1. Take pictures! – Haha this was a no brainer, right?? We have tried to take pictures every week or every other week so we can watch the baby’s growth! I did a photo album for my first son and did a whole spread of each of the weeks, it was pretty cool! I have loved comparing those bump pics to my second son’s bump pics too!
2. Drink Chlorophyll – I mentioned this in a previous post about gestational diabetes, because of the digestive and circulatroy benefits it can give you. My friend who is a birthing coach recommended it to me. It has helped my regulate my blood sugars, but it also can help your body with swelling. I have really been shocked at how little swelling I have had this pregnancy, and I think this is one reasons why! I got this from Amazon, and it has lasted a long time because you only drink 1 tsp in 8 oz. of water twice a day. It has a minty flavor and is actually refreshing! I drink this at breakfast and dinner. My doula also recommended this to me, as it helps with your immunity, postpartum healing because it strengthens body tissue. Chlorophyll’s molecular makeup is similar to that of a red blood cell except that the center of the atom is magnesium instead of iron. It has a lot of detoxifying effects in our body, binding metals that we don’t need and removing those, and protects us against a lot of different carcinogens. Obviously you can obtain chlorophyll from your food, by eating more dark green vegetables in your diet.
3. Coconut Water – This is great for hydration. Another reason you may have swelling is because you aren’t drinking enough water. Sounds backwards, right?? Same way that not consuming enough protein can be a cause for preeclampsia, which has a retention of too much protein in your blood. Coconut water is great to drink for daily hydration, but it is also good to sip on during labor for those same hydration purposes. I found this one at Target that also has pineapple in it, which has benefits of its own which I will cover in just a minute! Coconut water also has a lot of potassium in it, which is also good for you. I had some potassium deficiencies at the very beginning of my pregnancy and this fixed it really quickly!! Coconut water helps with immunity, tiredness and fatigue, and also kidney function and prevention of UTIs and possibly helps with blood pressure regulation as well. I also have read that this can help with morning sickness for some and constipation. Doesn’t pregnancy just sound wonderful haha?? Coconut water can also help with metabolism and detoxifying your system, controlling diabetes and also balancing your body’s pH levels.
4. Red Raspberry Tea – There are a lot of pregnancy teas you can drink to help your uterus prepare for birth but I have just been drinking plain red raspberry tea. I usually drink it once a day, and later in pregnancy 2-3 times a day. Another way to get in some good hydration! When taken during pregnancy, red raspberry leaf is said to aid the mother’s immune system, ease morning sickness and promote better circulation. Taking raspberry leaf is said to strengthen uterine muscles and tone the pelvic floor in preparation for childbirth, as well as assist with breastmilk supply. It supposedly also helps with reducing bleeding after giving birth, helps with relaxing the smooth muscles of the uterus when it is contracting and in birthing the placenta. When reading about this online, I read that women who drank this regularly had shorter second stages of labor and reduced birthing interventions. One of the side effects is that it can increase Braxton hicks contractions, which is why it is advised to not drink a lot of it early on in your pregnancy.
5. Supplements – I take a number of supplements… I do this on a regular basis even when I am not pregnant, so really when I am pregnant I just switch out my multivitamin to a prenatal. I try to eat healthy but I feel like I don’t get the proper nutrients that my body needs from my meals, especially being a mom and eating what is available at times or scarfing something, anything down just to keep up with my toddler! I get all of my supplements from Amazon and do subscribe and save. From my research and talking with my cousin who is a nutritionist, it is pointless to take supplements that aren’t good quality because your body can’t absorb them, so I generally try to get brands that are better quality for that reason.
- Cod Liver Oil – Helps with infant brain development, heart and joint development. See more about cod liver oil in this post. I have heard that some people switch to a different oil at the end of their pregnancy because cod liver oil can possibly cause your placenta to be sticky but I don’t know a lot about the recommendations for that.
