What are you doing to prepare your body for labor and delivery? - Mothering Forums
May 2011 > What are you doing to prepare your body for labor and delivery?
Blanca78's Avatar Blanca78 10:09 AM 03-23-2011

Hey all, I've been hanging out in the April DDC but thought I'd post here, too, as some of them have already started having babies and I may well end up delivering in May...at any rate:

What are you doing to get your body ready?


Perineal massage?

RRL tea?

Pelvic floor exercises?

Evening Primrose Oil?


If so, what is your regimen? I meant to start perineal massage last week. I got some RRL tea but have slacked off on drinking it. I need to start getting in shape!

samstress's Avatar samstress 10:51 AM 03-23-2011

i too have been meaning to start perineal massage, but haven't.  also have rrl tea in the cupboard, but have yet to drink it.  have been trying to get my daily orgasm, however, which i've been told tones your uterus just as well (and is a lot more fun).


am doing pelvic floor exercises and lots of exercises in general.  also, trying to eat well.


mostly, however, i'm doing lots of relaxation.  feel like i wasn't prepared enough mentally with my first child, so doing more of that this time around.

carrot's Avatar carrot 10:54 AM 03-23-2011

Great topic -- makes me think! Here's what I'm doing:


-- daily stretching and yoga poses from a book I found at the library called "Conscious Birthing"

-- drinking Traditional Medicinals  - Pregnancy Tea and Raspberry Leaf tea, sometimes blended together (supposed to be a uterine tonic)

-- sleeping more during the day, since I can't sleep at night

-- sitting in zazen with DH


We took childbirth class back in February, so I've forgotten most of it. Suppose I should be practicing the positions and breathing we learned ...

ibusymomto5's Avatar ibusymomto5 11:56 AM 03-23-2011
Practicing good posture - spinningbabies.com
Sitting/bouncing on my birth ball
Trying to keep well nourished/hydrated/rested
Drinking RRL & Pregnancy tea
Going for walks a few times a week

These are more for my mind, but I think they're just as important as the above things...
Practicing deep relaxation at random times throughout the day
Reading up on hypnobirthing & bradley methods
Reading positive birth stories

PunkElmo's Avatar PunkElmo 12:47 PM 03-23-2011
  • 30min brisk walking per day
  • swim once a week (1/2 mile+ in laps)
  • RRL tea - loose leaf, 2+ cups per day
  • EPO - 500mg twice a day (dosage will be increasing as I get closer to EDD)
  • posture posture posture!  (spinningbabies.com is great, and my midwife checks that my positions are good and helps me find things that are comfortable AND good for the baby) - considering a fitness ball for my office so I sit in a better position for the baby.
  • DIET - my midwife had me cut out all starches and sugars (except an occasional bit of 85% cocoa dark chocolate), I'm supposed to cut out a lot of fat (which seemed strange, since most of my fat comes from EVOO, flax, avocados, etc), halve my portions of dairy... watch portion sizes.  This is all to make sure the baby doesn't gain too much in these last few weeks.
  • LOTS of reading - I had about 10 books on my list already, and my midwife gave me 3 or 4 more.


My midwife said there's no need for perineal massage unless we want to, and actually recommended against too many kegels.

samstress's Avatar samstress 01:00 PM 03-23-2011


Originally Posted by PunkElmo View Post
...and actually recommended against too many kegels.

do you know why?  just curious.


PunkElmo's Avatar PunkElmo 01:08 PM 03-23-2011

I don't want to grossly misquote my midwife, but the gist of it was that often the kegel exercises are geared towards moving the muscles UPWARD, and for the birthing process that's counter-productive (even though, generally speaking, toning those muscles is a good thing)...


I may not be explaining that well, but what she explained made TOTAL sense when she explained it. 

Blanca78's Avatar Blanca78 01:13 PM 03-23-2011

Daily orgasm! Intriguing! My doula told me that there is not much evidence that perineal massage makes much difference (interesting that your midwife seems to back this up) but the midwife running our childbirth class is pretty insistent on it. I figure it can't hurt, but then again at 35 weeks I have yet to start.


These are all helping me feel motivated. The one thing I just started is listening to pregnancy meditation tracks. THey help me feel more connected and ready. I downloaded an album of them from iTunes.

annaconda's Avatar annaconda 01:54 PM 03-23-2011

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.


MamaChef's Avatar MamaChef 02:10 PM 03-23-2011

-RRL, Alfalfa and Oatstraw tea infusions as much as possible each day.. around 2 qts is the goal.

-1.5 miles on the tread mill broken up in two sessions.  Ill slowly increase this to 3 miles broken up in two sessions now that baby is head down

- Hands and knees and forward inclined postures to help baby into a good position

- Oral EPO - 1300 mg a day

- in a couple weeks Ill start vaginal EPO

- Ill start some additional herbal prep at 37 weeks (cottonroot, partridgeberry, motherswort)

- Pink Kit

- Chiropractic



PunkElmo's Avatar PunkElmo 02:49 PM 03-23-2011

ROTFLMAO.gifI wonder what my midwife would've said if I'd said "keep your damn hands off my ice cream" (nevermind that there wasn't any ice cream in my 3 day food diary)


Grains and Sugars? almost no problem giving those up (except that I'm a girl scout troop leader and we just got our cookies in, my "once-a-year
eat a box or two and then forget they exist"... oh well, they'll be there after the birth too)...

Fats? that's another story (especially since all my fats come from evoo, flax, avocado, whole dairy, meats, etc.)...


