I’m pregnant, very pregnant i.e due to give birth to my second child any day now. I’ve gone through the nesting/sorting/getting my hospital bag ready phase am now waiting. As I’m pretty static at the moment I thought I’d do something useful and share with you a few of foods, drinks and natural remedies I found helpful the first time around, which have made it into my hospital bag. Hopefully they will work for me again this time. I totally understand that what one woman wants/needs during labour can be completely different from another and maybe this time these things may not hit the spot. I’d also like to add, these are supports. I had a pretty challenging and long labour last time and for all of my hypnobirthing ended up having epidural (almost an emergency cesarean). These are not going to guarantee a successful, easy, natural labour, but they all helped me in little ways through the dark times.
Some of the food and drink items may surprise you a little, they could be deemed a little unorthodox for a natural food-based nutritionist. But what I learnt from my last labour was that you just have to go with what works for you during the time.
To be honest I found it difficult to eat anything during my last labour and in the end I had to have a drip to re-hydrate me. While my lovely mother had brought me a massive range of healthy snack bars I couldn’t face them. However there was one that I could eat, albeit very slowly, which helped to give me much needed energy and sustenance. I found the winning formula to be that it was soft and easy to eat with not too strong of a taste and high in natural sugars. Yes, you need the quick releasing sugars during these times.
To try and ensure there’s something that appeals I’m bringing a variety. Here are the ones in my bag;
- Nakd Raw Cocoa Orange Bar, Primal Pantry Bars – Basically a range of soft fruit and nut bars. These are tasty, easy to eat and with a good amount of natural sugars to give me energy.
- Meridian Nut Bars, 9 Bars – My aim was to get a range of bars here, which is why in included these. While not perfect in their ingredients they still ticked the box for being gluten-free, with a solid base of natural foods. Like the flapjacks below there are some ingredients I wouldn’t normally endorse but I think that’s just fine during this time.
- Trek Cocoa Oat Protein Flapjack – Not perfect, they contain some dubious ingredients (soya protein, palm oil) but they fit my criteria of being soft and with a good amount of sugars.
- Chocolate Biscuits – OK, now there’s nothing healthy about these. But they completely hit the spot after the birth of my last boy, accompanied by about a pint of strong tea. Never has a biscuit and cup of tea tasted so good! There are times when you just have to eat what you want, and this is one of them. Sorry to disappoint but I wanted to be honest!
- Still water – I’m sure I’ll have access to this at the hospital but always good to be stocked up.
- Coconut Water – With a blend of essential electrolytes this drink is very effective at helping to re-hydrate the body after either rigorous or extended bouts of physical activity. Perfect during labour! My only concern is that I won’t want to touch the stuff. As I found last time around I could only tolerate very specific things. Hence the option below…
- Lucozade – Like the chocolate biscuits this may be another surprise addition and again I would not normally suggest one drinks it. BUT last time it really helped me. Even through the fog of exhaustion and pain I was still surprised I drank it! I was extremely dehydrated and tired, I found a few sips made me feel a little better, helped to re-hyrate me and brought my energy levels back up.
- Tea – The 3 cups of PG Tips I drank after my last labour, with my little boy in my arms were the best ever. So this time I’m stocked up. Whatever you’re preference whether it’s a strong Assam, PG Tips, Yorkshire Tea or a herbal one I’d suggest you do the same.
One of the things that I realised through my attempt at hypnobirthing was the importance of relaxation during labour. While I didn’t master it completely I found that music really helped me at certain times (combined with the hypno-breathing). Like all of my suggestions my playlist is a very personal one and you’ll have your own preferences. Here are a few on my playlist:
- Alexi Murdoch – Away We Go
- Sigos Ros – We Play Endlessly
- London Grammar – Metal & Dust
- Inside Llewyn Davis Soundtrack
- Arnica 200c (Helios) – I’m a big fan of arnica and have been using it for years for bruising, injury and shock. I realise homeopathy is a much debated over topic but I’ve always found this particular remedy very useful. This is a very high potency and suggested for use during and after childbirth to help deal with the soreness, swelling, bruising and injury that can occur. I took it last time and I think it helped the healing process. I ordered mine from Helios who were also amazingly helpful in recommending other potentially useful remedies.
- Emergency Essence (Australian Bush Flower Essences) – Again I took this during my last labour, in the first stage when I was having a hard time of it. This is similar to the Bach ‘Rescue Remedy’, but I find this one more effective. It’s designed to help tackle emotional upset during times of crisis especially feelings of panic, distress and fear. I found this helpful, it’s not a drug, it won’t take away the pain, but it helped to calm me a little.
- Relaxation Remedy (Neal’s Yard) – A blend of essential oils that help to relax the mind and body and promote relaxation. Yep, I’m fully aware that I may be throwing this at my husbands head during labour but on the other hand it may just help.
- Facial Spray (Mario Badescu) – Last time I didn’t have anything like this but I heard from some other mum’s that these types of refreshing and cooling facial sprays were really nice to have during labour. I need little excuse to buy stuff like this anyway so this went straight into the bag.
- Lip balm (Elizabeth Arden) – Quite simply because I got really dry lips last time. A stick is easier then a pot.
- Socks – Soft and easy to put on, because weirdly my feet got really cold.
I’m hoping these all help to contribute to a smooth and healthy labour and birth of my little boy. I’m sure some stuff will help while others may be left in the bag. If you’re reading this pregnant and anticipating what you may need then I hope this gives you some useful ideas.