- B Complex – Helps with fatigue and nausea during pregnancy
- Vitamin C – Immunity
- Prenatal Vitamin – Make sure that your prenatal has folic acid or folate. I prefer folate over folic acid because folic acid is synthetic. See more about my prenatal vitamin below. Here are a couple of links over the difference between folate and folic acid…
- Calcium – I usually try to take a calcium supplement with also magnesium and Vitamin D to help with absorption. Helps protect bones and teeth, helps with muscle contractions and nerve health. I have read before that the baby will take what it needs from your body, so pregnancy can cause a calcium deficiency in our bodies, leaving us more susceptible to osteoporosis later in life.
- Probiotic – Helps with immunity and digestive health, as well as preventing Group B strep.
6. Evening Primrose Oil – This helps soften your cervix, good to start taking around 38-39 weeks of your pregnancy. I’ve also read that it is good for regulating blood pressure and shortening labor time, but I have read other controversial things about this as well. You may want to read up on it more before starting it.
7. Prenatal Vitamin – I have loved taking this prenatal from New Chapter. It has folate in it instead of folic acid, and hasn’t upset my stomach like some I have taken in the past. Also recommended from my cousin’s wife who is a nutritionist. Subscribe and save on Amazon baby!
8. Pineapple – With my first son, during my third trimester, I was CRAVING pineapple and eating it constantly. I had no idea that this was actually a good thing to be doing anyway haha! My students at school actually started making fun of me about it… “there goes Mrs. Campbell, eating that pineapple again…” So I read up on it a little bit because I heard from someone (can’t remember who) that it was actually really good to consume during the third trimester. Here’s why… Not only is it good to help with digestion (you have so many digestive issues prego!), it helps soften your cervix and ease labor. So it apparently was good that I was eating one a week by myself! Some other perks include immunity boast (it is high in vitamin C), helps maintain healthy heart and nerve function and bone health. I have also read lately that it helps with milk production and breastfeeding as well, reduces swelling and possible clogged ducts when your milk comes in and if you chose to wean later. So eat up mommas! And stick with the fresh pineapple, yes it’s kind of a pain to cut up, but it tastes better and the benefits listed apply the the fresh pineapple route rather than the canned.
10. Spinning Babies WebSite – Baby positioning is really important to prepare for labor, and there are a lot of things you can do to help encourage your baby to get into the right position! I had looked at this website some with Jackson, and my doula also recommended it again for Jude. I do think that crawling around more, laying on my left side as much as I could and other positions have helped Jude get LOA, or his back being on my left and head down. It is really important to make sure that you don’t recline as much as possible, that can encourage your baby to sit looking out instead of to your side or eventually looking in towards your spine. I read in the Bradley Method book that we have many more posterior babies (coming out face up) because we sit and recline much more than we used to. So anyway, just a good resource to loo at!
11. Prayer Cards, Meditation … be patient!– I have started making verse images on my Bible App to focus on during labor, and meditate on beforehand. I wish I would have done this more with Jackson. I think it is so truly important to draw yourself closer to our Lord before you go into labor… He has created your body for this act, don’t doubt what you body can do. Pray specifically for how you want your birth to go… don’t just ask for a healthy baby and delivery… ask for specifics, for your doctor to be present, what time do you want to labor, for you to have opportunity to rest, to have a vaginal delivery, for the timing to work out, for your labor to be quick, to be able to withstand the pain and relax your body and embrace the contractions… the list could go on. There are tons of other people’s blogs that have good verse recommendations for labor, just google it! Here is one I found that I used and liked. But be patient with your body, and wait. I told my husband that I feel like you have to get completely miserable and absolutely uncomfortable and then your baby will make its appearance hehe.
