7 Tips to Prepare Your Body for Labor

7 Tips to Prepare Your Body for Labor

If you’re pregnant, your body is taxed every day as you grow and support a new life. At the end of this process, your body must undergo even more stress as you enter labor and eventually deliver your baby.

You can start preparing for your delivery as soon as you know you’re pregnant. Having and following a plan helps you deal with the physical ordeal of childbirth and prepares you mentally, too.

At Florida Woman Care of Jacksonville, our caring and expert OB/GYNs, Daniel McDyer, MD, FACOG, and Julian Stephen Suhrer, MD, want you to have an easy delivery. Here are seven tips for how to accomplish this.

1. Work out for two

Whether you were active before or not, now’s the time to get your body in shape for labor and delivery. You’re not just losing weight, building muscle, and gaining strength for yourself: You’re doing it for your baby, too.

No matter your fitness level, you can start improving it now so that your body can better withstand the rigors of labor. You don’t have to become a champion rower or bodybuilder. Instead, focus on fun and varied activities that work your muscles and cardiovascular system, such as:

Prenatal yoga is good for making your body as flexible and durable as it needs to be during labor. A good goal is 30 minutes of exercise 5-6 days a week plus another 30 minutes of prenatal yoga once or twice a week. 

2. Eat for 30+ trillion

A human adult female has about 28 trillion cells in her body. A 10-year-old child has about 10 trillion. So that little guy or gal in your body has a bucket load, too.

Ancient bacteria called mitochondria powers all of those cells. And, like all batteries, these mitochondria need fuel to give off the energy that keeps cells thriving and renewing themselves.

So, when you reach for empty calories like French fries or ice cream, remember your and your baby’s cells. Power them up instead with plenty of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Focus your diet on essential macros like protein, healthy fats, and complex carbs, and forget about things that drain, rather than feed, your cells’ batteries.

3. Go to school

A childbirth class can help you and your partner prepare for labor and delivery together. You learn breathing techniques and relaxation strategies, such as those in Lamaze that help everything go more smoothly.

4. Start squatting

Even though women usually deliver babies while lying down in the Western world, that’s not the norm historically. Many cultures, including those in Africa and Asia, rely on gravity’s effects during squatting to facilitate childbirth.

If you haven’t squatted before, start by holding onto a table for support. While standing upright with your hand on the table, bend your knees outward and lower your buttocks. 

Regularly squatting strengthens your legs and core. It’s considered a healthy position for most humans and may make your childbirth easier, too. Even if you’re not ready to give birth while squatting, the position may ease labor pains.

5. Massage your perineum

The perineum is the area that lies between your anus and your vagina, colloquially called the taint. During childbirth, this area gets stretched and may tear.

Massaging the tissues starting at week 35 of your pregnancy may keep them softer, more pliable, and resistant to tears. Take a warm bath before your massage. Then apply a water-soluble lubricant to your perineum and your thumbs. 

Place your thumbs about 1-1.5 inches into your vagina and press toward the rectum and to the sides until you feel a slight burning sensation. Hold for two minutes until it becomes numb. Gently massage the sides of your vagina in a U movement for about three minutes. Relax and repeat. Remember to breathe deeply and calmly throughout.

6. Walk around

Staying upright and changing positions during labor can help you manage pain and allow gravity to exert downward forces on your baby. Get used to staying on your feet, shifting position, and walking so you’re comfortable doing so while in labor.

7. Sleep on your side

The most comfortable position for sleeping while pregnant is on your side. Choose whichever side is most naturally comfortable for you. Side sleep may also be associated with a reduced risk of stillbirth. 

To have the healthiest pregnancy and delivery possible, contact our supportive team in Jacksonville, Florida, today by phone or use the convenient appointment form online.

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