by Kristin (Buffalo, NY)
I'm six months pregnant with my fifth child. In each of my four previous pregnancies, my waters broke, but I did not go into labor. I had to be induced with each of them. (My children are ages 14, 12, 11 and 18 months.)
The first three were hospital births with the works (epidural, etc.) Since their births, I have become much more educated and was trying for a home birth with my fourth.
We waited for three days after my water broke for labor to start, using every natural method we could, but it was just start and stop. I was also four weeks premature. I ended up having him at the hospital, naturally, except for a small dose of pit. Since this will most likely be my last pregnancy, I really want a home birth.
My midwife is concerned that my vegetarian diet is the culprit. (I was not veg during the first three). I have started the brewer pregnancy diet (veg version) and have been following it faithfully. Her other concern is emotional. She feels there must be some underlying issues stopping myself from going into labor naturally.
What are your thoughts as well as any ideas to help me along?
My first thought of the premature rupture of membranes is to look at your diet. You can have a healthy vegetarian pregnancy, though you need to be more vigilant about it.
The Brewer Vegetarian Diet is an excellent one to follow. Are you eating milk and eggs? I would say that eggs are especially important in helping to build strong membranes. Getting your two daily recommended eggs, plus extra egg yolks, would be very beneficial. If you have a source of pastured eggs from a farm you trust, you can put two raw yolks into a smoothie and you won't taste them at all.
Other things to look at are healthy fats and, of course, protein. Make sure both are very high quality. Eat olive oil, butter (if you're having dairy), and especially coconut oil. Your protein should be coming from nuts, beans and dairy/eggs – don't go for protein shakes/bars. I would also try not to depend on soy for protein.
If you eat fish that's another great source of protein and fats – cultures that ate a lot of fish traditionally had the easiest labors and deliveries.
Are you drinking red raspberry tea throughout pregnancy? That will help tone and prepare your uterus for labor. You can also talk with your midwife about other things, such as evening primrose oil or blue/black cohosh to ripen the cervix as you get close.
Also be sure that you're getting plenty of movement in there. Walking, swimming, prenatal yoga – something of that sort regularly. That helps your blood circulate well, which keeps you, baby, and baby's support systems functioning well.
I'm also a big believer in the role our minds play in our lives – and especially in pregnancy and childbirth. So your midwife's thoughts could have some validity.
Now is a great time to really sit down and examine your beliefs about things. What do you think about when you start to think about labor and birth? Is there any fear there?
A book that helped me in huge ways is Birthing From Within – it really helps you to delve deeply into beliefs and fears you may be holding onto – and it helps you to clear them (read my review of the book)
I encourage you to work through any issues you may have (and we all have “issues” as we prepare for birth!)
You can try visualizing your ideal birth – perhaps focusing on how you think labor will start, and how it will progress with power.
An easy way to do this is to write it down in detail. Read it every day, then close your eyes and imagine it vividly. Science shows that our mind cannot tell the difference between vivid imagination and reality – so it's like giving yourself a “practice birth” over and over! Use this to help rewrite the worry and images from your other labors.
Once labor started with my fourth baby, Galen, I kept repeating to myself “I want it to get heavy, I'm ready for this. I want it to get heavy.” It certainly did – Galen arrived before the midwife! So I believe in the power of the mind to influence things.
If you enjoy reading birth stories, that could be helpful too. Read a birth story a day or every few days. They're often very empowering.
Written affirmations can be helpful, too.
“My membranes are strong and intact.”
“I am carrying my healthy baby to term.”
“Labor is starting strong and keeps building to the birth of my baby.”
These are just some examples – make sure you word your affirmations in the present tense, and always positive (you might want to wait until 37 weeks to start affirmations about labor starting!). I kept a list of affirmations posted beside my bed in the third trimester of my last pregnancy and read through them every night! During my first pregnancy I posted them by the bathroom mirror :p
Once you've addressed the physical issues the best thing to do is to look at what's going on in your head. If you want some serious mind-retraining about birth I recommend Hypnobabies – I really don't think there's a more complete “childbirth mindset” course anywhere. But I also think that you can do a really good job with the resources you have now.
A final consideration is that some ladies are able to labor for several days with water broken and the babe is fine. You can research this more – and it may be a good thing to do. Sometimes just researching things we worry about helps to clear up any fears that may be lingering.
Best of luck with your pregnancy!
(NOTE: Want a Perfect Birth Plan Template? Use this template and step-by-step videos to write a birth plan that gets your birth team on your side for a beautiful birth experience! Get the kit here.)