I was so excited to say goodbye to the first trimester and make my way into the second trimester. No more exhaustion or all-day sickness. Not big enough to be uncomfortable yet and my appetite was back (I could drink coffee again, yay!). I found that the second trimester was a good time to prepare for the big day, before the exhaustion and discomfort of the third trimester kicked in.
Curious about how I prepared for my labor during the “Golden” Trimester? Read on below to find out the top three things I incorporated into my routine that I truly believe attributed to an easier labor (including one delicious drink!).
Natural childbirth is a marathon, so it only makes sense for moms to prepare their bodies for this experience just as they would for a 26.2-mile feat. No, this doesn’t mean that I got out and ran 10 miles per day or started CrossFit, but with my energy back, I did start a more regimented exercise routine. I was still kind to my body, focusing on maintaining my strength and stamina instead of building it. This meant lots of low-impact weight lifting and prenatal yoga. This video is one of my favorite prenatal yoga classes. I also made it a goal to walk at least a mile each day. This was a great way to get outside for some fresh air and to clear my head.
The second trimester is also a great time to start baby positioning exercises. The optimal fetal position for birth is the “left occiput anterior” position, or LOA position. This fetal position is when a baby is head-down, with the back of his or her head facing mom’s left side, and looking inward toward mom’s spine. When the baby is “occiput posterior” (head-down looking outward toward mom’s belly), it’s often more difficult for the baby to pass through the birth canal, as the baby’s neck is often straightened and can rub against mom’s spine, resulting in painful back labor (ouch!).
Pregnancy exercises can help open your pelvis and properly position your baby. Download my cheat sheet at the bottom of this blog explaining my favorite baby positioning exercises which helped turn my baby to the optimal LOA position.
Derived from the leaves of the red raspberry plant, red raspberry leaf tea has been used for centuries to support uterine health, particularly during pregnancy and childbearing years. This tea contains fragrine, which can help strengthen the uterus and pelvic area, along with many other essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamins C, E, and A, a variety of B vitamins, magnesium, potassium, calcium, and phosphorus. Studies have shown that red raspberry leaf tea can make labor shorter and less painful by toning the muscles used during labor and delivery. Other benefits include improving the effectiveness of contractions, reducing pain after birth, and helping to produce breast milk.
Always talk to your healthcare provider about starting red raspberry leaf tea, but for me personally, I began in the later stages of my second trimester. I prefer mine iced, so I brewed with lemon and orange slices and a little bit of honey and let cool before pouring over ice. I limited myself to one glass per day, but have to admit that I found myself craving more! Always be sure to watch how your body responds to the tea and adjust accordingly.
I always recommend taking a pregnancy course, especially if it’s your first pregnancy! Most hospitals have birthing classes you can take, but because of my schedule I opted for an online course that I could take at my own pace. I chose the Mama Natural course. My husband and I made it part of our weekly routine to watch together and it helped both of us feel more prepared. Find a class that speaks to you and make it a priority to watch with your partner! I promise you it will be worth it.
My pregnancy course also made me interested in finding a doula to support me during labor and delivery. My prenatal massage therapist also happened to be a doula, so I was lucky to find someone I was very comfortable with. She supported me by bringing experience from many previous natural births and instilling confidence that I was able to accomplish my pregnancy goals. She sent weekly resources and recommendations throughout my pregnancy, but she was most invaluable to me during the labor and delivery process. She was with me at home while I labored, making sure that I kept walking when I felt tired so that the labor continued to progress, and also ensuring that I arrived at the hospital at the perfect time. She used natural pain techniques with me such as massage, breathing and rebozo bands, which helped ease some of the discomfort of contractions. I was so grateful to have an extra person in the room to offer support and guidance!
I know during these times many of the hospitals are only allowing one visitor, so a doula most likely will not be able to accompany you, but they can still be a valuable resource before delivery to help you learn some techniques for pain management. Especially these days, your journey with pregnancy may be stressful at times and it helps to have more people in your corner. Sending you thoughts of strength and positivity!
Want to know my top 5 favorite exercises to prime your baby for optimal positioning? Download my freebie below!