I was feeling pretty hungry after my friend picked a Sri Lankan restaurant and Pinkberry (rice, carbs, starch and sugar, not much else!) on Friday, but made up for it Saturday with street-cart kebab and BBQ (DP got my share of cornbread, etc).


Originally Posted by annaconda View Post
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.



Blanca78's Avatar Blanca78 03:25 PM 03-23-2011

Lord, I've had a sweet tooth like crazy this whole pregnancy. Normally I can take or leave sugar--I am a 100% salt girl. It's the one old wives tale that's proven true--sweet tooth means baby girl. It would be hard to give up all those sugary carbs at this late date.


And MMMM Sri Lankan food. A new Hyderabadi restaurant opened near me and I really want to try it...

PunkElmo's Avatar PunkElmo 03:37 PM 03-23-2011

I've craved more sweets (like MILK chocolate instead of my regular SUPER-dark chocolate) and carbs since I've been pregnant than, well, EVER.

we'll have to see if that addage proves true and it's a girl :)

penstamon's Avatar penstamon 04:08 PM 03-23-2011

I can't say I'm really "preparing" per se but I do a lot of the things mentioned during pg anyway.  I have a pg tea mix that I drink most every day and lately have been craving more.  I walk/exercise/do yoga everyday and do a lot of stretching throughout the day because I get so tight.  I find a great way to tone both uterus and pelvic floor is frequent sex- for some reason the urge often hits in the middle of the night.  Otherwise I will take it as it comes because my body knows what its doing.


BTW- I have craved sweets like CRAZY this whole pg, I wonder if this LO is a girl?  I didn't crave them like this with DS and yes, I eat a ton of protein.

carrot's Avatar carrot 04:19 PM 03-23-2011

Just curious, what is EPO?


Also, any recommendations on iTunes downloads for relaxation / mediation?



Neuromancer's Avatar Neuromancer 04:25 PM 03-23-2011

EPO = Evening Primrose Oil.  My midwife said I could start it @ 37 weeks and either take 500mg three times a day and/or put the contents of a capsule in my vagina in contact with my cervix.


Edited to add -- oops!  Sorry for due date club crashing!

KarenMT's Avatar KarenMT 08:00 PM 03-23-2011

This is my 3rd pregnancy and due to my age I would prefer to have baby prior to full 40 weeks.  I was 41 +1 day with DD1 and 39 +6days with DD2.   This said, I wasn't under any pressure with DD2 to be induced.  With this pregnancy, I am 40 and feel like the practice I am with will be pretty difficult if I hit 40 weeks.  All this said I am planning the following:



Prenatal Yoga

Lots of RRL tea and pregnancy tea.  I do a huge mug of the RRL each day and then drink the Traditional Medicinals pregnancy tea at some other point in the day.

Walking- I walk between 2-3 miles every morning with my dogs.  I'd call it a brisk walk punctuated by them trying to sniff every tree and shrub - LOL

Reading/Relaxation- reading Ina May's books


When I get to 38 week I will try the EPO vaginally- never tried this before.  If I reach 39 weeks I have to go for twice weekly NST's so I'll definitely begin to seek out other methods.  I've never been under the gun to go into labor.  As soon as I get some hint of losing my mucus plug I may push DH into DTD.  That seemed to trigger labor with my past two pregnancies so who knows.

dayiscoming2006's Avatar dayiscoming2006 03:28 PM 03-24-2011


(also posted in the April DDC)

Well, I'm 33 and a half weeks and I've started RRL and have been having Yogi pregnancy tea. I do 2 bags in a cup. I've been able to consistently get at least 2 cups a day. I think the mint in the pregnancy tea is what helps the RRL taste a bit better. 


I also take a vit. K supplement and iron supplement.


Trying to remember to take probiotics as well. And I started prenatal pilates finally. 

dayiscoming2006's Avatar dayiscoming2006 03:33 PM 03-24-2011

I craved all kinds of sweets with my last two pregnancies and had boys... so, just thinking that, that probably means very little. Sorry. :)

Tdunahoo's Avatar Tdunahoo 09:22 PM 03-24-2011

I'm lost on the RRL tea, can someone talk about the benefits of drinking it (and how much) starting now in our pregnancies?


Right now I'm working on stretching/exercising daily

CinCanada's Avatar CinCanada 06:35 AM 03-25-2011


Originally Posted by PunkElmo View Post
...and actually recommended against too many kegels. 


Originally Posted by samstress View Post

do you know why?  just curious.


Here's a GREAT site to explain about why kegels aren't necessarily the best thing to be doing:



As well as great ideas of what you SHOULD be doing instead (read down a bit):




Interesting comments about the sugar cravings.  I don't know what I'm having this time around but suspect boy & have been craving sugar like CRAZY.  Unfortunately I think that's more to do with really low iron (& therefor REALLY low energy) that I'm trying to compensate for.


As far as my prep goes I'm:

-increasing probiotics, vit C, echinacea, getting more rest etc before the Group B strep test

-RRL tea

-listening to my hypnobabies tracts more & more to work on relaxation

-attending an Ina May Gaskin lecture tonight for positive birth vibes (soooo excited!!)

-The one thing I want to do more than anything though is more prenatal yoga & the squats & exercises in the links above.  I really feel like my hips/hamstrings are super super tight & that working to make these more pliable will make a big difference to my labour.  I know from yoga that practising daily for a month can make this happen so it's crunch time!!  Now I just have to make time in the day for it where I haven't been before...