in their lives. Here are some suggestions on ways to prepare for the arrival of a new baby that align well with the first principle of API.

Take a Childbirth Education Class – A childbirth education class typically provides couples with information about body changes during pregnancy, baby’s development, stages of labor, pain management options, and early postpartum care including basic breastfeeding information. Some childbirth education classes will go beyond providing clinical information and also delve into the spiritual, emotional, and psychological aspects of pregnancy and childbirth. Philosophies that I think well support couples in a holistic approach to birth are Birthing From Within, The Bradley Method, and Hypnobabies.


Exercise during pregnancy– Unless you have a medical condition that prevents you from exercising, gentle exercise can be very beneficial to you and baby during pregnancy. Walking is a simple, relaxing and easy way to exercise during pregnancy. It might help with any discomforts you are experiencing as well as help baby get into a optimal position. Squatting is very helpful in strengthening the pelvic floor muscles used during labor. Another great exercise option is to take a prenatal yoga class. If you are unable to find a class in your area that fits your schedule or budget, there are some good prenatal DVDs on the market. Netflix even carries a few or check your local library to see what selection they offer. A critical component to any exercise regimen is eating well, staying hydrated, and getting adequate sleep. This is especially important during pregnancy. While we tend to focus on the physical benefits of exercise, regular exercise can also help us feel balanced both emotionally and mentally.

Arm yourself with Breastfeeding Information and Support – Establishing successful breastfeeding is challenging for many woman. Any preparations you can do during pregnancy will have a positive impact on your breastfeeding experience. Attending La Leche League meetings during pregnancy is one easy way to meet other breastfeeding moms and develop a network of support. If your local LLL meetings don’t work in your schedule consider taking a breastfeeding information class. If you are not sure where to locate a class they are sometimes provided by hospitals, doulas, breastfeeding counselors, lactation consultants or speciality boutiques that sell nursing accessories. Additionally take time during pregnancy to read breastfeeding literature such as The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding or visit the kellymom website.

Make Informed Decisions – Throughout your pregnancy you will be offered many routine procedures during prenatal appointments. This will likely continue into birth as well as newborn care. Know that any medical procedure is optional and nothing can be done without your consent. This is known as informed consent. You have the right to ask questions, delay, or decline any medical procedures or interventions offered to you, even ones not presented as being optional. You are the authority on your body and no care provider can make any health care decisions for you. It is important you select maternal health care providers who will empower you throughout your pregnancy and during labor. Creating a birth plan can provide a helpful framework to address your preferences regarding health care procedures for both you and baby.

There are many great ways to prepare yourself for pregnancy, birth, and parenting. These preparations are a foundational part of the attachment parenting journey, so be sure to give it the love, attention, and focus it deserves! 🙂

What ways did you prepare mentally, physically, and emotionally for pregnancy, birth, and parenting? 


Be sure to check back next Friday when we examine API’s 2nd principle: Feed with Love and Respect.