Here are some guidelines for the last month of pregnancy – look at which ones suit your lifestyle and start to incorporate them!
Preparation at this stage can increase the chance of a birth with minimal intervention and tissue damage and help to facilitate your recovery, including bonding with your baby and your ability to breastfeed.
Optimal foetal positioning:
- Avoid bucket seat positions where your pelvis tips under – especially be mindful when driving, at work or when relaxing at home. Try to keep your hips higher than your knees – sit on your birthing ball where possible!
- Sleep on your left side – don’t worry if you move, just start out on your left
- Pelvic mobility exercises in different positions – standing, leaning, on all 4s or on birthing ball. Sways, rocks, tilts, circles, figures of eight
- Exercises I’ve shown you in class to encourage baby into the most favourable position
- Move daily, preferably outdoors
Preparing the pelvic floor and cervix:
- Perineal massage
- Kegels especially focussing on the relaxation phase. You can also try J breathing to help
- Eutonia – sitting on the noodle daily!!
- Intercourse with deep ejaculation (semen softens cervix)
Mental and emotional preparation:
- Visualize your perfect birth – in as much detail as you can, the positions you take, who’s there, how it goes
- Don’t watch/listen to birth horror stories – no One Born Every Minute for now!
- Watch beautiful birth videos (YouTube)
- Verbalize fears – write them down – then work through them
- Read affirmations – eg. “I look forward to meeting my baby”, “I trust my body to birth my baby”, “contractions help to bring my baby to my arms”, “my baby is happy and healthy”. Read more examples on the app In Shape Moms (affirmations are free). Try to write your own!
Prepare tissues and systems with nutrition:
- Avoid processed foods and just eat real food!
- Eat an anti-inflammatory diet – avoid wheat, sugar, dairy, processed foods
- Add more gluten-free carbs to your diet – sweet potato, rice
- Add good fats – coconut milk/oil, avocado, fish, nuts
- Eat foods high in iron – green veg, walnuts, almonds, meat
- Take probiotics
- Eat 4 dates per day – this helps to keep the waters intact which in turn can lessen the pain of contractions
- Stop taking multi-vitamins especially those containing iron – inhibits prostaglandins which help soften cervix
- Stay hydrated – can include raspberry leaf tea now which may help contractions
- Try to establish a regular sleep cycle – this helps regulate hormones
- Take naps where possible
- Reduce stress – use your breathing, soften your face, avoid stressful situations
- Limit social agenda – don’t try to fit everything in
- Prepare for the postnatal period – try to enlist other people’s help for household tasks or else build up a bank of frozen homecooked meals
- Spend time outdoors, preferably in the sun (!!)
- Favour activities that make you happy and so increases oxytocin – massage, music, sex, cuddling
Do what preparation you can beforehand and then when it all starts know that you and your baby are fully prepared for what’s to come – don’t try to control it, go with it!