Towards the end of our pregnancies, we all make sure that we have our baby items ready, have taken our childbirth classes and newborn care class, done the hospital tour, etc. You may even be seeing a chiropractor or acupuncturist to help your body get ready for the big day. (Which I highly recommend!) But did you know that there are some products that you can have at home that can help better prepare your body for labor and birth? Well, there are! Get your body ready for your baby’s big day with these products.
Always consult your physician or midwife before you take any of these suggestions.
10 Products to Prepare Your Body for Labor and Birth
1. Raspberry Leaf Tea
I’m sure you’ve all heard that raspberry leaf tea is good for women to drink during pregnancy. But do you know why? Studies have shown that it can actually help make labor faster with fewer complications and interventions during birth. Pretty amazing!
Another study found that women who regularly consumed raspberry leaf tea were less likely to go past their baby’s due date or give birth prematurely. They were also less likely to need their water broken by medical staff–artificial rupture of membranes (AROM)— or require a cesarean section, forceps, or vacuum delivery. Because of these benefits, I tried my best to drink 1-3 cups a day once I entered my second trimester, which is the standard recommendation. (Consult with your healthcare provider first.)
I have tested several raspberry leaf tea brands, and I highly recommend Earth Mama’s Organic Raspberry Leaf Tea. I really enjoyed the taste of their tea (some other brands I’ve tried aren’t as tasty), and I love that their product is USDA Certified 100% Organic.Buy Here
If you’re still not convinced about giving raspberry leaf tea a try, here are a few other incredible benefits for the expecting and postpartum woman:
- It can potentially help reduce morning sickness1.
- It improves the effectiveness of your contractions2.
- It reduces pain during labor and after birth.
- Because raspberry leaf tea helps strengthen and tone your uterus and pelvic floor, it can cause your labor to be shorter and less painful2.
- It’s beneficial to VBAC moms.
- Women who have previously had C-sections have a higher chance of uterine rupture than women who haven’t. By regularly drinking raspberry leaf tea, women attempting a VBAC can have a stronger uterus2, which can help reduce their chances of uterine rupture and help achieve a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean).
- It has a high mineral count, helping bring in breast milk3.
2. Birth Ball
A birthing ball is essentially an exercise ball that we can use to get our bodies in shape and use during pregnancy, labor, and postpartum. I highly recommend that you get and use a birthing ball during all of these phases. If you’re curious how using a birth ball during pregnancy can be helpful, here are some of the benefits:
- It encourages optimal fetal positioning.
- How does it do this? Well, when you sit on a birthing ball, you aren’t able to slouch, so you have to sit with good, proper posture. Keeping your core engaged and having good posture helps keep your body in alignment, and that encourages4 your baby to be in the best position for labor and birth. When your baby is in a good position, it helps your labor progress faster and allows you to have a less painful5 and more enjoyable birth!
- It opens your pelvis and hips to encourage your baby to drop lower into your pelvis.
- When your baby drops lower in your pelvis, your baby’s head applies pressure on your cervix, which can encourage dilation and effacement.
- Doing figure 8’s and hip circles while sitting on the birth ball can encourage labor to begin on its own.
- Of course, this assumes that the woman is near her due date and both the woman’s body and baby are ready. There is no evidence that this will cause you to go into preterm labor.
If you’re wondering what size birthing ball you should purchase, here is what we recommend:
- 55 cm ball if you’re 5’4″ or shorter
- 65 cm ball if you’re between 5’4″ and 5’10”
- 75 cm ball if you’re 5’10” or taller
3. Peanut Ball
A peanut ball is another great product to use during your third trimester to prepare your body for labor and birth. Like a birthing ball, a peanut ball can help get your baby in a better position for labor, which can help you go into labor sooner and have a faster birth. Sitting on a peanut ball requires getting into a deeper squat than when using a birth ball, which helps open your pelvis even more and apply more direct pressure on your cervix to promote dilation and effacement.Buy Here
One of the most common concerns of pregnant women is the fear of tearing during childbirth. I was one of those women, so I understand. I wanted to do whatever I could to help reduce my chances of tearing. Several of my doula clients have used Epi-nos during their pregnancies to prep their vaginas and perineum for labor and “the ring of fire.” And you know what, most of them didn’t tear at all! The few that did tear only had minor lacerations that didn’t even require stitches. This was enough proof to use the Epi-no during my pregnancy, and I can’t recommend it enough. It helped train my body to stretch, which ultimately helped me not tear when I gave birth to my 8-pounds 6-ounce son. Two thumbs up!Buy Here
If you don’t want to invest in the Epi-no, perineal massage is a good alternative. As stated by the American Pregnancy Association, “Perineal massage during pregnancy involves the gentle, manual stretching of the tissues that shape the birth canal. Researchers have studied the benefits of this ancient practice, and there is now strong scientific evidence indicating that when done regularly in the last 3 to 4 weeks of pregnancy, perineal massage increases your chance of delivering a baby vaginally without damaging your perineum, which results in a decreased chance of tearing and episiotomy.”
