Congratulations on your little one! If you are reading this, I am assuming that you are expecting a sweet bundle of joy! Being pregnant is truly a blessing, but there are so many emotions.
It might just be luck, but I had such a great labor experience! I spent a ton of time researching ways to prepare for labor and they really proved beneficial. With that being said, sometimes things come up that we can not plan for. Your labor story might be completely different than mine. You might try these things and they might not work for you. I am just sharing what I did for my first pregnancy and it seemed to help so much that I will definitely be doing them again for our second!
I cannot say this enough. YOU NEED TO WORKOUT WHILE YOU ARE PREGNANT! At least 5 days a week you need to do something active. I know a lot of times throughout pregnancy we feel tired and lousy and the last thing we want to do is workout, but it will make you feel so much better in the long run! Having a strong heart and strong muscles will make pushing feel easier and in many cases go faster!
I knew that labor was going to be very intense. As with any race or major physical event in life, I decided I needed to "train" for labor. I decided I would take those nine months to prepare my body.
There are many prenatal workouts that you can do. Swimming and walking are great options! I bought a membership to Beachbody on Demand and loved it! If you haven't heard of it, it is basically a "Netflix of workout programs". I highly recommend it! There are a couple of different programs they offer that are specifically designed for each trimester.
Make sure you check with your doctor before you start working out!
2. Educate Yourself
There are so many resources out there to help you learn more and prepare for labor.
Many hospitals offer childbirth classes. Ask your friends who have taken them to see if they think it is worth it. I heard from multiple people that our local hospital's program did not impress.
My husband and I bought an online birthing class through Lamaze. It was SO helpful that it was online and we did not need to give up our time to go to a physical class. It was also very nice that we could do it when we had time. It was very outdated and definitely not enjoyable. I think that there are other programs out there though that would have been much better!
There are a TON of videos on Youtube for free that we found very helpful! I LOVED watching Sarah Lavonne's childbirth videos. (Check out her channel here). She is a doula and is SO knowledgeable and fun to watch!
Another doula I found very helpful on Youtube is Bridget Teyler. (Check out her channel here). I learned so much from both of these women and highly recommend them to every first time mother!
3. Perineal Massage
I had multiple people tell me that this really made a difference in their labor experience. I did some research to see if it was worth it. Although there is not a lot of proof that it makes a difference, many women recommend it!
I read multiple articles and watched multiple videos to teach myself how to do it properly. (Check out this video). Start around week 35, and try to do these massages 4-5 times a week. There are many different lubricants you can use. I broke 1-2 Vitamin E capsules and used them as a lubricant for the massage. You can also use coconut oil.
4. Evening Primrose Oil
Make sure you talk with your doctor about this one too. Some say that it can help induce labor naturally.
I started taking Evening Primrose Oil to prepare my uterus for labor during my third trimester. They also say that it can start thinning your cervix in preparing your body for labor.
Evening Primrose Oil is something that can be taken orally and used vaginally. I started using it around 36 weeks during my first pregnancy. You can also break the capsule open and use this for your perineal massage.
Again, make sure you talk to your provider as this might not be safe for everybody!
I had never eaten dates before in my life, until I was 35 weeks pregnant with my first baby. I had read in multiple places that dates help prepare our bodies for labor. They can aide in a natural induction for us and ripen our cervix, getting it ready for birth! How cool!
I thought "Hey, they are healthy and decently inexpensive so why not give them a try?" I ate six dates a day during my last couple of weeks of pregnancy. Unfortunately, I didn't love them, but I made myself eat them. I told myself if it would help with labor it was worth it.
Another health benefit of dates is they can aide in constipation, which many of us deal with during pregnancy. Ugh!
This is definitely something you should try out!
6. Raspberry Leaf Tea
Red Raspberry Leaf Tea is a tea that is known to strengthen the uterine wall. It is also believed to decrease labor time! Yay!!
I normally drank 1 cup a day, but you can drink 1-3 cups daily. I am not really a tea person, but again, I heard it was good for me and my pregnant body, so I drank it. With a little honey, this was very easy to fit into my daily routine.
Many people start drinking Red Raspberry Leaf tea during their second trimester. I waited until my third trimester.
I hope this post was able to help inspire you to get your body ready for labor!