I am 38 weeks pregnant with my first baby boy and ready to give birth and meet him!
In this post, I share a few things I have been doing to prepare for labour and birth.
You might already be familiar with the following tips if you are at the end of your pregnancy. If you have recently discovered you are expecting a baby: congratulations! You are in for a ride – I am sure you will find this blog post helpful!
- The first thing I want to tell you about, which I believe is very overlooked, is being active. Pregnancy does not make working out easy, but trust me when I say this is helpful! Not to mention there are hundreds of different ways to move our bodies. I chose to swim once or twice a week in my local swimming pool. I have been loving it! Firstly, swimming keeps my backache under control. Secondly, it makes me sleep great at night since I come home with zero energy. And finally, it has proven to be beneficial for my mental health. When in the water, I leave my worries and concerns outside and be present and focused on the present moment. Years ago, before I got pregnant, I heard a quote about giving birth that stuck with me: “Giving birth without being active during the previous months is like going to a marathon without having done any training.” Whether true or not, I decided to go with my gut and try to be active as much as possible.
- The second suggestion I have for you is to use a pregnancy ball. I am intentional and minimal with my purchases and did not plan to get one. I changed my mind on this as, in my third trimester, sitting on a regular chair became very uncomfortable. Oh boy, I am glad I did! Apart from sitting down, the pregnancy ball can be used for different exercises (click here for some examples). I love it so much that I work on it, eat on it, watch tv or read on it. It has been a lifesaver. Apart from making sitting down comfortable, the main benefit of sitting on the pregnancy ball is that it helps keep your hips and pelvis flexible, which is what we want in preparation for birth. The pregnancy ball can also be used during labour to cope with contractions.
Some people are uninterested and sceptical about positive affirmations, while others swear by them. Well, the latter is my case! I recite positive affirmations for anything – in my experience, they truly work! I use a set of 28 cards (which I designed myself), each having a different affirmation that I read out loud, alone or with my husband, about once or twice a day. I created a ritual where I read the cards while bouncing on my pregnancy ball, burning sage and using essential oils to get relaxed. I plan to use the positive birth affirmations during labour and birth as well, for as long as I can.
Drinking raspberry leaf tea. Be careful: it should be drunk no sooner than 37 weeks of pregnancy. Many women swear by it, claiming they give birth in a couple of hours thanks to the raspberry leaf tea, while some others have drunk it religiously, and it made no difference to them. Personally, I drink two to four cups a day. I like the taste, and since it is a chill summer here in London, I enjoy sipping a warm beverage throughout my day. It does not hurt.
- Pelvic floor exercises. There is one thing that my midwife has religiously repeated at every single appointment I attended, since the very first one at 12 weeks: do your pelvic floor exercises! Truth be told, I have not done them during my first trimester. I did them during the second. And I am religiously doing them now that I am in my third! I use an app called Squeezy that, not only sends me notifications three times a day reminding me to do the exercises but also tells me what to do, how and for how long. It takes a total of 10 minutes a day for the three sessions. They take little effort and can be done everywhere, sitting or standing. The main goal of pelvic floor exercises is to strengthen the muscles down there to help with pain during birth and postpartum.
The last item on this list is performing the perineal massage. Despite being called a massage, it is not relaxing or fun. Actually, it takes work and effort! The main benefit of performing the perineal massage is to soften and stretch the perineum in preparation for birth, hoping to prevent or minimise tearing. It has also been shown to reduce pain in the perineum after birth. There are several resources on how to do it correctly and how often. You can do it by yourself or with the help of your partner. My husband usually does it for me, and I am glad since the first time it was uncomfortable and painful. In my case, it stopped being uncomfortable after the first two times. I learnt to relax and breathe through the massage. I also liked that I got to know your body more and am more prepared for the feeling of pressure and stretching that I will feel when the head of the baby is crowning.
These are the six things I do daily to prepare for labour and birth.
Watch the video below to discover more!
If you have any questions, leave them in the comments below and, most importantly, speak to your midwife, doctor or whoever is following you on this exceptional journey!
I hope you enjoyed this blog post, and do not forget to let me know your comments below!
Have a lovely rest of your day,