Performing perineal massage can be difficult for women to do when they are further along in their pregnancies. This is why it is encouraged that the partner help with this task. When performing the perineal massage, use a good lubricant to help make this uncomfortable stretching of the perineal tissues more comfortable. She will thank you for it!Buy Here
As a birth doula, I have been to some amazing births, but I have to say some of the most incredible births I have ever been to have been Hypnobabies births. Hypnobabies is a complete six-week childbirth education course offered in a classroom setting by certified instructors or a self-study course. They cover all about staying healthy during pregnancy, changes in the body during pregnancy and labor, choices about medical procedures and medications, creating a birth plan, early days with baby, and more. But what sets Hypnobabies apart from any other childbirth method is how it mentally prepares mothers for birth. As a result, women are more in control, more relaxed, and have more enjoyable experiences. I’ve been a witness to it, and it really is incredible.
I must say, taking the course alone will not help you completely. Women who practice daily, listen to their tracks daily, and commit to the Hypnobabies program are much more successful at having a “pain-free” Hypnobabies birth. The Hypnobabies births I have been to look like labors and births that all women hope and dream of. I highly suggest that you look into it!Buy Here
Dates are an invaluable food for pregnant women and women about to give birth. Here’s why:
- Dates contain certain stimulants, which assist in strengthening the muscles of the womb leading to an easier delivery.
- Studies suggest that dates can help ease delivery since they help cervical dilation and reduce6 labor duration and the need for induction and augmentation.
- Dates contain oxytocin. All pre-birth preparations in the body occur thanks to this hormone, and it also initiates the secretion of the mother’s milk.
- Since the sugars in dates are fructose, not glucose, they will provide energy to the weakened body to revitalize it quickly. This is especially helpful to a woman in labor.
- A pregnant woman’s daily vitamin A requirement will increase to 800 ugs, which dates are rich in (beta-carotene).
- Dates contain Folate, which helps in the prevention of dangerous birth defects.
- After delivery, dates are given to prevent postpartum bleeding7.
Not only that, the date is one of the best foods for breastfeeding mothers because it contains elements that enrich the milk with nutrients that make a healthy and disease-resistant baby.Buy Here
8. Gentle Birth
I SWEAR by this. I was only in true labor for four hours before I needed to start pushing. And that was my first birth! But, I am not the only one that feels this way. Many women claim that Gentle Birth helped them have quick and less painful labor. Whether it’s a placebo effect or not, this thing really helped my body open. Gentle Birth claims:
- Less pain during labor and delivery
- Advance dilation before discomfort was felt
- Shorter and easier labor
- Shorter recovery time
- Over 90% of women who tried the Original Gentle Birth Formula recommend it to family and friends!
I only heard great things about it, so I decided to use it myself during my pregnancy. I thought, what could it hurt? And I’m so glad that I did. (Obviously, discuss this with your doctor or midwife before taking it.) If your healthcare provider gives you the green light to use Gentle Birth, you should begin taking it 5 weeks before your estimated due date. It’s a great way to prepare your body for labor and birth.
- Week 1: Take 1/4 teaspoon before morning and evening meals.
- Week 2: Take 1/4 teaspoon 3 times daily before meals. Maintain this dosage until delivery.
9. Evening Primrose Oil
If you are approaching your baby’s due date or have passed it, one option that you may have considered taking is evening primrose oil. Evening primrose oil is an herbal oil derived from primrose plant seeds. Many women have used evening primrose oil for decades to help with cervical dilation to prepare their bodies for labor.
While evening primrose oil doesn’t induce labor per se, when taken orally or vaginally, it is believed to act as a prostaglandin that softens and ripens the cervix8. As the cervix ripens, contractions are triggered, leading to labor or Braxton-Hicks contractions. Additionally, the cervix’s softening may help make labor and delivery quicker and easier.
I know of several women who claim that evening primrose oil helped their bodies go into labor. Some evidence suggests that evening primrose oil’s mild prostaglandin effect will only trigger labor in women who are ready to deliver and cannot trigger premature labor. However, many OB doctors strongly feel there is a risk of premature labor and shouldn’t be encouraged9. This is why you should discuss this with your care provider beforehand. Do not try to induce labor before 40 weeks of pregnancy.Buy Here
10. Pregnancy Books and Birth Affirmations
You need to prepare your body for labor and birth physically, but you also need to prepare mentally. I always say birth happens between your ears, not between your legs. I mean that labor and birth are so much more mental than physical. If you prepare your mind for what’s to come, you can achieve more than you ever thought. If you educate yourself, listen to positive birth stories, and surround yourself with positive birth affirmations, your mind will be ready and excited for your big birthing day!
Are there any other products you recommend to help women prepare their bodies and minds for labor and birth?
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