Labor can be a scary thing when you aren’t prepared. Follow these 11 steps to naturally prepare your body for birth and prepare your baby for life on the outside.
You get that plus sign on the stick and then what? If you’re anything like me you start joining pregnancy forums, download the What to Expect app, and then start googling what kind of birth you want. When I was pregnant with my first I had two naturopathic doctors who also happened to be midwives. I never in my wildest dreams imagined I would be going to a naturopath doctor but here I was, super happy with our decision, comfortable with our midwives, and I hung on their every word at our doctor appointments.
Throughout the pregnancy I learned so many ways to treat my body naturally (like when I started showing early signs of having cholestasis of pregnancy) or how to prepare my body for birth.
If you follow me on Instagram then you know that we welcomed a sweet little boy into our extended family a few weeks ago. It was fun to chat with my sister about all the things I learned throughout preparing for birth and what her midwife told her on how to prepare your body for labor. I often times found myself searching through the pregnancy journal I kept with Clara to remember what supplements or natural remedies I did during the pregnancy.
Seeing as how Clara’s birth went better than anyone could ever imagine and she came fast and furiously, I want to make sure I do everything the same again the next time around.
So, here are 11 natural ways to prepare your body for birth broken down by trimester.
*All of these recommendations are based on personal experience and you should always consult your doctor before trying anything new.
This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. For more information, see my disclosure here.
In the first trimester start eating your omega-3s throughout your diet. These fatty acids are great for your baby’s neurological and visual development. Make sure you eat no more than 12oz of omega-3s per week and it’s better to eat it naturally in your diet rather than just a supplement. Be sure you limit fish that is high in mercury. You can see a complete list of mercury levels in fish from the American Pregnancy Association.
Throughout your pregnancy you should remain active and exercise as you are able. At the minimum, take a few long walks a week to stay active. As you get further along in your pregnancy these long walks help get your baby in the correct position for labor and the pressure encourages dilation.
Starting in the second trimester it’s good to eat more green and orange fruits and veggies. These foods help your skin get more stretchy and elastic to prepare for birth. These can help reduce the likelihood of tearing and in the third trimester you should be eating lots of orange foods. Smoothies are a great way to go if you find yourself having a tough time getting in enough.
Along with your long walks, you also want to start doing squats and side lunges. The best way to do lunges is with one foot on a chair or couch. The pressure on your pelvis helps move the baby down and also it helps increase your flexibility in your pelvis for a better birth.
Once the third trimester starts, begin eating 6 dates every day. Dates are proven to help with dilation and your labor is typically shorter than the average labor. This is a surprising study on the effects of dates.
Around 30 weeks, start taking 1 tablespoon of cod liver oil a day. Towards the end of pregnancy your baby is growing working on just gaining weight and growing their brain. The cod liver oil helps with their neurological development. Here is a great article on more information about the importance of fish oil. Make sure you don’t get more than 30,000 IU of Vitamin A per day and the liquid form is a much better deal than buying capsules.
Around 34 weeks, start taking 7 drops of raspberry young shoot in warm water 2 times a day. This is the exact stuff I used as prescribed by my midwife. Raspberry young shoots is said to help soften the cervix and I like to think it really helped seeing as I was at 10 cm by the time we got to the birth center.
Evening primrose oil (epo) is your other best friend for the end of pregnancy. This stuff is said to work wonders on naturally preparing your body for birth! At 35 weeks it’s safe to start taking 1-3 EPO a day. Around 37 weeks, continue taking 1-3 orally but then also insert one vaginally before bed. The best way to do this is to take a sterilized safety pin and gently poke a hole in the end of the pill before inserting it. If you forget to poke a hole then it won’t do anything over night except fall out when you stand up.
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At 38 weeks, you should start inserting 2 pills vaginally to help with cervix ripening. If you continue to take it orally, the EPO helps soften other tissues as well.
At 37 weeks, my sister’s midwife suggested she start applying coconut oil all up in there and stretch the vaginal opening side to side. This is supposed to drastically help your amount of tearing. I wish I would have done this! Since Clara came so fast, I had a third degree tear and I had a tough, long recovery after birth.
And two last bonus tips I suggest every pregnant person should do towards the end of their pregnancy? Whenever it’s possible I highly suggest:
- Bounce on a fitness ball. And no you can’t be too vigorous bouncing. I asked my midwife if I could bounce too much or too hard, but they assured me baby’s brain was safe and happy inside me. With your hips apart as you sit on the ball and the pressure downwards, the bouncing helps move baby into the right position and encourages dilation.
- The other important thing to do throughout the third trimester is walk with one foot on the curb and one foot on the ground. This off balance pressure helps get baby into the perfect position and helps you dilate.
And that’s it — 11 natural ways to prepare your body for birth! I found it so helpful to have it laid out in one place rather than through different texts and emails and memories. I’m convinced that by doing these things, when it comes time to have baby it will all pay off and you should have a smoother and quicker delivery.
If you found this helpful, I’d love for you to share it with all your pregnant friends.