While it's true that kegels pull the muscles in and up, the important part of kegel practice for labor is the release.
So Kegels are actually a two part motion... tighten and lift up and in, then release (down and out.)
The secondary benefit to kegels is to create muscle awareness in the pelvic floor.
I am sure it's true that you don't want to create steroid enhanced pelvic floor muscles at this time but I doubt if any of us has the time or energy to over-kegel.
So what I'm saying is... if you focus on the kegel as a means of teaching you how to release (as opposed to thinking that a super rock hard tight pelvic floor is the goal), they can help.
Side note: I want to create a t-shirt that says I'm doing my kegels right now and sell it on one of those joke tee sites and make millions. Hahaha.
Things I'm doing to prepare my body for labor -
-Keeping up my pretty intense yoga practice (less intensely as time marches)
-Swimming 2x a week
-hip circles and bellydance like moves when there is tension
-squats, nice and deep ones at that, I'm able to now hang in a squat for five minutes. However I'm a yoga teacher so I should be pretty good at this :)
-Kegels when I think about them. 10x here and there. Also... give my DH a squeeze when he's um inside me TMI sorry - this is how I got strong pelvic floor muscles to begin with and it's more fun than kegels.
The biggest thing we're doing to jointly prepare for labor is guided relaxation. We're working with the hypnobirthing method but I think a lot of the stuff in the book is crap. I have written some scripts myself and modified some hypnobirthing ones, and my hypno teacher gave me a book Mind over Labor to make some photocopies from. DH is now practicing with me a few times a week to send me down nice and deep into relaxation and he's being a freakin' champ about it.
To bring it back to the muscle relaxation/awareness and kegels... I modified one of the scripts to reference opening around the "gates of life." So starting progressively from the head (eyes, eyebrows, jaw, moving down the body etc...) I felt the scripts didn't have enough about relaxation in the pelvic area, so I added this phrase gates of life opening... with the work I've done with kegels I could LITERALLY create opening down there to the point where I realized I should probably hold off on that practice till 36 weeks. Let me not go to far and say that I think I'm going to dilate myself from 1-10 in like five minutes using the power of my mind or anything (though I'm not ruling it out!)... but just to have a good body-mind connection to the area and a verbal cue coming from someone else that targets that area makes me feel really positive.
I have worked a lot with relaxation (restorative yoga, yoga nidra) in my own practice and with my students and I'm a huge fan. Hypnobirthing is right up my alley. Getting DH to buy in and take part as opposed to me listening to the CDs has brought us way closer together and made us more of a birth team. I'm pretty independent so this has been one of the trickiest parts with the biggest payoff.
I would not however be caught giving up grains or fats right now... That is not my forte. Kegels yes. But keep your damn hands off my ice cream.