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How to: Birth Prep + Induction Tips

Updated: Jul 10, 2022

Let’s learn ways we can prepare ourselves for birth physically, mentally and emotionally.

Photo Credit: my real client, Mama Danielle (the millionaire realtor extraordinaire) & I was her doula & lactation consultant with both babes. One natural water birth & one natural earth side birth. She did an amazing job and if you need to buy a house, she's the perfect agent for families!

We will learn:

Hi, I’m Chardá, a mom, doula and lactation consultant in San Diego, California and I love teaching families how to have a more healthy and positive pregnancy, birth, parenting & breastfeeding experience! My focus is on empowering Black moms, babies and families to be resilient, informed and protected on their life journey!

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We are still dying. I’m tired and distraught after doing the work for years now and still seeing the same catastrophic headline year after year–Black women are STILL 3-4x more likely to die of pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum related causes than our non-Hispanic White women. Don't look at us, this isn't out fault, but it is our fight. This isn’t because we aren’t educated on childbirth, this is because we aren’t educated on all of our options. We aren’t educated on these options because the medical “care” systems and institutions in which providers are taught, don’t care at all and remain inherently racist and therefore the neglectful ways of medical racism and toxic stress still exist and harm Black families. For black birthing folks in America, successfully surviving childbirth transcends socioeconomic factors. Healthcare providers of all backgrounds, often reflexively categorize educated, middle-class or affluent Black women as low risk and overlook red flags that may even be very obvious. This is exactly what happened with Serena Williams, as she had to demand life-saving treatment for known complications after she gave birth. Birth should be a sacred time, not a time to be scared. For many Black women giving birth, our experience is not as positive due to having to fight for basic rights like bodily autonomy. This doesn’t have to be the case, and I’m here to tell you how you too can plan for birthing liberation! This is why I created Melanin Milk SD.

Birthing While Black - Melanin Milk SD FREE Community Birth Plan Coming Soon!

Birth plans are a guide to having patience, allowing time and practicing or planning for as many scenarios as you can control in your birth. You can create a birth plan alone, but I highly recommend doing it with a supportive partner, doula, midwife or your OBGYN if you like them and trust them with guidance, but do keep in mind doctors have strict protocols at their institutions and therefore they will likely have to “err on the side of caution” due to the constraints of hospital policies.

Your preferences are your own and important to improve your chances of a more positive birth experience and to increase your knowledge around your body and the process.

This is a sample of a birth plan that I use with my clients:

To book a birth planning session with me, click here!

This is a custom birth plan I use from a shop on Etsy called The Birth Plan Co. the owner and creator, Sarah, is amazing and very responsive. Please consider using her if you are birthing or have a doula business and need custom content.

A free & easy to understand birth plan I like to refer my clients to is by March of Dimes

What can I do to prepare my body for birth?

Perineum Massage

Can be done to prevent tearing, a perineal massage is done by gently massaging the lower half of your vagina using a u-shaped motion for 2-3 mins at a time, do this 2-3 times a day.

  • Don’t start this until after 35 weeks

  • Reduces your chances of tearing & stitches

  • Lowers your risk of episiotomy (a doctor performed cut to of the vagina during pushing)

  • Helps with scar tissue

  • Try a warm bath before doing it

  • Lubricate! Use something safe and natural

  • Try using the thumbs

  • Partners, with consent you can do this on your birth giver!

Pelvic Floor Preparation

During pregnancy, the pelvic floor stretches to make room for your growing baby. Over time, these muscles become weak from being weighed down.

  • Find a pelvic floor therapist prenatally or postpartum

  • Browse around on social media and ask doulas, birth centers or OBGYN’s in your area

My favorite two personal recommendations are:

Breast/Chest Prep

There is nothing you need to do to prepare your breast/chest or nipples for feeding and lactation! Baby will be fine on the drops of colostrum you provide in the first 0-3 days, because while the amount is small, the caloric and nutrient content is rich. Your baby also only needs a tsp or so of milk per feed session in the first few days, so it works out perfectly. Allow your body to do its thing and if you need help, find a lactation consultant near you.

  • Take a breastfeeding class

  • Wait for your milk to increase in volume around 3-5 days postpartum

  • If you or baby struggle, contact an IBCLC

  • Watch for output; if they are peeing and pooping normally it's a good sign of intake!

Hospital vs Natural Induction

Labor induction or Induced Labor is the use of medications or other methods induced to stimulate contractions of the uterus. This can be a lengthy process, longer than an average spontaneous birth, especially if your cervix, body, baby and mind are not ready for this to naturally begin.

To prepare for birth, the cervix begins to soften or ripen, thin out, and open. These changes usually start a few weeks before labor begins. Sometimes when labor is going to be induced, the cervix is not yet "ripe" or soft. A good way to know the firms they are checking for is to do this, try touching the tip of your nose push it and see how firm it feels there, now touch your lip, see the softness of this is what they are looking for with a ripe cervix, a cervix that is not quite ready would feel more like the tip of your nose and this means that labor cannot progress until it's softer like your lip. This is all so that the baby has a clear and easy pathway out, and for the birth giver to have an easier time. The provider may use a Bishop score to rate the readiness of the cervix for labor, and the scoring ranges from 0-13, your doctor is looking for the cervix to be an 8 or higher to be considered favorable for induction.

Ripening the cervix is a process that helps the cervix soften and thin out in preparation for labor. Medications or devices may be used to soften the cervix so it will stretch (dilate) for labor.

When your water breaks, the fluid-filled amniotic sac that surrounds the baby has ruptured (burst). Most will go into labor within hours after their water breaks. If the sac hasn’t burst already, breaking it can start contractions. Or if the contractions have already started, breaking the sac can make them stronger or more frequent. To rupture the amniotic sac, an ob-gyn makes a hole in the sac with a special device. This procedure, called an amniotomy may be done before or after a birth giver has been given oxytocin. It can be performed to start labor when the cervix is dilated and the baby’s head has moved down into the pelvis.