After almost nine months of growing that precious little human inside your body, you’re coming up to the final stages of pregnancy before you get to meet your baby. There are lots of old wives tales about how to induce labour, but whether it happens naturally or not, it’s important to make sure you body is prepared.
There are several natural ways you can prepare your body for labour after pregnancy. Here, registered midwife Ali Pickles explains.
16 safe ways to prepare your body for labour
1. Sexy times
Sex is the first one unless your doctor or midwife has told you not to. Prostaglandins in semen help soften the cervix but you need lots of sex for it to help you go into labour.
2. Raspberry leaf tea
This strengthens the uterus rather than bringing on labour itself.
3. Nipple stimulation
This helps produce the labour hormone oxytocin.
4. Go natural
Speaking to a naturopath may provide you with some helpful options.
5. Calm yourself
Learning relaxation techniques or meditation. Breathing can help you relax in labour and the time leading up to the birth.
6. Take magnesium supplements
These helps relax your muscles and increase blood flow. Here’s why new mums need magnesium in their diet.
7. Pelvic floor exercises
Pelvic floor exercises are so important. They need to be strong to help you in labour as well as recover post baby.
8. Up your vitamin E
Increase your vitamin E with either tablets or skin creams as it helps to build elasticity in your skin. Some women have rubbed it into their lady bits (outside) to soften the skin.
9. Be aware of tears
Using a product such as EpiNo to stretch the perineum. Research is 50/50 on whether it works but it is said to help reduce tearing. More about preventing tears HERE.
10. Perineal massage
This is done by placing a thumb on your perineum and daily massaging the area to stretch it.
11. Evening primrose oil
This is also said to soften the cervix. 3000mg per day is the recommended dose, two tablets orally and one tablet vaginally. Wear a liner in your underwear as it can be messy. The internal tablet should only be taken in late pregnancy and this should be 1000mg or less per day.
Labour is like running a marathon; the fitter you are the better you will cope and recover physically. 30 minutes of daily movement is a good way to prepare. It does not have to be intense but enough to raise your heart rate. Prenatal yoga and Pilates can help increase flexibility for labour also. Walking is also good as it is allowing gravity to help encourage your baby into and down the birth canal. In early labour try and stay up right.
13. Self belief!
If you talk yourself into negative thoughts then you are not helping yourself. Many women have given birth and you can too. Don’t go by your mother or sister’s birth stories. Everybody’s journey is different. Believe in yourself and what your body can do. It has grown a baby for nine months, which is a miracle in itself. Labour also produces endorphins or happy hormones. Then can help with the pain threshold. Women can withstand pain better than they think even if you think you are someone that cannot tolerate pain. If you decide during labour you want pain relief do NOT think you have failed.
14. Get the support you need
If your partner isn’t as supportive as you wish for his own personal reasons (doesn’t like blood/ hospitals etc.) think about having another person to labour with you and support you. Mum, sister, friend, Doula.
15. Maintain a healthy diet
Pack healthy energy snacks to nibble on in labour. Have a diet packed with plenty of raw veggies, wholegrains, and brown rice and drink plenty of water!
As well as being upright get plenty of rest. If you’re up at night with leg cramps, hunger pains etc. make sure you nap during the day but not too much that it affects your night sleep.
Read our tips for what to expect when you go into labour.
The Healthy Mummy Pregnancy Pack
Did you know the Healthy Mummy has a Pregnancy Pack?
The Pregnancy Smoothie is designed to complement, not replace, your prenatal vitamin intake.
Our nutritionists ensured that the vitamins and minerals in the smoothie are at a low level so there is no risk of doubling up on any pregnancy vitamins.
It is ideal as a high-protein, high-calcium snack in pregnancy. You can download the Pregnancy Smoothie Label here.