I thought I’d share a few of the things I have done during my pregnancies to help prepare for birth, in hopes it may be helpful to others. 🙂
All through pregnancy:
Walked as close to daily as possible
Read up on how birth works, including some positive birth stories
Went to the chiropractor!! (Webster method certified; ask them to work on your ligaments as well as your pelvis/low back to make sure your uterus is positioned optimally to help with baby’s position. I try to go minimum once a month, but I prefer every 2 weeks/whenever I am uncomfortable.)
500-1000mg of vitamin C daily (to strengthen the bag so your water is less likely to break before labor)
Lots of protein (I aim for 70-100 grams from 20 weeks on), leafy greens 5-7 times per week, orange/yellow veggies, mineral rich foods, good fats, etc
The last 4-6 weeks
Process fears and other strong emotions in whatever way works best for you… journaling helps me the most. (This is important as those fears and such can hinder labor, even if they aren’t about the birth specifically.)
Dates daily for the last several weeks (I did Larabars… the dates have been shown to help prepare the cervix)
Olive oil on perineum, to possibly reduce tearing
Squats (half squats are fine too, the main point is strengthening the pelvic floor.) A caution here: don’t go too crazy with pelvic floor exercise as it can actually really slow things down if it’s too strong. Practice relaxing the perineum.
I stretched at least once a day… I picked an “anchor” (with Caleb I stretched while I was in Noah’s room waiting to make sure he was asleep) so that it happened daily. Tailor sit, bend one leg and keep the other one out straight and reach out to it, then do it with the other leg… get on all fours and arch your low back up and down… the main point is that your low back and pelvis are as flexible as possible, so whatever stretches are comfortable and target those areas are good.
I slept! Get as much rest as possible the last weeks especially. You never know when you’ll go into labor and the more rested you are, the better it’ll go.
Practiced relaxing daily… I found the app Expectful really helpful for guided pregnancy meditations. It is pricey though so you may want to find another option… there are other apps and things online.
Read lots of birth affirmations; find your favorites; write them down and read often
Third trimester/red raspberry tea, to nourish and tone the uterus
I took warm (not hot) baths… for relaxing and focusing on baby. This also can help slow labor to help you get rest if needed… I used baths for that with Noah and Caleb.
I tried to spend time daily connecting with my babies–thinking about meeting them, thinking about the cute noises and faces and smells, talking to them, etc. It helps both of you!
It’s also a good idea to refresh on the stages of labor and the signs for each stage right towards the end–I found it helpful, especially in Caleb’s birth, because knowing the signs of which stage I was in, particularly transition, made it so I was able to better work with my body.
If you’re planning a hospital birth (and even if not–transfers happen!), make sure you, your spouse, and anyone else you’ll have knows exactly what you do and don’t want. If they’re pushing something you don’t want, the questions to ask are “is baby okay?” “Is mom okay?” If yes to both, then “why this needed?” You can always refuse. You can ask for a different nurse. You’re in charge. Remember that!
That’s all I can think of at the moment… let me know if you have questions or things to add to the list! 😊