Let me start by saying, I am not one of the women who believes in doing everything possible to “get this baby out!” I will not be drinking castor oil, completely overloading my acid-reflux prone body with huge amounts of spicy food, or any other extreme method to force baby out. However, I do believe in preparing the body for birth, in order to have as smooth of a delivery as possible. I’ve done weeks upon weeks of research on what is best and safe to do to get your body ready for labor, and I did many of these same things at the end of my first pregnancy! I truly believe that several of these helped the birthing process, so I am absolutely going to try them again.
- Walking: Walking can help baby ease into the proper head-down position for birth. Also, Braxton-Hicks contractions are commonly brought on by walking, and research shows that these “practice” contractions help your body get ready for the real thing. Obviously, if you’re in pain, then do not continue! And if contractions become fairly regular, you may want to slow down or stop.
- Dates: Starting at about 34 Weeks, eating dates are said to help ripen the cervix in preparation for labor. Apparently, you need to eat roughly 6 dates per day (Medjool dates are larger, so only 3 of these) to really have any effect. Regardless, dates are great for digestion, and that benefit alone is extremely helpful in the last trimester.
- Squats: Same as with walking, this helps baby get into the birthing position. By opening your hips up, you are creating a bit more space for baby to move down if needed. If you haven’t been doing much exercise throughout your pregnancy, be sure to take it very easy with the squats. Just do a few at a time, and make sure to listen to your body if you need to stop.
- Pineapple: Pineapple contains bromelain, which is an enzyme that helps ripen the cervix. According to every source I have come across, you need to eat a ridiculous amount of pineapple to induce labor – but I am not trying to put myself into labor! The goal here is to prepare the body, and bromelain is proven to help soften the cervix, so adding it into your diet can be beneficial. Just remember, you need to go for fresh pineapple to actually obtain any of the effects of bromelain.
- Yoga Ball: Just like with squatting, this opens up the hips and helps both you and baby prepare for birth. It is much more gentle on the body than squats, and can therefore usually be done for longer periods of time. This is especially helpful if your baby is breech, or in a feet down position. The hip-open, bouncing motion can definitely aid in baby turning head-down for his/her entrance into the world.
Make sure to consult your doctor before trying anything that I’ve listed above. Every woman’s body is different, and your healthcare provider knows what is best for you. Good luck and happy labor, Mama!
When you go through deep waters I will be with you. – Isaiah 43:2
With Love, Jeni