It’s getting close to go time, are you ready? Preparing for labor is tremendously vital. (So is knowing when to go to the hospital) These preparations include mental, physical, and spiritual aspects. Do not neglect one for the other.
The number one thing you can do is educate yourself, check out LOVING YOUR LABOR BIRTH ACADEMY
Labor is very much a mind game, so to not be mentally prepared is unwise. I have had six natural childbirth experiences myself, and I can resoundingly say that YOU MUST EDUCATE YOURSELF AND BE PREPARED! If you’re considering unmedicated birth, Read this post on natural birth!
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PREPARING FOR LABOR INVOLVES SOME ALONE TIME:
Journaling throughout your pregnancy is so rewarding. Besides that, It’s very therapeutic. I love to look back and read some of the thoughts I recorded in mine. Trust me, DO IT!!! When you are looking back and see how naive you were, or at the silly names you considered in 1995, it’s humorous. I also believe that time in the Bible centers you, so I highly recommend a daily devotional and getting into the Word.
PREPARING FOR LABOR BY READING BIRTH BOOKS AND STORIES
One I highly recommend is by Ina May Gaskins. Now granted some of it is a little extreme but it will help you prepare you for labor. It’s informative and reminds us that birth is natural. I recommend this book even if you are not planning a natural birth. Ina, who is the midwife guru of birth, has this cool birthing farm in rural TN. The Business of Being Born by Rikki Lake is a documentary about birth that features The Farm Midwives, be sure to watch it. (Anna & I are trying to work out a visit to The Farm) I wanted to give birth to Greyson there, but I was high risk due to being an old lady and all! is just a fun read. The job description for Mother is hysterical and laughing is good for your soul!
PREPARING FOR LABOR BY WATCHING BIRTH VIDEOS:
Nothing beats facing your fears. I recommend watching as many as possible. There are some great ones on Netflix. Amazon video also has a good amount. Again, I enjoyed The Business of Being Born. I like this documentary because she shows the business side. It is true and I see it every day at work. Birth is a money maker. Many births don’t need to be medical, however, what I like is that Rikki Lake’s documentary which exposes the business of birth also shows the need for medical intervention. As much as I love natural birth and all it encompasses, I also have seen the truly heart-wrenching side of birth and the necessity of the medical professionals trained to respond. (For a glimpse into a day in the life of my job read this post!)
PREPARING FOR LABOR BY DRINKING RASPBERRY TEA:
Raspberry leaf is believed to strengthen the muscles need for labor. The tea form is more comfortable to handle. Start drinking this AFTER 32 weeks of pregnancy. Start with 1 cup daily, and building up to 3 cups a day. Check out this informative post outlining the use of raspberry leaf tea.
PREPARING FOR LABOR ON A BIRTHING BALL:
An exercise or birthing ball is used to strengthen core muscles. You can practice the squat position without having to actually get up and down off the floor. Sitting in a squatting position gently stretches and prepares the muscles needed for Labor. While sitting on the ball roll your hips around for another great gentle stretch. Use of a birthing ball is also recommended to assist in turning a breech baby. Here is a great read on the topic. If your baby is not behaving and is in the wrong position head over to Spinning Babies for help.
PREPARING FOR LABOR BY EATING THOSE DATES:
The magic mark for eating dates is at the start of your third trimester. Eating six dates a day has been shown to soften the cervix, preparing it for dilation. Remember any work the cervix does before actual labor means shorter labor AKA MEANS PREPARING FOR LABOR. This is a win! Check out this interesting study about dates and the effects on labor and delivery.
PREPARING FOR LABOR BY USING EVENING PRIMROSE OIL:
EPO is fantastic for preparing your body for labor. EPO also works by softening tissues including the cervix. When to start? 35 weeks. It’s another natural prep for labor. Take 1-3 by mouth per day. After 37 weeks add 1 insert vaginally before bed. Don’t do it in the a.m. as it’s probably going to get messy. My midwife told me to poke a hole in the gel cap before inserting. You will need to wear a pantiliner. At 38 weeks begin to insert two into your vagina as high and close to your cervix as possible. DON’T forget to poke the hole. Otherwise, it’s a waste of time and wont do much in prepapring your cervix for labor..
PREPARING FOR LABOR WITH A GOOD OLE’ PERINEAL MASSAGE
Massage oil made specifically for the perineum can be used to massage and stretch out the perineum and vaginal cavity. It can be slightly messy and it’s not too comfortable. It burns like a mother but it can also be used in preparing for labor because you will be doing some deep breathing to deal with it and we all know that’s needed in labor. It’s also extremely awkward to reach down there and succeed, so ask your partner to help a girl out. I’ve written a post about the ways you can prevent a perineal or vaginal tear so be sure to check that out.
PREPARING FOR LABOR ON THE MAGICAL PEANUT BALL :
This little gem right here is a miracle. I wish I could share all the times this baby has saved my patients from unnecessary interventions. Seriously, a peanut ball should be on every birthing unit. My new hospital has them and I’m so happy. I use it almost every time I work. Unfortunately, they are it’s not the norm but the trend seems to be moving in that direction. Labor nurses have a lot of tricks up their sleeves and we love anything that keeps our patient out of the operating room. This ball changes the game. If I can stress anything at all, it’s this: BUY A PEANUT BALL
Peanut balls come in a couple of sizes:
45cm – For women who are under 160 cms
50cm – For women who are 160cm – 170cms (most common size)
60cm – For women who are 174cm or taller or plus size women.
PREPARING FOR LABOR WITH A CHIROPRACTOR’S HELP:
Seeing a chiropractor during pregnancy can be extremely beneficial. A chiropractor can get your body properly aligned and naturally induce labor and prepare for labor. More importantly, having your pelvis aligned not only relieves pelvis pain but also leads to a smoother delivery. It’s wise to choose a Chiropractor who specializes in pregnancy. Check out the benefits here!
AS ALWAYS TAKING A CHILDBIRTH CLASS IS THE NUMBER ONE WAY TO PREPAR FOR LABOR!
Finally, Take control and be prepared. Knowledge is power. Also, make sure you know the signs of labor.
MAMA EMPOWERED BIRTH ACADEMY is my online birth course & private community.
I would love to hear the ways you naturally prepare your body for labor and the results you had.
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