6 Ways to Prepare Your Body for Labor & Delivery
So you’re pregnant and have rounded the corner into your third trimester. All sorts of thoughts may be circling your mind day and night because you noticed a shift has taken place in your mind and your body. Some of the emotions and feelings that are bubbling up are new excitement, happiness, anticipation, and probably worry, stress, and fear. Even though you are feeling a sense of heightened maternal instincts the thoughts you may be having are wondering about how you and your body will become ready for labor and childbirth.
Here are 6 ways you can help your body prepare for your upcoming childbirth during the third trimester. Medical Disclaimer: I am not a physician. The information you are reading is for informational purposes and does not replace medical advice you may receive from your physician or midwife. Please discuss any information with your healthcare provider.
1. Mental Stamina is Essential. As you go through your third trimester it’s essential to fine tune your mental endurance. Think of it like training for a marathon. In a marathon you have to give yourself many pep talks during the race, especially when you start to fatigue out. The status of your mindset can either propel you forward or make you fizzle and quit. Implementing daily affirmations that resonate with you can help tremendously to get you across the finish line of childbirth. (*if you need help with improving your mental stamina and/or creating affirmations, schedule a Chat with the Doula session)
2. Squats, Side Lunges, and Exercise. By now you are already aware of how important exercise and movement is during your pregnancy. In your third trimester it is highly recommended to keep the movement going (unless contraindicated by your physician). Performing squats and side lunges are valuable ways to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and your lower body. Squats help to reduce low back discomfort, relax your perineal area, and open your pelvis/birth canal while getting your baby in position for delivery. Practicing this now is helpful in mastering technique that is used while in labor and helps develop physical endurance.
3. Raspberry Leaf Tea (@34 weeks). Midwives often suggest pregnant women use raspberry leaf tea to help strengthen the uterus by starting to take it at 34 weeks gestation. The tea can help promote a quicker and healthier labor process by boosting blood flow to the uterus and strengthening uterine muscles and also aiding in a healthier postpartum recovery. Check with your healthcare provider before using.
4. Dates (@35 weeks). Dates are healthy and delicious in general and during the third trimester they have amazing benefits. Dates are a great source of fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals. In preparation for labor, they are known to help promote ripening of the cervix and shortening he first stage of labor. Consuming the recommended 6 dates/day for 4 weeks can also lessen the need for induction.
5. Perineal Massage with Vitamin E (@34 weeks). Perineal massage with vitamin E is a great method to prepare your perineum for childbirth and can also be used as a preventative measure against tears or episiotomy. It helps increase blood flow to the perineal skin while stretching the skin in preparation for delivery. When a midwife attends the birth they may use this technique when the baby’s head is visible.
6. Nipple Stimulation (@38-40 weeks). Nipple stimulation simulates the action of breastfeeding and it releases oxytocin from the brain to help induce labor. This can be done for one hour a day for three days if recommended by your midwife or obstetrician.