Optimizing Your Birth
Rachel Hicks RN
One of the many joys of pregnancy is the preparation for your birth and new baby. With so much information and recommendations available, it can be hard to sift through it all and prioritize what things are going to be most effective to prepare your body and optimize your birth experience. Here, we have gathered the top things that we recommend to our Sacred Roots families to begin practicing at 28 weeks. This is not an exhaustive list.
Chiropractic care: If it is financially feasible for you and your family, initiating chiropractic care at the beginning of your third trimester can help align your pelvis and encourage your baby to be in the optimal position for going into labor. If your baby is not in an ideal position in your pelvis, it can cause labor stalls, slow cervical change, or intense back labor. Chiropractors who are specifically trained in prenatal care can be an essential part of your support team. Establishing care with them prior to labor will make it easier for you to get an appointment with them if your baby is suspected to be in an acynclitic position- meaning that they are in a position that is making it difficult for them to descend and engage with your pelvis.
Starting at 32 weeks, drinking 3-5 cups of red raspberry leaf tea will help to tone the muscles of your uterus.
Date fruits have been shown to decrease the length of labor or the need for medication to
augment or induce labor. Starting at 36 weeks, eat 6 dried dates per day. Dates may
be eaten whole, added to other foods/smoothies, or may be found in Lara bars (1.5 to 2 dates per bar).
Consider hiring a doula. Research shows that doula support during labor decreases the rate of cesarean birth, can shorten the length of labor, and can lead to a more empowering birth experience. If financial feasibility is a concern, reach out to doulas who are just starting out. They are trained in doula care and may be able to offer services at a reduced rate to help build their experience. Many doulas may also offer a sliding scale payment option.
Find a balance between staying moderately active and resting. Daily walking, spinning babies exercises (https://www.spinningbabies.com/pregnancy-birth/daily-activities/) and upright positions help gravity work with you to bring your baby down- but don’t wear yourself out! Take naps when you can and try to get a good night’s sleep every night.
Nourish and hydrate. Eat foods high in nutritional value, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Drink 60-80 oz of water or non-caffeinated drinks a day. This includes your red raspberry leaf tea! Please consider any dietary restrictions you may have, such as a low-carb diet if you have gestational diabetes.
Consume positive birth content. Watch birth videos in a similar location to where you plan to deliver. For example, if you are planning an out-of-hospital birth, look for birth videos in birth centers to familiarize yourself with what that might look like. If you or your partner have not been present for birth before, it can help destigmatize the sights and sounds of birth.
Attend a childbirth education and breastfeeding class. Classes are a great way to educate yourself on normal physiologic birth. It can also be a great way to connect with families who are experiencing similar things as you.
Reduce stressors and practice relaxation. The hormones produced by your body when you are stressed work against the hormones your body needs to produce to go into labor. Try to reduce stressors in your life so that you may be at your best mental health when labor begins. Ask your support system to take on tasks or projects that are on your plate and are causing stress. Breathing exercises, guided meditation, and gentle prenatal yoga can help reduce your stress levels. Practice 10-30 minutes of these activities daily.
At Sacred Roots, we hope that all of our families feel empowered throughout their birth experience. Talk to your midwife if you have any questions or concerns about how to prepare your mind and body for birth.