Yay, congratulations on being pregnant! You have probably been told multiple times in your pregnancy that being pregnant is a beautiful thing. I agree, pregnancy is truly a blessing, but there are also so many other emotions to describe it.
During my first pregnancy, I spent a ton of time researching ways to prepare for labor and they really proved beneficial. Both of my pregnancies have gone really well and I think part of that is due to these 6 things!
I do want to also say that 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 worked well for me during my two pregnancies. I know that I will definitely be doing them again and encouraging all my friends to also!
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, and it paid off!
There are many prenatal workouts that you can choose from. Swimming and walking are great options! I bought a membership to Beachbody on Demand and loved it! I actually loved the program so much I became a coach. If you haven't heard of it, it is basically a "Netflix of workout programs". I highly recommend you trying it out! There are a couple of different programs they offer that are specifically designed for each trimester.
Before you start any workout program, you need to check with your doctor.
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 It was also very nice that we could do it when we had time, but it was very outdated and definitely not enjoyable. I think that there are other programs out there 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!
If I could do it over again, I would have skipped the paid course and just used Youtube's free videos to learn the basics.
3. Perineal Massage
Not the most pleasant of topics, but perineal massage is another great way to prepare your body for labor.
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 evidence 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 used 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 vaginally 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 help prevent constipation, which many of us deal with during pregnancy. Ugh!
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! Who doesn't want a shorter labor?
I 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. Again, keep your provider in the loop on what you are doing to prepare for labor.
Remember to give these 6 things a shot to get ready for labor!
I hope this post was able to help inspire you to get your body ready for labor!
Be sure to check out my post on packing your hospital bag here!