I frequently get asked questions about how I prepped for labour, birth and the fourth trimester - physically, mentally and spiritually. I wanted to share a few practical ways that I prepared for labour and the fourth trimester to feel equipped, educated and ready.
red raspberry leaf tea
From 36 weeks, I drank 2 - 3 cups per day. It is supposed to be really good for your uterus. I drank it iced with a bit of honey or stevia.
Every night Brenton and I would pray over the health of Luca, my labour and my recovery. Prayer brought so much peace to the both of us and God answered our prayers.
I asked my health care providers (midwife, doctors, sonographer, physio etc.) lots of questions about pregnancy, labour and postpartum. I also learnt a lot in the birth course I attended. I wanted to educate myself in all areas to make sure I was making informed decisions throughout my labour. I also Ioved watching YouTube labour techniques and ways to have a pain-relief-free labour - more on that in the next point.
youtube / podcasts
I seriously consumed SO much pregnancy and baby content. I watched a few birth vlogs but I really binged labour technique videos (I love Bridget Tyler - such practical tips for labour and birth). As for podcasts, I think I listened to just about every Beyond The Bump episode there was.
This was the birth course I did and I really loved it. It was a one-day course and I really felt like I was able to apply a fair few of the techniques that I learnt when I was in labour. It was super helpful for Brenton too.
physiotherapy: stretching, pelvic floor work, prenatal pilates
I saw Charlotte from Flow Physio Co and truly learnt so much about my pelvic floor and prenatal movement. We did prenatal pilates weekly and I was given daily pelvic floor exercises to do. Towards the end of my pregnancy, I was also doing specific stretches to prepare my body for labour as well as perineal massage.
I also got a remedial sports massage once a fortnight which helped with any tight muscles I had from training and pregnancy
- Prenatals. Trimester 1 I took these, trimester 2 and 3 I took these.
- Nordic Naturals DHA fish oil
Labour is a marathon! I trained 4-5 x per week (including walking) which helped me keep strong and active. I trained right up until I had Luca and truly think that staying fit and frequent training helped my labour.
I made my own frozen pads by freezing maternity pads with witch hazel (make sure you get this brand / a brand with no alcohol) and added pure aloe vera gel on before putting them on. They were cold and soothing.
I used this every time I went to the bathroom, it was so good!
This was my favourite brand.
Stock up one these! I ended up having to get 2 more packets.
I bought disposable ones but couldn't stand them. I use reusable ones from Bubba Bump and love them. They are soft and easily washable in the washing machine.
black undies, high waisted and comfy
This one is pretty self-explanatory. I got cheap but comfy bamboo ones in bulk from Kmart.
Postpartum compression shorts
I wore these compression shorts which I got from my physio.
PJs and clothing sets
Button-up pj's are a must for breastfeeding! I also lived in comfy sets because I wanted to feel put together while still feeling comfy and wanted breastfeeding-friendly options.
asking for help / accepting help
I am so bad at asking for help and accepting help, but the saying "it takes a village" is so, so true. The most helpful thing people did was bring over a coffee or a meal. Cooking was something that I just didn't feel like doing, especially dinner because I was so tired.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, it's super important to say no when you don't want guests. People will totally understand. You just had a baby, you can absolutely say no to people coming to your house until you feel ready!
I prepped a batch of lactation slice, which was ahhhmazing because I get so hungry breastfeeding so having this to grab and snack on was perfect when we couldn't be bothered to make a snack. I also froze a loaf of sourdough for toast to snack on. I had all intentions of freezing a few iron-rich meals like turkey meatballs but because Luca came two weeks early, I wasn't able to!
prayer and communication and being kind to yourself
I saved the most important for last. Sometimes you will be sleep deprived, sometimes you won't be able to wash your hair for a few days longer than you'd like, sometimes you eat your dinner with one hand. Staying prayerful as well as communicating my needs has been the best thing ever. It's important to voice how you are feeling. Maybe you feel overwhelmed, maybe you are hungry and want someone to make you some food, maybe you want a hand with the groceries. Whatever it is, you need to communicate how you are feeling. Your significant other isn't a mind reader! Remember to be kind to yourself, give yourself grace and rest when you need to rest. The dishes can wait. You're doing amazingly.