Pregnant and want to do all you can to get ready for birth? Use these daily habits to help prepare both physically and mentally for childbirth.
It seems like once the third trimester hits, and especially as your due date gets closer, many pregnant mamas start to wonder what they can do to help prepare their body and mind for birth. As a labor and delivery nurse and the face behind Mommy Labor Nurse, SO many mamas reach out wondering exactly what they can do to prepare for birth.
If you know me, then you know I’m all about childbirth education as the number one way to have a better birth, no matter what kind of birth you’re interested in! But beyond learning as much as you can about birth, there are quite a few daily habits and routines you can put in place to start preparing.
Today I’m so excited to share my top five daily habits to help you prepare for birth. They’re just the kind of action items many mamas are looking to incorporate in their daily routine to intentionally prepare for the big day!
Daily Habits to Prepare Pregnant Women for Childbirth
1. Drink lots of water
It’s SUPER important to stay hydrated during pregnancy, no matter how close or far away birth is. Water is responsible for carrying oxygen and nutrients to our cells, tissues, and organs. Staying hydrated ensures that essential nutrients are being transported to meet the developmental needs of baby as he/she grows!
Drinking water also helps preserve an adequate level of amniotic fluid, and even aids fetal kidney function by facilitating the amount of waste baby’s kidneys filter. And, if water retention has caused you to look more swollen than normal lately, drinking water can help prevent the amount of water you retain throughout the course of your pregnancy.
What’s more, dehydration can cause cramping and is a huge trigger for those pesky Braxton hicks contractions you may be feeling as your pregnancy progresses. The general recommendation is ten 8oz glasses of water per day, but if it’s especially hot, you exercise regularly, or you still feel thirsty, aim higher!
Lastly, water intake and proper hydration becomes especially important at the very end of pregnancy. You want to be properly hydrated at all times so you are ready for labor and delivery. Being well-hydrated will give you more energy and you may even experience a shorter labor! (source)
2. Daily stretching for optimal fetal positioning
Encouraging your baby into the optimal fetal position is an excellent way you can prepare for birth every day.
Ideally, we want our babies to be head down, chin tucked, and most specifically: with their back and bum to mama’s left and feet to the right.
A simple stretching routine that takes between 10-15 minutes is all you need to help get your baby positioned right for birth. During this pregnancy, I have really focused on my daily stretching specific to fetal positioning (in addition to prenatal fitness). I love using the techniques from Spinning Babies! Some of the daily stretches recommended are:
- Sitting with your knees lower than your hips (like on a yoga ball, a stack of pillows, or yoga block)
- Forward-leaning inversions
- Pelvic Tilts (cat/cow stretches)
- Leaning over a yoga ball or chair
- Butterfly stretches
One thing that I think isn’t talked about enough is what a huge MENTAL game birth is. This is especially true for mamas hoping to have a natural birth. Preparing yourself mentally with daily meditation is a powerful daily habit to ready yourself for birth.
Meditating in the evenings to wind down, or early in the morning as a way to center yourself and strengthen your mental focus is a great way to incorporate this into your routine. Meditation becomes a time when your thoughts are intentional with the little baby you’ve been growing and nourishing in your body.
During labor, when the pain becomes intense, you’ll need mental focus and willpower to ride the waves of each contraction and stay strong as your labor progresses.
If you’re not sure where to start, try looking up some guided birth meditations, birth breathing exercise videos, or meditation apps. During this pregnancy, I’ve been using an app called Insight Timer. I’m able to listen to guided meditations before bed that just helps my mental state SO much.
In addition to preparing you mentally for birth, meditation is a great tool for mamas that suffer from pregnancy insomnia!
I know that I talked above about the importance of daily stretching for fetal positioning, but I wanted to include prenatal exercise in general, too. Keeping your body moving is one of the very best things you can do every day for an easier labor and delivery.
Regular exercise during pregnancy is associated with a shorter labor and delivery, fewer instances of epidural use, a decreased risk for prenatal and postpartum depression, and may even lower your risk of some pregnancy complications and birth interventions. In other words, it does ALL GOOD THINGS!
Even if you haven’t been utilizing a prenatal fitness program so far, it’s not too late to incorporate daily movement into your routine. A brisk walk every day is a great place to start. Swimming, gentle prenatal yoga, and light hiking are all activities you can start doing right away.
If you ARE looking for a prenatal fitness program, there are so many great, online options available, even for mamas just starting out.
5. Eat dates and drink red raspberry leaf tea
Yes! These are two additions to your daily diet that can really help you prepare for labor.
This study found that women who ate 6 dates per day for the last month of their pregnancies were more likely to go into labor spontaneously, avoid Pitocin, and have a shorter early labor! To help with your daily date intake, try making date energy balls or adding them to a smoothie.
Red raspberry leaf tea is said to help tone your uterus and make your contractions more effective when you do go into labor. What’s more, by drinking a few cups of red raspberry leaf tea for the last two months of your pregnancy you may be much more likely to go into labor spontaneously and avoid medical induction.
So what are you waiting for? Put red raspberry leaf tea and dates on your shopping list and get snacking ☺
With the daily habits discussed in this article and the right childbirth education I KNOW you are going to be better prepared to rock your birth!
Liesel Teen is a labor and delivery nurse (L&D RN), mama, the face behind the popular pregnancy Instagram page @mommy.labornurse and creator of the online childbirth class, Birth It Up. Birth is something she’s been passionate about for as long as she can remember, and she loves sharing her nursing knowledge to help mamas-to-be learn more about pregnancy and birth. She lives in North Carolina and is expecting her second baby in August 2020.
Ana, a mom to three rambunctious little boys, has supported hundreds of thousands of women throughout their pregnancy and motherhood journey since 2012 as a blogger and maternal health advocate at MommysBundle.com.
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