If you are like me, you want to make sure you do everything in your power to have an easy, fast and not too painful birth.
My first birth did not go as planned. We were planning on having a beautiful water birth at home but after 24 hours of labor, I had to be transferred to the hospital.
For this birth I want the best chances for a natural birth and I wanted to share what I am doing with you. Here are the 7 ways you can prepare your body for labor:
1 – Visit a pelvic floor therapist
This is something that is so often overlooked for pregnancy but should be a must for every woman during pregnancy and postpartum.
I used to think that my lower back pain was normal and while it is common, it is not normal! After my first visit to the physical therapist my lower back pain disappeared.
A pelvic floor therapist can help you prepare your body for labor by:
- teaching you exercises that will strengthen and relax your pelvic floor muscles
- helping you practice relaxation techniques
- teaching you how to push during delivery
- teaching you how to do kegel exercises correctly
- relieving your back pain
- relieving pain during sexual intercourse
- preventing or treating urinary incontinence
If you are in the Northern California area, I highly recommend Lady Bits Physical Therapy. Julie has wonderful bed side manner, takes the time to explain the treatment you’ll receive and teaches you all about your pelvic floor.
2 – Get regular chiropractic adjustments
Regularly visiting a chiropractor has also been very helpful with uncomfortable changes during pregnancy, like back, neck, hip and joint pain. It can also help relieve nausea.
Getting regular adjustments to re-align the pelvis and spine are very beneficial to our babies.
An aligned pelvis allows for:
- more room available for baby
- faster and easier labor
- back and hip pain relief
Make sure to find a chiropractor that is certified in the Webster Technique.
3 – Eat more (wholesome foods)
One of the things that I am doing differently this pregnancy is I started eating every couple of hours to make sure I am providing my body with the nutrition it needs.
It wasn’t until I learned about the Brewer Diet that I started paying close attention to how much I was eating. To my surprise, I was not eating enough.
Proper nutrition is important during all three trimesters of pregnancy:
- During the first trimester – proper nutrition can minimize morning sickness, aids blood volume expansion and promotes the building of baby and uterine muscle cells.
- For the second trimester – proper nutrition is “important for optimal placental development”. 
- During the third trimester – proper nutrition is important to do the following:
- Build up fluid reserves for labor
- Ensure the placenta is nourished well enough to keep functioning
- To support baby’s brain development (baby’s brain goes through its most rapid rate of growth in the last 2 months of pregnancy)
Once I started eating more (2600 calories, ~100 grams of protein) I have noticed the following:
- I have more energy
- have better mood
- I no longer experience leg cramps at night
- I no longer have cravings
You should definitely keep track of how much you are eating to make sure you are getting proper nutrition to support your pregnancy.
Labor is like a marathon and we need to make sure we eat like athletes to support our pregnant bodies in preparing for labor.
4 – Take a birthing class
I used to be afraid of the pain until I learned the purpose of the contractions through my birthing class. A birthing class is essential to help you learn about the physiology of birth.
In a birthing class you will learn the following:
- the physiology of birth
- the different stages of birth
- natural coping mechanisms
- birth complications
- can teach your birthing partner how to support you throughout labor
- what to expect for postpartum
- teach you about newborn care and breastfeeding.
There are different types of birthing classes you can take, for example:
- Lamaze Technique
- Lamaze classes approach childbirth as a natural and healthy process.
- Informs moms-to-be about the medicines and medical interventions during labor and delivery but does not support or discourage use of them.
- 12 hours of instruction
- Bradley Method of Partner-Coached Natural Birth
- The Bradley Method prepares mothers for natural childbirth
- Prepares the husband or partner to be the mom’s birth coach
- the course is 12 weeks of instruction, (please check out this great article on why 12 weeks)
- I have taken the Positive Birth Company’s online course and I love it! It is very affordable ($47.45).
- They cover the physiology of birth, stages of labor, relaxation techniques, interventions including inductions and c-sections, benefits of skin-to-skin, delayed cord clamping and much more.
- Their mission is to teach mommas how they can make all births a positive experience.
- The course includes MP3s with guided meditations, positive affirmations and breathing practice.
- I have heard great things about Freya, their contraction timer app. The Freya app will coach you through each contraction with guided relations and positive affirmations.
5 – Get walking
You hear it all the time, giving birth is like a marathon. And it so true! You have to train to build your stamina.
The best and easiest way to train is to keep your body moving by walking.
Walking improves strength and endurance. You can take short walks after your meals (which also improve digestion and ..) or a long walk.
How can walking prepare your body for birth?
- encourages better pelvic flexibility and tones hip muscles
- it is a total body exercise
- walking can help release endorphins
6 – Starts squatting
Squatting will help you strengthen your legs in preparation for labor and can do the following:
- deep squats helps relax the pelvic floor muscles
- squatting stretches the perineum. Trust me you want to do all that you can to protect your perineum!
- Squats have been shown to prevent tearing
7 – Try out Hypnobirthing
Your contractions will be much more effective if you are able to relax throughout them. This takes practice.
Repeatedly listening to hypnobirthing audios and relaxations throughout the pregnancy will help you learn and practice relaxing your body.
Here are some hypnobirthing sources:
To recap, you can start preparing for labor by:
- adding a pelvic floor physical therapist and a chiropractor to your birth team
- making sure you are meeting your body’s and baby’s nutritional needs
- staying active with daily walks and squats
- learning how to relax with hypnobirthing
By adding these things to your birth prep you will feel more confident when it comes time to meet your precious baby.
Let me know in the comments how you prepare for labor. I love to learn about your experience and I read and respond to every comment.
Finally, I would love for you to follow along my journey of becoming a mom of two under two by subscribing to my newsletter.