This third pregnancy has really flown by.
It seems like just yesterday that I was sharing my announcement photoshoot. At 38 weeks along, however, I am considered full-term which means the baby should do just fine if she chose to arrive… this week. I am slowing down, my body is feeling very stretched, and the simplest tasks such as making our bed or tying shoes just aren’t that practical. What were once simple, easy daily chores now require a strategic approach.
Of course the main point in my mind is preparation for the big day – there are little bitty clothes to pack, mama-support stuff, d-day snacks… and I will write another post about this. Most important in my mind, however, is focusing on having a great labor. Because labor I shall, and I am determined to make it as short and successful as possible, especially as I plan to have a natural birth, as I did with my previous two.
Let’s discuss the regimen that I’ve been on for the past several weeks, and will continue until the big day:
Here are a few things that my midwife has encouraged and that I’m doing or taking daily to prepare for the big day.
Red Raspberry Leaf Tea
Starting around 34 weeks I made sure to begin drinking a least 2-3 cups of this tea (hot or cold). It is known to tonify the uterus, encouraging efficient contractions, and help decrease the chances of hemorrhage after birth.
Yes, I’ve been trying to go on as many dates with Hubby as possible before our lives changes forever, again because the newborn stage is as brutal as it is precious. Well, that’s been my wishful thinking. Finding a babysitter has been tough so we’ve resorted to dates-in: putting the kids to bed early and cooking up a special dinner for just the two of us followed by a good cuddle session while we watch something we both enjoy. But I digress.
Although it is very important to connect and take advantage of this time to squeeze in some quality time with your spouse, by dates, I meant the fruit.
Starting at around 36 weeks, consuming 6-7 dates a day has proven to shorten the first stage of active labor. Crazy awesome, right? “Dates boost the oxytocin effect (contraction of the womb), which increases the sensitivity of the uterus. The saturated and unsaturated fatty acids in the fruit supply energy and produce prostaglandins required for labor (4). Also, the serotonin, calcium, and tannin present in dates help in the contraction of uterine muscles (5).” Read more about the benefits here.
I’d wish I’d known about almond milk with my previous pregnancies as I have suffered from heartburn during all three pregnancies. Almond milk is a healthy and hydrating way to help ease heartburn as it’s alkaline so it helps neutralize acidic foods. I was pleasantly surprised that it really works, as a bonus it tastes way better than Tums in my opinion.
Prenatal Vitamins & Probiotics
Taking prenatal vitamins helps ensure that both baby and me are getting at least those vitamins essential for this time of growth. I have a really hard time downing giant pills, and those with added iron bring on nausea. That didn’t work for me. I found that munching on gummy vitamins were easier on my tummy – these Smarty Pants Prenatal Vitamins don’t contain iron. Probiotics are also a supplement that is good for everyone at every stage, however, I started taking them regularly while pregnant to reduce my chances of testing GBS positive and they have also kept me very regular- I haven’t had an issue at all with constipation. However, it’s important to note that before supplements, I make it most important to ensure I have nutritious and balanced meals and snacks.
This is a no-brainer but I’ll state it anyways – I personally have a hard time making sure I drink enough everyday. At my 36 weeks appointment, my midwife suggested I drink about 100 ounces per day going forward. Making sure I’m hydrated through the weeks leading up to the due date is not only good for me and baby, but will also help me not feel dehydrated when I go into labor. It also helps decrease the amount of Braxton Hicks. Yay! My Hydroflask with straw lid has really helped me stay on top of keeping hydrated.
Another no-brainer, but tone, tone, tone!!! The stronger those muscles are down there, the more efficiently you can push and also recover. At minimum I’ve been making sure I get in at least a set of 10 squeezes per day.
Exercise/ Relaxation & Breathing Practices
At this stage, I can’t do anything hardcore so I’ve been trying to fit in about 20 minutes of prenatal yoga/stretches following along videos on Youtube. Plus this “nesting bug” has gotten me some cardio, and it goes without saying that my two toddlers keep me on my feet. With my previous pregnancies I had the luxury of having a beautiful boardwalk by the shore which I would walk almost daily and towards the end, the full 2 miles. I don’t have that right now, so we try to take advantage of the weekends to get me out and walking. 🙂
As for relaxation and breathing exercises, I’ve been using the free mp3 from Hypnobabies since that’s what I listened to my last pregnancy. Listening to it again this time around almost instantaneously brought me to a familiar place. Although I looked into Hypnobabies’ full program and decided it wasn’t a perfect fit for me, the soothing music and relaxation suggestions have given me insight and the tools to help my body to release and relax when the contractions hit (which is the opposite of my natural gut reaction to pain). The Birth Partner and Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth were also my go-to last time around and although I haven’t had much time to give them a re-read, a few pages here and there have been helpful. Check out your local library for them!
You can find all these items on my Amazon List.
Disclaimer: Some of the links I’ve shared are affiliate links and if you make a purchase through them I may receive some small compensation; however, all the vetting and opinions are wholly my own.