There are several natural ways you can prepare your body for labour after your healthy pregnancy.
- 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.
- Raspberry Tea Leaf- strengthens the uterus rather than bringing on labour itself
- Nipple stimulation- helps produce the labour hormone oxytocin.
- Speaking to a naturopath
- Learning relaxation techniques or meditation. Breathing can help you relax in labour and the time leading up to the birth.
- Magnesium supplements- helps relax your muscles, increases blood flow
- Pelvic Floor Exercises, they need to be strong to help you in labour as well as recover post baby.
- Vitamin E either tablets or skin creams. Help build elasticity in your skin. Some women have rubbed it into their lady bits (outside) to soften the skin
- 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
- Perineal Massage- this is done by placing a thumb on your perineum and daily massaging the area to stretch it.
- Evening primrose oil- 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.
- Exercise during your pregnancy. 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.
- Self belief is a powerful tool. 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 9 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.
- Support- you need good support around you. 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.
- Maintain a healthy diet. Pack healthy energy snacks to nibble on in labour. Have a diet packed with plenty of raw vegies, wholegrains, and brown rice. 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.
Registered Midwife, Registered Nurse
Ali Pickles, Midwife
Disclaimer: Always speak to your doctor before changing your diet,taking any supplements or undertaking any exercise program in pregnancy. The information on this site is for reference only and is not medical advice and should not be treated as such, and is not intended in any way as a substitute for professional medical advice..
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