With baby girl being due just a mere 8 days after my husbands birthday, we were all very hopeful she would be born to share his day. I was born on my mother’s birthday and have always loved that special bond but I learned something this week that was a valuable and humbling lesson – babies arrive on their own time.
Of course I already knew this concept, but innate wishful thinking had me hoping and dreaming up a birth for my daughter this past Monday. And I tried everything. Surely there are many things you can try to encourage labor along, but your body will birth when baby is ready.
The lyrics from Lauren Daigle’s song “Trust in You” have resonated in my life this week and I wanted to share them with all moms having trouble letting go of when their baby should be born.
Letting go of every single dream
I lay each one down at Your feet
Every moment of my wandering
Never changes what You see
I’ve tried to win this war I confess
My hands are weary I need Your rest
Mighty Warrior, King of the fight
No matter what I face, You’re by my side
Truth is, You know what tomorrow brings
There’s not a day ahead You have not seen
So, in all things be my life and breath
I want what You want Lord and nothing less
It’s important to stay grounded. It’s important to have faith and know that your child will arrive when they are ready. Do you what you can to remind yourself of these things when the final week(s) hit. They can seem the longest partially due to the waiting and the anticipation and questions from friends and family, but time is moving the same and before you know it, your family will have grown and reality hits.
Now, how to encourage? Why, of course it’s still fun and important to try! Despite not being able to send yourself into labor, you are still readying yourself to deliver. Anything you do to prepare is helpful for the actual day – whenever it may be. I have compiled a list of my favorite things to drink, eat and do to busy up the waiting time and help your body prepare.
- Red Raspberry Leaf Tea – I’m going to preach this every single post. The miraculous uterus toner is also great to drink through labor and can help you to have a shorter labor. If you want your uterus to be ready and active and prepared instead of lethargic, non-active and just holding your baby… buy it & drink it.
- Pineapple – Now while there are myths that eating pineapples can induce labor – medicinally you would have to eat 7 whole ones. Now, I don’t think you are going to attempt that but beyond chowing down, adding pineapple has some extra lure… It’s a natural anti-inflammatory, contains Bromelain which is known to encourage uterine contractions and has also been talking about in regards to helping milk supply. So drink & eat up!
- Evening Primrose Oil – This oil applied topically or taken internally is known to soften the cervix. This is helpful in a couple of ways, it can trigger labor and it can be helpful with progressing labor quicker once it starts. You can find it here.
- Castor Oil – this oil is a stimulant laxative which gets the bowels contracting which in turn may also get the uterus contracting. Use with caution since castor oil can cause diarrhea – which may not be so comfortable in labor after all… You can find Castor Oil supplements here.
- Spicy Foods – I have been eating spicy food like a madman.. adding hot sauce onto everything with no avail… but I also love spicy foods so I’m wondering if my body is just tolerant. Some people theorize that spicy foods trigger the digestive system into action which in turns stimulates the uterus.. while it may be up in the air, you might as well take on the heat!
- Pelvic Tilts – These can be done in various ways but are important because positioning baby properly can trigger labor… 1. Cat/cow stretches on your hands and knees. Focus on your pelvic bone rotating back and forth more than just your back raising and lowering. 2. Sit on an exercise ball and rotate hips back and forth. Doing circles can also help encourage baby’s optimal positioning. 3. Stand with your back flat against a wall and work on rocking the pelvic bone down and forward to flatten your back against the wall and then back again. 4. Lie on your back on the flow with feet flat and hip width apart. Lift your hips and rotate back and forth.
- Squats – Either I’m going to say it or someone else will so it can’t be left off. Squats open up the hips and lower your baby deeper into the birth canal. Squatting is also an optimal position for birthing a child so practicing squats can strengthen your pelvic floor and the positioning, once again, can trigger your body into laboring.
- Walking – Yes, walk that baby out. I’m sure you’ve heard this one, if none of the others. Walking increases the fluids in your ligaments, increases circulation and activates all those necessary muscles. If you have gone on a walk in those last weeks, you may have noticed your uterus contracting (painlessly) but clearly working — this is great!!
- Swimming – Doing the breast stroke can encourage the baby along as well as optimal position again and is also be the perfect workout that bring the least stress on your body (thank you buoyancy!) So hop in a pool momma – it is summertime
- Stairs – At this point, I begrudgingly always chose stairs over elevators and escalators. As much as I want to opt for ease.. I know that the activation of the glutes and leg muscles also help my pelvic floor.
- Sex – while the act may or may not trigger labor… there are positives. Semen is known to soften the cervix. Having an orgasm can stimulate the uterus into action. The release of oxytocin can also help contractions.
- Acupuncture – Acupuncturists know reflex points and will work with your body to aide in labor preparation and readying the body.
- Massage – Similar to acupuncture but using reflexology instead of needles to trigger pressure points can also help in preparation and to stimulate labor.
- Chiropractor – Adjustments can help your hips and baby get into position as well as alleviate all the wonderful third trimester pain and symptoms.
So I may have ‘let go’ of my wanting a timely birth, my daughter and body knows what it needs and I’m okay with that. That doesn’t mean I’m going to sit on the couch, veg and watch the olympics until she comes (as much as I’d like too)! I’m going to continue readying my body to prepare for a joyful birth experience.
-Essentially a Mom in Waiting