Last updated on Jun 11th, 2021 at 08:32 pm

Preparing the mind and body for birth is different for each mom. Some find comfort in being physically fit, while others take the opportunity to relax, breathe, put their feet up and practise keeping calm. And then there are some moms, like those we chatted to, who have found unconventional ways to prepare for the big day.

Exercise to D-Day on a strict diet

Yoga Teacher Darden Lotz says that preparing for pregnancy and birth was a big challenge, because she wanted to be as healthy and fit as possible.

“This isn’t an easy task in a fast world where we rely on the convenience of processed foods and where ‘healthy’ foods need to be checked constantly to ensure they’re organic, fresh and contain no ugly additives,” she says.

Before becoming pregnant, Darden did a 100-day superfood cleanse to prepare her body. “With this detox, you can eat as much unprocessed food as you like, including superfoods like goji berries and cacao beans. No processed foods like bread, pasta, sweets, biscuits, fast foods or drinks like alcohol and coffee are allowed.

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“I completed the 100 days without cheating, although I admit it was a test of my self-discipline. The daily exercise was a little easier as I’m both a runner and a yoga teacher. I ran for the first five-and-a- half months of pregnancy, swam for the rest, and practised and taught Ashtanga yoga until a few days before my baby was born,” she says.

Darden continued with a super-clean diet until the end, giving her baby only things that would benefit his development. Why did she feel so strongly about such a strict diet and exercise routine?

“Ensuring that I was healthy before and during my pregnancy gave me peace of mind that I was doing everything possible to give my son one of the most important things in life – health,” she says.

Raw food diet

Media and marketing coordinator, Cherilyn Murphy, opted for a raw food diet at 36 weeks. Cherilyn was under the guidance of her midwife, Sister Sharon Marsay, who encourages a simple, raw food diet for her pregnant clients.

Because Sharon was quite strict with Cherilyn’s diet from day one of her pregnancy, she felt changing to a raw diet at 36 weeks wouldn’t be that difficult.

“I didn’t feel like I was on a strict detox, or that I was ‘missing out’ on certain foods. I didn’t feel bloated or have any strange cravings and I only cheated once – with a baked potato on my 30th birthday. My hair, skin, and nails looked great and I didn’t get one stretch mark,” says Cherilyn.

“Although you might feel that this type of diet is too difficult or restrictive, it helps to keep meals interesting by introducing wraps and a wide range of fruits and vegetables to your daily eating plan. Invest in a smoothie blender and to get your partner to do the diet with you. The book Rawlicious was her nutrition bible,” she notes.

Benefits of a raw food diet

  • Reduces risks of tearing and episiotomies
  • Reduces blood loss at birth
  • Strengthens body for labour
  • Quicker recovery after labour
  • Beneficial high nutrient content.

Other unconventional ways to prepare for birth

Craniosacral therapy (CST)

CST helps balance the mom-to-be’s energy levels and physical body. It relieves the effects of daily stress and memories of past emotional and physical trauma. This helps both mom and baby prepare for birth together.

An important goal of a pregnancy CST session is to gently improve mobility in the mother’s pelvis, so her baby can assume an ideal position for birth more easily. This promotes a timely, easier birth for mom and baby. Moms can also express their fears and concerns in these sessions and will be given suggestions and resources to help.

HypnoBirthing

HypnoBirthing classes given by certified practitioners teach couples how to achieve relaxation together through hypnosis and specific techniques for all aspects of birthing – from contractions to speaking to and dealing with medical professionals. Its aim is a fearless pregnancy and birth, as well as a relaxed baby. Although this might seem a little far-fetched, moms who’ve practiced this type of hypnosis technique swear by its calming effects.

The Mama Bamba way

The Mama Bamba way’s ideal for moms-to-be who want to connect with their unborn babies from the minute of conception. It promotes natural birth and engaging with your baby throughout pregnancy.

Antenatal weekends and six-week evening workshops are offered for pregnant moms and their partners to facilitate soul connection sessions with their unborn baby. It involves integration therapy for releasing birth and parenting fears, and how to create a welcoming atmosphere for your baby.

*Originally published in December 2013