I am long overdue in writing this, but since I am almost 36 weeks pregnant, it’s time! I’ve tirelessly researched the best things I can do to prepare myself mentally, emotionally, and physically for labor this time around. One of the biggest reasons I want to go into spontaneous labor is that I’m a VBAC mom, and they won’t induce me. Plus, if you’ve read up on inductions, they typically lead to cesareans, and that isn’t what I want either way. Here are 7 things I’m doing to prepare my body for natural labor.
7 Things I’m Doing to Prepare My Body for Natural Labor
SPINNING BABIES ACTIVITIES
So, the Spinning Babies website is a great resource! I am so glad I found it early enough in my pregnancy this time. It’s super helpful with baby positioning, especially for breach babies. If you have a breech baby check out the site asap! But it’s great for any mama. I’ve been doing the exercises (almost) daily to keep from having a posterior baby and horrible back labor. 😉
BIRTHING BALL BOUNCING
I’ve started bouncing on my birthing ball at night for at least thirty minutes! I just do it while listening to The Birth Hour podcast, or while I watch TV, or work on my computer. It isn’t super hard to remember, and it’s supposed to help with getting baby engaged with the pelvis for delivery!
DATES (6 a day)
One cool thing I read about is eating medjool dates. I read that if you eat six dates a day starting at 36 weeks it helps to ease labor and possibly speed things up! Of course, several of these things certain people swear by and others say they didn’t work. However, I’m of the mindset that if it could possibly help and isn’t harmful, then why would I not try it?! You know? 🙂 Plus, I adore dates anyway.
Quick tips: eat them with peanut butter, you won’t be disappointed! Also, if you aren’t a huge fan of date, you can put them into a smoothie. My favorite smoothie contains dates, but you don’t taste them at all. See the recipe in this post here.
RED RASPBERRY LEAF TEA
Starting at around 34 weeks, I am now drinking 2-5 cups of red raspberry leaf tea a day. It is supposed to be super helpful for shortening labor and reducing the need for intervention as it preps the uterus! Want to know more about this? Read this study here 🙂
Quick tip: Be careful about brand – I use organic red raspberry leaf – and also, take a look at the ingredients. Some brands will call it “pregnancy tea” but it will contain all kinds of herbs like rose hip instead of just straight red raspberry leaf. You want just the one ingredient tea. Looking for a recommendation? Try this Earth Mama red raspberry leaf tea here. I love the brand (they’re cruelty-free) and it tastes amazing.
How I use it: I drink a cup of hot tea in the morning with a bit of lemon or some almond milk. I’ve been loving milk in my tea lately! It’s sort of replaced my coffee. I’ll also steep some ahead of time and save it in the refrigerator in mason jars! It tastes wonderful iced with lemon or lime. It’s safe to say I’m addicted.
PRENATAL YOGA (PELVIC ROCKS/CATCOW/HIP OPENERS)
I have LOVED doing yoga during my pregnancy. It’s totally changed my life and I’ll definitely be continuing my yoga practice into postpartum. Check out my blog post on my five favorite prenatal yoga poses here. They’re for beginners and great for hip-opening (which is crucial for a natural birth!)
I’ve been super intentional about my affirmations. When I was pregnant with Grace I had no idea what a birth affirmation was, but this time, I’ve been telling myself things like, “my body was made for this” and I actually plan to make signs to hang up in the hospital room. I’m pretty excited to stare at them (plus an ultra sound photo of my sweet babe) and feel encouraged by the fact that I’ll get to meet her so soon!
MINDFULNESS/RELAXATION PRACTICE/SURGE BREATHING/BIRTH ART
Okay so I actually consider these things a bunch of separate things, but not everyone can do EVERYTHING, right? I’m just hyper-aware and overly-preparing, so I do all of these things (as often as I can), but by no means do you need to. Let’s start with mindfulness/relaxation practice.
I have been practicing meditation and mindfulness (just sitting quietly and focused while listening to encouraging tracks or music) since around 20 weeks. I don’t do it every day, but I try to do it around 2-3 times a week. It helps me recall a place and time where I feel relaxed and centered. I plan to call upon this during my labor and try to take myself back to this place instead of focusing on the pain 🙂 I hope it works!
Surge breathing is a HypnoBirthing technique. My class with Tara over at Organic HypnoBirthing was absolutely wonderful, and I loved all of the breathing techniques she taught us, but surge breathing is one I’ve been practicing.
How to do surge breathing: So a surge is essentially a contraction (we call them surges in HypnoBirthing) and you basically start breathing in to a rapid count of 20 while ballooning up your abdomen and relaxing your pelvis and pelvic floor. Then as you push you release to the rapid count of 20. It’s pretty cool, if you want me to demonstrate on InstaStories, just say the word, and I will haha. It’s best to practice this during bowel movements lol, so try it out!
I did some birth art with my sister this past weekend and it was one of the most gratifying and therapeutic experiences. The book Birthing From Within has a ton of amazing prompts for birth art. And when I say ‘birth art’ I mean, drawing out stuff with no talent whatsoever lol because I am NOT an artist. The last time I painted was ten years ago in high school!
The reason this was so therapeutic though, is that I was able to say to myself “What do I want out of this birth experience?” And when I closed my eyes I pictured exactly what I was wanting and what I am hoping for and I drew it. I’m going to share what I drew on InstaStories this week so watch out for that <3
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Thank you so much for reading!