My first labour was 65 hours, so I’m doing lots of research on natural labour preparation this time around to make my second labour experience more comfortable. I was doing this research for myself but thought you might be interested in my findings so I decided to share it with you. I hope you find this helpful as you go about your natural labour preparations.
32-week Natural Labour Preparations
We took a hypnobirthing class before the birth of my son and I found some of the techniques and recordings really helpful. At 32-weeks I pulled out my Hypnobirthing book and started reviewing the breathing techniques that are recommended for each stage of labour. I also started listening to the birthing affirmations and the rainbow relaxation before bed. There are a lot of self-hypnosis techniques in the book as well but I didn’t find them as helpful as the breathing techniques and the recordings.
Pelvic Floor Physio
I had so much success with pelvic floor physio postpartum and I highly recommend it. To prepare for my second labour, I made an appointment before giving birth. I did this so I could receive customised exercises, stretches and birthing position recommendations to make birth easier. I didn’t tear with my son so I’m really hoping I don’t tear again! I also started experiencing sharp butt pain around 32-weeks so I wanted to get that cleared up as well.
34-week Natural Labour Preparations
Red Raspberry Leaf Tea
Red raspberry leaf tea is recommended around 34 weeks to tonify and stimulate the uterine muscle. It is high in vitamin A, B, C, E and magnesium, potassium, calcium and phosphorus. These essential nutrients nourish the uterus and the mineral promote relaxation. I drank one cup a day at 34-weeks, 2 cups a day at 36-weeks and increased to 3 cups a day around 37-weeks and for the rest of my pregnancy.
Red raspberry leaves have been used by herbalist for a very long time to prepare pregnant women for labour, however, there are two small studies to support this:
- This study found that a compound called fragarine that is found in red raspberry leaves helps tone and tighten the muscles in the pelvic area. Tones muscles can make labour easier.
- A study at Westmead Hospital found that consuming red raspberry leaf can shorten labour and reduce the need for artificial membrane rupture, the need for a c-section, and the use of forceps or vacuum birth.
36-week Natural Labour Preparations
There is research that shows eating dates during late pregnancy can decrease the length of labour and reduce the need for labour intervention. I dig deeper into this research and link to the studies in my Peanut Butter Brownie recipe. The recommendation is to eat 6 dates (the equivalent of 3 Medjool dates) every day 4 weeks before your delivery date. This is a TON of sugar but I’m going to give it a try while avoiding other sugary foods.
37-week Labour and Delivery Prep
In Ontario under midwife care, you get to leave your place of birth 2-3 hours after delivery. I did this with my son and it was the best thing ever. We went home, ordered pizza (I was ravenous) and gazed at our new baby in wonder all night. The next morning our midwife came over to make sure everyone was OK and did the tests that would usually do in the hospital before sending you home. Since I only plan to be at the birthing center for a few hours after giving birth, I don’t have a very extensive hospital bag.
Here is what I’m going to pack (other than the usual stuff I would have in my purse):
- Phone and charger
- Food and drinks (see below)
- Lavender essential oil
- Rescue remedy
- A cute baby outfit
- Something comfortable to wear home
- Diapers (for me and baby… postpartum is glamourous)
- Coconut oil (for penial massage during labour)
- Warm fuzzy socks
- Heating pad
- Hair elastics
Food to eat during labour
- Coconut water
- Chia ginger lemonade
- Iced red raspberry leaf tea with lemon and maple syrup
- Bone broth
- Apple sauce
- Coconut oil
- Fat Balls
Healthy Holistic Pregnancy
As a holistic nutritionist, I use holistic remedies, herbs, and supplements to cure any issues I have. Superfoods are also common in my kitchen to prevent health issues from coming up. I kept asking my midwife if this supplement or that superfood was safe for pregnancy. She wasn’t able to give me the answers I wanted.
While I was doing all of this research, I realised I probably wasn’t the only holistically-minded person who was asking their midwife or doctor similar questions. I put a lot of time into Healthy Holistic Pregnancy to make sure it is well researched and easy to understand. My goal is to provide you with the information you need to make an informed choice about the holistic practices you apply during your pregnancy.
Healthy Holistic Pregnancy contains:
- Natural solutions to 27 common pregnancy symptoms
- Pregnancy power foods
- Superfoods and supplements you may want to avoid when pregnant
- 15 pregnancy-friendly recipes for the first trimester and beyond
- Key pregnancy nutrients and supplements for each trimester
- Benefits of yoga when pregnant and which poses to modify
- Essential oils safety and DIY skincare recipes
It worked! Well, it is hard to say exactly what worked or if it was just because it is my second birth, but I followed everything I mentioned here and my labour was so much shorter than the first time. I was in labour a total of 8 hours with 2 hours of active labour and 15 minutes of pushing. I’ll share my birth story with you soon!