The excitement of meeting your baby at the end of the fourth trimester could keep you up all night, in anticipation. But that is not the only thing keeping you up all night. The impending labor and delivery can give you many sleepless nights, wondering how painful or complicated the birth is going to be. However, no amount of stress on the subject is going to make things easy, then these natural tips that will help you prepare for easier labor, delivery and an overall healthy pregnancy.
Maintain a Healthy Diet
Diet plays a vital role in your smooth transition from pregnancy to birth. Consuming the right kind and amount of nutrition according to the needs of both you and the baby is very important. Eat a well-rounded meal with proteins, vegetables, legumes, and avoid junk food, caffeine and other simple forms of sugar. A study published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, suggests that women who ate six dates a day during their final four weeks of pregnancy were more dilated when they got to the hospital, were less likely to need oxytocin (Pitocin) or Prostin to start and progress labor, and had shorter labors overall.
A strong pelvic floor allows women to surpass an uneasy pregnancy and labor. Yoga helps in strengthening and loosening the pelvic floor muscles which are not weak but tight in nature. These muscles help in carrying the baby well without straining the other organs that rest on it. The Gluteus Medius muscle is the core that stabilizes the pelvic region and strengthening it through yoga and Kegel poses will be very beneficial to pregnant women. Talk to your medical care professional and understand what the best-suited yoga routine is according to your body and pregnancy.
As mentioned earlier, tight pelvic floor muscles are a result of shallow breathing. Deep breathing allows the pelvic floor to stretch when you breathe deeply. Hence, they are tight and become rigid in the long run, making labor a difficult process.
According to What To Expect, “Breathing truly is a great childbirth technique. It helps you get through painful contractions. It helps you collect yourself after a contraction. And if you happen to “lose it” during a contraction (hey, the best of us do), it can help you get back in control — soon. Don’t plan on one rigid breathing pattern. Pay attention to how you breathe in daily life. How do you breathe when you’re upset? What calms you down? Practice that calming breath pattern — and practice it with your partner. He or she can help you by breathing along with you when things get tough.”
Over 80% of women experience perineal tearing during vaginal birth. As per a research published in the Oxford Hospital University, ‘massaging your perineum from approximately 34 weeks into your pregnancy reduces the chance that you might damage this area during birth (with a tear or bruising). It is particularly beneficial if you are having your first baby. Antenatal perineal massage can also help with your recovery after birth, particularly if you are having your second or further babies.’
So perineal massage works in increasing the elasticity of your perineum and accelerates blood flow in the region. This enables the perineum to stretch and allow the baby to pass without causing a lot of pain.
Getting Your Baby in the Right Fetal Position
Due to our lifestyles, we end up slouching, sitting for long hours at the office desk, engage in less physical activity. The posture and the dynamics of gravity push the baby to the back of the mother’s body (Spinal Cord), leading to a painful delivery. Such babies take longer to come out and require assistance in the form of vacuum extraction, forceps, and c-sections.
So, in your last trimester, especially post the seventh month try to encourage your baby to get into the right fetal position, also known as the Optimal Fetal Positioning. Go swimming or kneel on the floor over a birthing ball to help your baby get into the position. Follow these techniques under the guidance of an expert or a midwife to help you achieve the best results without harming you or the baby.
Lastly, keep yourself active up until you go into the labor room to make delivery easy. Build up your stamina through your pregnancy with good food, plenty of water and exercise to make it easier to deal with your contractions. Pace yourselves during labor, breathing deeply and resting well instead of hurrying into labor. Keep your partner in the loop of all these methods and techniques to assist you when you are in the labor room. This will allow you to de-stress and focus on birthing with your partner and the medical practitioners doing their best in assisting you through labor.