Whether you opt for an epidural or decide to deliver naturally, childbirth can be an anxiety inducing experience. Luckily, there are several things expectant moms can do before their due date to make labor as painless as possible.
1. Keep Moving
Why is staying fit so important during pregnancy? Pregnant women who stay in shape tend to have shorter labors. Fitness also strengthens muscles and improves endurance, which is key to enduring the rigors of childbirth—particularly for moms aiming for a drug-free delivery.
Many women wonder if it’s safe to exercise while pregnant. The short answer: absolutely! However, if you weren’t active before your pregnancy, talk to your doctor first and then start with low-impact activities like:
- Brisk walking
- Weight Training
Pelvic floor exercises (commonly known as kegels) can also make a big difference. By simply contracting and releasing your pelvic floor muscles, you strengthen the muscles that will help you push during labor. This exercise is something you can begin at any time and practice throughout pregnancy.
2. Look to Nature
The last five weeks of pregnancy are crucial for prepping for a less painful delivery. Natural practitioners typically recommend 5-W, an herbal formula designed to make labor easier and begin on time. The herbs in this formula are:
- Black Cohosh Root: Brings on labor in the final stages of pregnancy, also relaxes muscle cramps and spasms
- Squaw Vine Herb: Prepares the uterus and encourages regular contractions
- Dong Quai root: Stimulates circulation to the pelvis, helps prepare the body for labor and delivery
- Butcher’s Broom root: Used for hemorrhoids, varicose veins and thrombosis. In addition, it is a diuretic, anti-inflammatory, and an enhancer of circulation
- Red Raspberry leaves: Relieves nausea, tones the uterus, prevents spotting and reduces pain
3. Train Your Mind
Preparing your mind for labor is just as important as preparing your body. Did you know you can actually reduce the intensity of labor pains through visualization (meditation combined with mental imagery)? Here are two prenatal meditations to master before the big day:
The Wave: View each contraction as a wave in the ocean. Watch it slowly peak in intensity and then allow it to slowly come down. See yourself as a jellyfish, allowing that wave to wash through you.
Deep Belly: Place your hands on your belly and observe the sensations beneath your hands. Breathe slowly, in and out. (If your mind wanders off, breathe deeper into your belly.) If a thought arises, let it float away.