PREPARING FOR LABOR
As you all know, I’m in the last stretch of my pregnancy! I’m currently 36 weeks and 4 days, so now is the time I’m really preparing for labor. If you’ve read my 36 week pregnancy update, you’d know my mentality has recently changed about giving birth! I used to be super anxious and nervous, but now? I’m like LET’S GET THE SHOW ON THE ROAD, PEOPLE!!! I’m even excited, in a way. I’m excited to see how my birth story will turn out to be!
I’ll start off by saying I have zero tolerance for pain, so I’m 100% going to opt for the epidural... Most likely right away or rightttttt before I think it’s going to get worse, just so I can move around a bit. I don’t know what to expect since this is my first, so I’m just preparing for everything. Regardless of me getting the epidural or not, I started doing certain things that’ll help prepare my actual body for this huge experience it’s about to have.
*Keep in mind that these are the things I’m doing to prepare for my own labor after much research and questions asked to my own OB. I am not an expert & I’m only sharing what I found proven to be helpful! Make sure you talk to your doctor to see what’s okay for you and your pregnancy before trying anything.*
5 WAYS I’M PREPARING FOR LABOR!
1. EATING 7 DATES A DAY
Dates have been scientifically proven to significantly help your labor in several ways! Researchers believe that eating dates contributes to the process of cervical ripening. This means that dates have the nutrients to naturally prepare the cervix and uterus for labor!
I know several women who literally swear by dates and how much it helped make their labor and delivery smooth and short! In several studies, it has shown to significantly cut the labor time for those who consumed dates everyday in their last 4 weeks of pregnancy compared to those who did not.
Overall, the benefits of eating dates include (source):
1. Higher rates of spontaneous labor (vs. being induced)
2. Higher cervical dilation upon admission to hospital
3. Shorter initial phase of labor (mean of 8.5 hours vs. 15 hours)
My own doctor told me to wait until I was 36 weeks to start consuming dates daily just in case the benefits for my body are so high that it puts me in early delivery. So, I waited and began eating 3-7 dates per day once I was officially 36 weeks! Whether it works for me or not, I’m definitely willing to try — especially with the odds in our favor!
2. DRINKING RASPBERRY LEAF TEA
Raspberry leaf tea is another thing I’ve heard several women swear by! My doctor has also recommended for me to wait until I was 36 weeks to begin drinking it simply because it does have the effect of truly preparing your body for labor!
The benefits of raspberry leaf tea include (source):
1. Strengthening the uterus during contractions
2. Potentially shortening labor & delivery time
3. Potentially preventing premature & overdue birth
4. May decrease the likelihood of needing interventions (artificial water breaking, forceps, c-section, and vacuum during labor)
Clearly, the raspberry leaf tea has so many amazing benefits and I am more than happy to try it to improve chances of having a smoother and easier labor and delivery! Just be sure to speak to your doctor about when to start drinking it!
The tea I’m drinking is called Labor Prep by pinkStork (pictured below). You can find it on Amazon for just $15 here! It’s super yummy — I add a couple spoons of sugar to my mug along with some mint leaves!
3. WALKING EVERYDAY
I’m not going to lie, I didn’t do that great with walking during my 3rd trimester! I got caught up with being busy and I simply grew more tired and lazy each day. But once I hit 36 weeks, I knew I needed to get back in the game! Walking is so important during pregnancy and helps your body so much. It helps strengthen your muscles and bones to improve your body for labor! My body has been in so much pain and it has been so stiff since I wasn’t walking at all! Every time I go for a walk now, I notice just how much it helps my body feel better almost immediately! I just have to get better at being consistent with my walks because I know it’ll benefit me when I need it most — in labor and delivery! So definitely try your best to walk as much as possible in the last month of your pregnancy! If it’s winter time, find a local indoor track you can go to!
4. USING MY BIRTHING BALL
If you haven’t purchased a birthing ball, you definitely should in your third trimester! Check out mine here. Using this birthing ball has helped ease my pains whenever I’m feeling it. Especially when it comes to my pelvic floor and lower back! Whenever I felt achy in those areas, I would sit on my birthing ball rotating my hips around and back and forth with my legs open. It feels so good when you’re in all that pain! Before, I’d use it when I felt that I needed it. Now, I’m using it everyday, several times a day. It’s really supposed to help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and just really get you loose. So, I’m using it as much as I can to prepare my body to feel nice and loose before going into labor! Plus, it feels great by relieving a lot of pressure. A lot of women even bring their birthing ball to the hospital with them because it’s comforting during contractions! I’m not taking mine only because I plan to get the epidural pretty early on (my doctor said it will not wear off and they’ll always be able to continue the dosage).
BIRTHING BALL ALSO HELPS WITH A SUNNY SIDE UP BABY!
I’m also using my birthing ball to help flip my baby from the sunny side up position to the more suitable position for giving birth. The sunny side up position is when the baby is facing your belly instead of your back while in the downward position. When you give birth to a baby facing sunny side up, it makes your labor much harder and they will most likely end up using several methods to get the baby out (forceps, cutting, suction)... And a lot of these cases result in c-sections. I know my baby has been in this position for some time (I know this because my belly is not firm, meaning her hands and feet are facing my belly & I feel her hands/feet kicking me. Plus, it creates a lot more back/pelvic pain, which I’m having), but I’m not worried much since they say they usually turn right before giving birth (only about 5% of babies stay in the sunny side up position through birth). However, I really want to decrease my chances of this happening, so everyday, I’m going to use my birthing ball to help her rotate naturally. All you do is get on your knees and basically hug your birthing ball, allowing your belly to be parallel to the floor. This will allow the heaviest part of the baby (the back) to rotate downward. You can also do this simply by being on your hands and knees for 10 minutes everyday if you don’t want to purchase the birthing ball! It’s also a good idea to do this in the early part of your labor!
Watch this video on how to turn your baby in the right direction!
5. PRENATAL MASSAGE
Lastly, I’m going to get a prenatal massage done by someone who specializes in them! Usually, most spas will have a masseuse that specializes in prenatal massages. Just make sure you ask your doctor if and when it’s safe for you to get one before scheduling it! I seriously cannot wait for mine — my body is in desperate need of an amazing 60 minute massage and I truly deserve it! I’ve heard from several people that they actually went into labor shortly after getting their prenatal massage (within days after), so I highly suggest waiting until after 37 weeks pregnant, but to be on the safer side, ask your doctor when she/he thinks it’s best for you to go. I’m going at 37.5 weeks pregnant! It’s going to really help loosen my tight muscles and just relax my body — something I definitely need before going into labor. I’ve been sore, having major back and pelvic pain, along with some weird nerve pain in my upper back and traps. So I’m literally so excited for this! I think this will really help ease my body and physically prepare it for labor and delivery. At least I hope so!
WHAT ARE OTHER WAYS YOU PREPARE FOR LABOR? SHARE IT WITH US IN THE COMMENTS!