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12 Ways to Prepare for Labor and Delivery

I’m a planner. And I'm a doula. I've got opinions!
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I like to prep for things. Being pregnant and having no idea when this baby is coming makes me crazy and has made me crazy every.single.time. This time I’m really trying to roll with things and just prepare for whatever happens. I thought I would share a few of the ways I’m preparing for labor. I do like to have my babies un-medicated BUT I firmly believe that anything on this list would benefit every mama for every labor and delivery and just because I like doing things one way doesn’t always mean that’s what will happen! Hopefully, all of this prep will help that.

1. Meditation

Meditating is so beneficial during pregnancy. It forces me to take a quiet moment and just let my mind rest. It’s also training my mind to be quiet and focus-things that will help me during labor. I’m absolutely in love with expectful, but I also just love listening to the sound of the ocean. The waves rolling in and out remind me of labor’s waves of contractions and how they also roll in and out. Meditating benefits you beyond labor as well and is a life skill I can’t live without!

2. Writing my Birth Plan (Wish List)

I didn’t get super specific with my birth plan this time around. Instead, underneath the words “birth plan” I have the phrase “Mom, Dad + Baby are one unit, please keep them that way” because that’s really what’s most important to me. I listed my favorite comfort measures, who’s attending and really that’s it. I know what procedures I’m ok with and what I’m not…but all of that can change in an instant depending on the situation and thankfully I know enough to answer those questions in the moment.

3. Birth Affirmations

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Today I created my birth affirmations. Birth Affirmations are words of encouragement to hang in your birthing space before, during, and even after the birth. Personally, I need mine up now. This last bit of pregnancy is killing me and I need to be told now as much as later that I can do hard things. If you click over to view them there’s a link to print the full-res ones (for free!).

4. Rest

Rest has become a very important part of my pregnancy. Accepting that rest is a good and necessary thing has been difficult for me and will be a valuable asset when I’m in labor. It’s ok to rest. When I posed the question to Instagram asking about how women had prepared, rest was one of the most mentioned things!

5. Labor Prep Tea/Good Nutrition

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Several friends also recommended a 5-week formula or nutritional supplement to prepare for labor. I second that recommendation. I’ve loved this labor prep tea by pink stork and I’m a huge advocate for straight Red Raspberry Leaf tea as well. I’ve been trying to focus on getting the proper amount of protein, upping my veggie intake, and drinking plenty of fluid so I’m strong and ready to labor!

6. Physical Activity

This is where I’ve struggled most. I’m still pretty worn out from the first half of my pregnancy and I really struggle to do much real exercise. Walking, gentle yoga, bouncing on a ball, and gentle stretching are really all I can currently handle, but even those simple things are helping me prepare. Bouncing on the ball has been especially therapeutic and helpful with opening up my hips!

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7. Nesting

I’m embracing nesting. I think it helps. Everything that I check off my list mentally prepares me more to have this baby. Getting the carseat, setting up the crib, washing and folding baby clothes all help me really see and feel that a baby is coming and makes my mama heart happy.

8. My Blessingway

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This is along the same lines as nesting-it’s a mental help. Having my blessingway made a huge mental impact on me. It flipped on the switch of positivity and excitement towards this labor and delivery. A blessingway is similar to a baby shower, but with more participation. It’s a welcoming into motherhood and is a wonderful way to prepare for having another baby.

9. Reading Positive Birth Stories

Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth is a favorite when it comes to pregnancy reads. The first half of the book is just birth stories and is so uplifting in preparation for having a baby. I also visit birthwithoutfear regularly because I love the diversity of birth stories and generally positive feel they offer. There is nothing wrong with stopping someone mid-horror-story and saying “Hey, I would LOVE to hear about everyone you know that died in childbirth AFTER I have this baby. K?” Absolutely nothing wrong with that. Surrounding myself with positivity helps me tremendously.

10. Visualization or Creating a Safe Place

Visualization of Waves for Birth

This is really more of a specific meditation, but I think it’s worth mentioning. This pregnancy my visualization has been an ocean cave with the waves rolling in and out. When I lay in bed picturing labor, this is where I go. The waves are contractions, the cave my cervix and the gentleness and normal-ness of the scene how I want my labor to go. Now-I know full well that many of you are rolling your eyes at this but I’m telling you-having a safe place to visualize and return to truly is valuable in labor, regardless of the kind of delivery you’re having. If having this place means that you have a less painful epidural, if it means that you’re calmer during your c-section, or it keeps you from screaming during transition, it’s worth it to come up with a safe place. Water always seems to be mine.

11. Preparing my Children

Talking about childbirth with my girls has been really helpful for me too. There is something so healing about their raw curiosity and all of the innocent questions they’ve asked about the birth process. Currently, my oldest (she’s 7) is convinced she’s going to climb into my birth pool and catch the baby. I can’t promise that won’t happen-she’s so excited! Their excitement and lack of fear around the entire thing is contagious.

12. Massage/Physical Therapy/Chiropractic Care/Acupuncture

Pick a favorite, or many favorites and utilize them! For me, massage has saved me this pregnancy. With my last pregnancy, it was physical therapy. I was having horrible migraines a couple of times a week and massage has completely resolved that issue. It’s also helped loosen my hips and I’m positive it’s helping my baby work into a better position for the delivery because I’m not as tight.

What are your favorite ways you’ve prepared for labor?

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