12. Read other Birthing Stories – I ended up having to have a c-section with my first son, mainly from complications from my epidural, and then he was face up and not coming out at the end… so for this pregnancy my husband and I are hoping for a VBAC. Let me tell you, this was probably the hardest decision we have made together. Mainly because a lot of people (including my old doctor) made us feel like we were risking the life of our baby and being selfish, even though a vaginal birth is a better option for mom and baby. This was a hard decision, but one of the things that has helped me a lot is reading other people’s birth stories and just talking to other people about their VBACs. I have been amazed, shocked even, at how many people around me have had VBACs, and I firmly believe that we are in good hands with my doula and doctor and that our Lord will watch over us during our birth.
13. Rest – Be careful how you sit and lounge! It is best to lay on your left side as often as you can. This helps baby slide to our left side and is also good for digestion and to reduce swelling. Also try to sit up straight and not lounge as much. Rest is so important though when you are counting down the days to labor. I really should be telling myself this over and over because I am the queen of not resting and feeling compelled to do as much as possible during the day. But my doula has reminded me that one of the biggest reasons that people get epidurals is because they are worn out and tired during labor. So rest up, drink water and eat good food!
14. Activity – Exercise is important, walk and do some yoga! Stretch those muscles and keep yourself in good shape! You will be thankful you did so after you have your baby too and have less weight to lose!
15. Stay Hydrated, Be selective with food – I keep saying that it is important to drink water, but it really is… not being hydrated can cause braxton hicks contractions more often and often can be the reason for contractions in the beginning but not real labor. Also during your third trimester, I would just recommend being careful with your carbs and sugar intake. And trust me, I am the queen of dessert and obsessed with muffins and scones… for real I crave them like crazy, it’s horrible. But having gestational diabetes has MADE me be more disciplined, and I am not perfect, but my weight gain has been so much better this time around and I have felt better over all. So as hard as it is, have a little restraint hehe!
16. Chiropractor – I have gone to a chiropractor for both of my pregnancies. Not only has this helped with back and hip pain, it also helps to keep your pelvis aligned so that the baby can rotate and get into the correct position for birth.
17. Alfalfa – Take an alfalfa supplement. This is something I did not do and regretted it! Alfalfa helps control bleeding after you give birth. I had major post partum hemorrhaging from my uterus not being able to clamp down (big baby and lots of fluid) and lost a lot of blood. I had to have two blood transfusions over the next few days to get my hemoglobin levels up. My doula had recommended to take this but for whatever reason I never “got around” to ordering some and adding to to my diet. Definitely will if there is a next time, trust me on that!
18. Doula – I saved this one for last because it has been one of the most important things we could have done. We hired a doula for this birth. Yes, it is money, but if I could go back and do anything differently for my first birth, I would have hired a doula. She has been a wealth of knowledge, and confidant, and she will be here with us while we labor at home and help us decide when to go to the hospital. She will be at the hospital with us, to help us make decisions and be an advocate for us. She has so so so much experience and has seen things go well and go wrong, she has had a VBAC herself… I just can’t express how much that means to us, who are nervous about doing this ourselves, she is the best decision we have ever made. She has helped me with nutrition, birth knowledge and things we can do to get ready for labor. She will be there with us after the baby is born and help with breastfeeding. She will come to our house later to check up on us and provide post partum support. The list goes on and on. And if you research the benefits of having a doula online, you will see that statistically, people have shorter labors and less intervention, and more successful births when they have a doula present with them. Worth it.
There is SO much you can do, and this could go on and on… and on… but these are the things that I have focused on and they have seemed to help me. You can take parts of it and do what you feel comfortable with. My advice would be to do what you can and be content with that. You can never do everything and never control everything, as much as you try to prepare, you still have to trust your body and go with what happens. Trust yourself, trust your hubbie, hire a doula and pray. Pray a lot, because really that should have been my number one hehe! You will do great, you can take positives from any birthing experience, even though it make take time to do so. I wasn’t able to say that I was thankful for the way Jackson’s birth went until just a couple of months ago because I knew I needed to find peace with his birth before I have Jude. Good luck with your pregnancy, good luck with your birth and may you have a wonderful beginning with your new little one!