So I’m in the last month of my pregnancy journey and want to share with you the 5 most important tips that I implemented on my day to day pregnant life for an easier labor and delivery experience.
I received these tips from the midwives, friends which already had a baby and other moms that I religiously follow on social media.
I can’t advice enough to have a prenatal course, with medical personnel that can guide you through this beautiful, yet quite terrifying experience if not well informed and supported.
But enough with the talking and let’s get straight to business:
1. Exercise exercise exercise
Yes ladies, we can’t think of the pregnancy journey as a time off in regards to exercising (no shame if you’ve done that, I did as well), but we have to gently maintain them in our daily routine.
Of course we have to adjust the types of exercises but we must be consistent and implement them right from the beginning alongside with good long daily walks (at least 30 mins/day).
So below you can find my top favorites easy exercises that involve a lot of squats and a gym ball.
- Ballerina plié squats: if you’ve never heard of them, look at the pictures below and you’ll sure learn how to do them instantly. You’d want to do at least 30 squats x 4 series x day.
- Deep hold squats: again look at the pictures below and don’t be afraid if you’re not able to do them from the first attempt but don’t give up, just try to sit allllll the way down 😊(an extra benefit: helps with the constipation issues as well!). You’d want to stay in this position for at least 3-5 minutes a time and continue pushing your knees on the exterior to open the pelvic area.
These are quite easy squat exercise, yet very efficient for working those abs, hips, glutes, core, inner thighs and pelvic floor muscles (you’ll need all of them fully active when the delivery time arrives and you’ll have to push push push!).
The beauty of these squats is that they can be done anywhere and anytime. I’m doing mines while brushing my teeth, cooking or watching youtube.
Enough with the squats, learn to love them and they’ll do only good for you.
Now let’s talk about stretching your muscles. You want your muscles to collaborate with you in the delivery phase so let’s educate them to be flexible.
- Butterfly stretching: this can be very relaxing. Just follow the photo instructions below. Push your knees as close to the ground as possible and lean forward. If you’re not comfortable with the butterfly knees position then open the legs and lean forward anyway.
- Gym or yoga ball fun: yes, you guessed it right, start by opening your beautiful legs and make the movements as shown below, front back, front back. This really helps you connect with your pelvic area.
Another exercise you can make is just drawing 0 movements on the ball, with your booty. Have fun with your ball and bounce on it from time to time, make left to right movements, everything to encourage your connection with your pelvic area.
Extra gymball benefit: it may be helpful also in the first fussy months with your newborn. The bouncing movements will help sooth him especially in the colic phase, by helping to release the extra air from his stomach.
These exercises will also help you to have a good posture and give to your baby as much room as possible in order to avoid breaching positions and to motivate the baby to collaborate during the delivery time.
You can implement all of the above mentioned exercises right from the beginning but you want to make sure that after 25-30 weeks you have established a routine that includes most of them.
2. Healthy diet
Yep, you already may have heard of this topic so I’m not going to stress you more but keep in mind that the food plays an important role on a positive delivery story.
Try to resist to the temptation of eating everything that your body is asking for (been there, done that), by confusing him with regular healthy snacks, like fruits or healthy cookies. In this way your body will not get into hungry mode and exaggerate with his requests for junky food.
We just have to remember the simple guidelines of a healthy diet and make as less exceptions as possible (but please don’t feel bad either for eating that gelato that your baby was asking for 😉).
Track your weight monthly and just be reasonable, in this way you’ll avoid overweight that involves fatigue and you not being able to do the simple and fun exercises we talked about.
3. Perineal massage
This is a controversial topic, try and see if it’s a thing for you but first, educate yourself about the perineum area ( it’s the area of tissue between the opening of the vagina and the anus).
This massage is nothing more than the act of stretching and manipulating the perineal tissue using one or two fingers.
The goal is to prepare these tissues to stretch over your baby’s head and body during vaginal delivery and lower the risk of tearing.
Experts recommend to start this massage after 34 weeks and perform it on a daily basis, 5-10 minutes a sessions.
For this massage you only need your nails cut and a natural organic oil like almond oil, olive oil, coconut oil or also a mix of those.
Step by step guide:
- Wash your hands with a mild soap
- Set yourself up in a private and comfortable place ( I like to do it while standing on the toilet but other mommas perform it while lying on the bed with the legs open and knees bent)
- Start the massage by applying the natural oil on your hands. Place one or both thumbs about 1 to 1 and half inches ( 2-4 cm) inside your vagina
- Start pressing your thumbs along the back wall of your vagina toward your anus (don’t press too hard but enough to feel a stretching and burning sensation)
- Keep the fingers in this stretch position for 1-2 minutes
- Then continue on by moving your thumbs outward and inward in a slow u-shaped motion
By one week into this, you should recognize that the area is more elastic which is a great sign that you’re doing the things right, for more details and pictures of how to, try this source.
4. Raspberry leaf tea
This may be a myth, but I tried it since I heard speaking of it in many different countries. Document yourself and see if it’s for you.
Basically since the 34th week it’s advised to drink this raspberry leaf tea, one cup every other day (in the last week of pregnancy you can drink 1-2 cups daily).
It’s known to help tone and tighten muscles in the pelvic area (yes, you must have read pelvic area for the 10000 times), including the walls of your uterus which can help to make the labor faster and the delivery easier.
If you experience Braxton Hicks contractions during pregnancy or have spotting in the second or third trimesters, you should discontinue the use.
In general it appears to be safe for most but don’t hesitate to ask your doctor’s opinion before starting to make use of it.
5. Positive mindset
I encourage you to always try to have a positive mindset but especially during pregnancy, labor and delivery.
It’s very easy to find negative experiences amongst your friends, relatives or on the internet but keep in mind that every person is unique and you can’t know how your experience will be, so why worry?
If it helps, remember that women are giving birth since thousands of years and they didn’t have all the commodities that we have now but an extraordinary body who is made for this.
Trust your body and your baby that will collaborate well during labor. Your baby is already exercising since months before delivery on how to push in order to get out of the womb.
In fact he will do the hardest part in that moment and will be the most traumatized since everything that he experienced for 9 months will change in just a second.
He will arrive in a brand new environment and will experience the hunger (yes, for the first few days your colostrum – breast milk, will not be enough to keep him satiated but that’s ok), the cold (newborns are very sensitive to cold as they lose heat nearly 4 times faster than an adult), the dry air, also the silence sometimes (in your womb there was always rumors made by your body organs) but most important of all – the separation from his mommy.
Stay positive, collaborate with the contractions and accept them because they’re going to help you bring your baby into this world.
5 tips for easier labor and delivery
1. Do squats, stretching and at least 30 mins walk/day
2. Avoid the cravings by regularly eating healthy snacks and fruits
3. Try the perineal massage
4. Drink raspberry leaf tea
5. Stay positive, you can do this momma!