Pregnancy can be a beautiful experience. There’s the amazing experience of first kicks, your growing bump, shopping and preparing all the cute baby items (checkout my non-toxic baby registry), and, of course, meeting baby! However, some women experience anxiety when nearing labor.
It’s no surprise many women experience anxiety about labor when we commonly hear and see horror stories about birth in the media and from others. However, many women still have easy and uncomplicated births and you can too! Whatever your desired birth, natural homebirth or uncomplicated and gentle hospital birth, it is important to prepare your body. There are many natural and easy methods to prepare your body for birth!
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What to Put in Your Body
Proper nutrition throughout your pregnancy is the best thing you can do to keep your baby and body healthy and ready for labor. A good balance of of vitamins and minerals allows the uterus to contract effectively and prevent difficulties during labor such as hemorrhage. Easily absorbed prenatal vitamins and a balanced diet will help ensure your baby and body are healthy and ready for labor.
Dates are a delicious and nutritious treat that can benefit you greatly in preparation for labor and postpartum. Dates can provide you with antioxidants, high levels of magnesium (which can also lower blood pressure), and choline, a key vitamin B. They’re also a great source of iron, calcium, copper, manganese, and fiber! Not only will dates give you a great nutritional boost, research has found they can lower your need for induction, lower need for interventions, and lower risk of complications.
Women who ate six dates a day from 36 weeks until birthing dilated more quickly, had intact membranes (water hadn’t broken) more often, and needed induction far less frequently (96% went into labor spontaneously) compared to the control group which ate no dates.https://www.naturalbirthandbabycare.com/how-to-prevent-postpartum-hemorrhage/
Research showed that women who were given dates to eat experienced significantly less postpartum bleeding over women who received a Pitocin injection.https://www.naturalbirthandbabycare.com/how-to-prevent-postpartum-hemorrhage/
If you’re not a big fan of dates, but want the awesome benefits for labor, you can try this tasty organic date syrup. We use it for baking or topping waffles as a great low glycemic alternative!
Nettle Leaf Tea
Nettle leaf tea is amazing for the last few weeks of pregnancy. It’s important to not use nettle tea before 35 weeks because there’s not enough research to decipher if it may cause preterm birth since it encourages the uterus to tone and contract. However, consuming Nettle Tea during the end of pregnancy may decrease risk of complications and increase chances of a shorter and easier labor.
Nettle leaf tea is also beneficial in preventing hemorrhage due to it’s high iron and vitamin K content.
Nettle is a superb source of vitamin K, and increases available hemoglobin, both of which decrease the likelihood of hemorrhage.https://www.nightingalebirth.com/nestingblog//pregnancy-teas-nourishing-and-full-of-nutrients
Nettle tea is also helpful because the high calcium content helps the uterus to contract effectively.
The high calcium content, which is readily assimilated, helps diminish muscle pains in the uterus, in the legs and elsewhere.https://www.nightingalebirth.com/nestingblog//pregnancy-teas-nourishing-and-full-of-nutrients
Red Raspberry Leaf Tea
Red raspberry leaf tea, probably the most well known herb used for pregnancy, is a great tool to prepare your body for labor. Similarly to Nettle Tea, it is recommended to only use this tea after 35-37 weeks because it’s ability to tone and contract the uterus, possibly increasing risk of preterm labor. Red Raspberry Leaf Tea is a delicious and easy way to tone your uterus in preparation for an easier labor.
The fragarine compound found in red raspberry leaves is known to help tone and tighten muscles in the pelvic area, including the walls of your uterus, which can help make delivery easier.https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/red-raspberry-leaf-tea#pregnancy
Not only will it likely make labor quicker and easier, it will also decrease your risk for intervention.
Women who drank red raspberry leaf tea later in pregnancy had reduced use of forceps and other interventions, as well as a reduction in the likelihood of pre- and post-term laborhttps://www.healthline.com/nutrition/red-raspberry-leaf-tea#pregnancy
What to do With Your Body
An exercise or birth ball is really helpful in preparing your body for labor. Using a yoga or exercise ball during pregnancy can help strengthen the back and abs, open up the pelvis, and increase your chances of a shorter and easier labor.
Sitting on the ball in an upright position can also encourage the opening of your pelvic muscles, allowing room for the baby to descend into the pelvis in preparation for birth.https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/what-is-a-birthing-ball-and-should-i-use-one#benefits
Find great exercises for kick starting labor on a birth ball here.
Exercising regularly during pregnancy may shorten the duration of your labor as well as decrease your risk of needing a c-section. (See why to avoid a C-section here).
The American College of Nurse Midwives, The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the Society for Maternal and Fetal Medicine all endorse exercise during pregnancy.https://www.gwdocs.com/specialties/midwifery-services/nutrition-exercise-guidelines/
Let me know if you find these tips helpful! Was there something you did previously that helped prepare your body for labor?
You may also like: Preparing For A Home Birth and Natural Home Birth Plan