There are several things that you can do before labor to help your body get ready naturally! Here are some of the things that I did. I really felt like they helped and will absolutely follow the same regimen the next time around! What things did you do to prepare for your natural birth? Please post your comments, I would love to know if there are any other tricks that I haven’t heard about!
Yeah girl, kegels not only help your sex life, but they really help your body prepare for labor! It’s great to start doing kegels early on in your pregnancy so that you can build up your strength and endurance. If you’ve never done these, they can actually be kind of challenging! Kegels are also great to do during your postpartum recovery period. If you’ve never heard of kegel exercises or aren’t sure how to do them, I thought this video did a great job of explaining.
All the Squats!
Like kegels, squatting is something you’ll want to start practicing early on in your pregnancy. The squat position, or some variation of it, is one of the most common birthing positions. Even if your doctor has you laying on your back, your legs will still be pulled into a squatting variation, so you’ll want to strengthen these muscles. It is challenging to find your balance as you get bigger, so the sooner you can get comfortable in a deep squat position, the easier it will be later in your pregnancy and during labor. I did squats about twice a week at the gym, and my weekly prenatal yoga class also taught them. You don’t have to do weighted squats either! Just find the deepest squat you can and hold for progressively longer and longer. I was holding for 1-3 minutes at a time by the end of my third trimester. Here’s an excellent video on proper squat form, which is super important! It also explains the many benefits of squatting in further detail.
Eating dates is something you can start doing towards the end of your third trimester for a quicker labor. From week 36 on, I ate 6 of these dates per day. I read about this little trick in the Mama Natural book! You can prepare them in a variety of ways, from chopping them up in a salad to stuffing them with cream cheese and wrapping them in bacon – yum! They also go pretty well with peanut butter if you’re looking for a simple snack. I usually picked the peanut butter option, but feel free to experiment. I wasn’t a huge fan of the taste of dates – they were too sweet for me and they reminded me of little cockroaches. I made myself eat them anyways because studies show that they are associated with a lower risk of induction and the need for Pitocin to boost contractions during labor – cool!
Evening Primrose Oil
You can take Evening primrose oil in the last few weeks of pregnancy to help soften or ripen the cervix. This makes for quicker dilation and an easier labor. If you read my Birth Story, you know how quickly I dilated once I went into active labor. I attribute that partly to this stuff! You can begin taking evening primrose oil orally at 36 weeks. My doula recommended just 500 ml per day for week 36, then 1000 ml for week 37, then you can take 2000 ml from week 38 onward. Some women also insert it vaginally.
Red Raspberry Leaf Tea
Red Raspberry Leaf Tea is an herbal tea that is wonderful to drink throughout your entire pregnancy. It helps strengthen the uterus so that when you go into labor, you are ready to have the most efficient contractions. I think we’ll all agree that less contractions is best! It’s also great for menstrual cramps when you aren’t pregnant! I was drinking about 3-4 cups of this tea a day towards the end of my pregnancy.