Labour can be scary, especially as a first time Mom-to-be. I know I was. I attended classes, read until my brain exploded, and asked so many annoying questions. I’m here to tell you what worked for me (and what didn’t) so you don’t have to go through labour before actually going through labour. I’ve condensed these tips and tricks into a wee checklist for you to download down below to make it nice and easy.
*note: I ain’t no Doctor – this is just worked for me and many other Mamas I know.
What to eat
I started craving dates in my third trimester and didn’t think too much of it and blamed it on my Persian roots. I would end every dinner (and sometimes lunch) with tea and dates and seriously couldn’t help myself. And then I came across this study and was like woah my body is SMART. I’ll give you the non-scientific/laments terms/coles note version of the study to spare you the reading time as to why you need to eat dates when you’re pregnant too!
Eating 6(ish) dates per day in the latter stages of your pregnancy will:
soften your cervix, allowing you to dilate faster
help baby’s amniotic sac will stay intact for longer, minimizing the need for induction and infection
encourage spontaneous labour
control blood pressure and sugar levels
reduce nausea and prevent anemia
Dates also have so many minerals, vitamins, and essential fatty acids to nourish your wee one. Not to mention, they taste amazing. For those of you who don’t have a sweet tooth and prefer savoury, try these wrapped dates instead.
What to Drink
Red Raspberry Leaf Tea (the good shit)
K guys, this stuff works. Like Rihanna weeeeerks. Buy the loose leaf organic stuff rather than the bags though. You can likely purchase it at your local health food store or purchase it online here.
It’s potent though, so drink it when you’re full term and baby is ripe. I drank it for the first time the morning I went into labour (3 weeks early) and though it may have been a coincidence, some of my girlfriends have experienced exactly the same thing. Say whaaa?
Red raspberry leaves are packed with iron, magnesium and B-vitamins which help to:
shorten the length of labour
reduce the number of interventions
strengthen your uterus
reduce pain before, during and after labour
*note that Doctors and midwives agree that you should start drinking this tea after 37 weeks and to have around 3 cups per day.
Staying active was a HUGE part of my easy labour. Perhaps you are familiar with Midwife Guru, Ina May? Well, she suggests that doing at least 300 squats per day throughout your pregnancy will make for an easier labour. Ummmmm, nice idea Ina, but seriously? All the power to you if you can pop out that many squats, but if you’re more like me, then listen up. Barre is KING. The amount of squats, hip openers, and pelvic floor training you do in a one-hour is insane but you don’t even realize it because it’s such a fun workout. These exercises open up your pelvic outlet, allowing more room for baby and will also strengthen and prepare your muscles for childbirth.
Barre exercises can be modified so easily to accommodate pregnant ladies. If you’re in the early stages of pregnancy, I would encourage you to have a little chat with your instructor prior to class so that they can tailor moves to you.
Barre studios are becoming more and more popular, so the chances of you having one around your house are quite good. If not, or if you would rather workout at home, there are plenty of online barre videos you can follow along to (some are even free)!
For all you cardio junkies, keep up the great work! Running, walking, biking, whatever. Just. Keep. Moving. Why? Not only is it great for your and your baby’s heart, it also builds your physical and mental stamina which is key throughout labour. You know when you’re going through a really rigorous workout, say a marathon? Well, if you’ve done one before, you know that getting through it is 80% mental and the rest is physical. This correlation and proving to yourself that you are strong and capable of finishing a long cardio session will pay off big time during labour. When your body thinks you can’t push anymore, you’ll know you’re your mind absolutely can.
I started to going to the chiropractor when I was 34 weeks pregnant because I heard that this clinic that specialized in prenatal care had a guarantee that if you seek treatments, your active labour would be 6 hours or less. I thought why the hell not!? And my labour turned out to be just under 3.5 hours soooo… I’m a huge advocate now.
You can feel your body changing every day right? Your baby is growing so quickly inside of you, it’s hard not to. Fast changes can sometimes bring on discomfort though and that’s where Chiro comes into play. Going for frequent visits to the Chiropractor while pregnant helps your body adapt to those rapid changes. You know how your center of gravity gets totally outta whack because you have a bowling ball in front of you? Without any treatment, most women suffer from back pain (I did before going) and ligament pains too. Heading for weekly treatments will help realign you, improve your posture, and pretty much alleviate any other discomforts. Just be sure that your chiropractor is well versed and practiced with prenatal treatments.
The long and the short of it, but mostly the short of it
These are simple (and mainly delicious) things to incorporate into your pregnancy. Download your free checklist below to get started!
Let’s summarize shall we?
aim to eat 6 dates per day in your last trimester
stay active with cardio and barre (or a similar toning exercise)
drink loose red raspberry leaf tea after 37 weeks
get regular treatments at the chiropractor
Most importantly, take care of yourself and listen to your body. This is such a special time, so be sure to enjoy it.
Love, peace & babies