- Start acupuncture at 35 weeks: For all the “stars to align” and labor to start on its own and go smoothly, your hormones need to be balanced. Beginning acupuncture at week 35 of your pregnancy can be very helpful in helping your baby to get into the right position before labor begins. It can help you relax and tune into your sympathetic nervous system, so you’ll be able to turn inward and relax during contractions in labor and birth. Your cervix needs to ripen before labor can begin and acupuncture can help your body produce the prostaglandins that help your cervix loosen up and get stretchy, so as labor progresses your cervix will open, open, open!
- Eat 6 dates a day in the last 4 weeks of your pregnancy: Though researchers don’t have conclusive evidence as to why this is so, the women who ate dates daily in the last month of pregnancy had less need for both induction of labor, and any need to speed up labor with artificial hormones. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21280989
- Have sex (semen has prostaglandins that help ripen the cervix). Both orgasm and semen on the cervix stimulate the uterus to contract. The prostaglandins in the semen also have an affect of ripening the cervix, or softening it to help it shorten and open (efface and dilate). This makes it easier for labor to begin and progress on its own without help from artificial hormones.
- Take Nature’s Sunshine 5W (get it from a certified herbalist and get instructions on how much to take and when- Keith Smith Herb Shop in Escondido http://www.keithrsmith.com/) In our modern culture, women sit a lot more and exercise a lot less. So 5W is known as a uterine tonic. It helps to encourage the uterus to contract and prep the cervix to open. To avoid the use of needing a uterine tonic, walking 2 hours a day and practicing yoga can help. But when I was pregnant the first time around, the herbalist, mentioned above, told me if I take the herbal combination 5W in the last 5 weeks of my pregnancy, my labor would be 10 hours or less. It was 8 hours! So I am a believer as long as you consult a certified herbalist or midwife first.
- Take Ultimate Vaginal Flora 50 billion probiotic to prevent yeast infections and boost your immunity. My students have also reported that it has cured their heartburn, nausea, and constipation.
- Keep your bag of waters intact. Eat lots of foods with Vit. C , eat 80-100 grams of protein daily, eat dates, take the probiotic to keep your bag of waters intact.
- Walk (or swim) daily. According to spinningbabies.com, both exercises tone the uterus, help position the baby correctly, and physically prepare you for the athletic event of labor.
- Practice yoga 3 times a week. Research shows that practicing yoga in the last 10-12 weeks of your pregnancy both shortens labor and reduces labor pain.
Remember that there is no wrong way to birth your baby. But if your goal is to have a normal, natural healthy, an safe birth the above list of things to do can give you confidence that you did all you could to create the best birth possible for your own baby.
by Liza Janda