It’s almost that time — time for Baby Ezrah to arrive, and no, I’m STILL not ready! Is any mama really ready for big changes to come her way? I always have so much to do it seems, but thankfully I’m not stressing about it. Why? Because there’s ALWAYS more to do!
Now, when the time for the baby’s arrival starts to draw near, I start to get a bit antsy because the reminder of what’s to come begins to flood back into my memory. Natural labor and delivery, thankfully has been easy for me in the past, but it certainly isn’t something I’d call fun. I dread thinking about the pain I’m about to face, not knowing how long it will last, and what my experience will be like this time. Thankfully there are things I can do to prepare for what’s to come in order to make things go as smoothly as possible for me… besides looking at all the little newborn outfits in the bottom of baby’s bassinet and feeling my heart pitter-patter for my little man!
5 Simple Things to Help Prepare for Natural Delivery
1. Labor Prep Tea
The first thing I start doing WAY before it’s ever time to begin thinking about birthing a baby is I start drinking some sort of labor prep tea in order to help my body be as strong and healthy as possible when it comes time to deliver my baby.
This tea can include whatever you want, but I like to keep mine simple. The only thing that it must contain each and every time is red raspberry leaf.
Red Raspberry Leaf
Red raspberry leaf is just what it sounds like… leaves from a red raspberry bush. These are commonly used during pregnancy to tone the uterus so contractions are more effective when the time for labor and delivery arrives.
If you look into this herb for use during pregnancy, you may be surprised to find varying information on it. Some say not to take it before a certain point in pregnancy while other sources will say it’s completely fine all during pregnancy. From my understanding (and experience) it is perfectly fine all throughout pregnancy. If you’re a mama who’s prone to miscarriages, then I’d wait until you were at least 6 months along to start using it. It never hurts to play it safe.
Red raspberry basically has two actions on the body.
- It either helps to relax the uterus or to stimulate it. — Sounds weird to do two opposite things, but it’s true. When the uterus needs to relax (like during menstrual cramps or during pregnancy), it will help that happen. When the uterus needs to contract (like during contractions), it will help that happen. To me, it’s really cool how one herb can work in two different ways just depending on what the body needs at the time.
- It acts as an astringent. — Red and black raspberry are both great astringents. The leaves definitely have astringent action, but the root is stronger. This helps when you have issues like diarrhea or even weeping rashes and you need a little help tightening up those tissues.
My Labor Prep Tea Blend
So here’s the blend I most often use in my labor prep tea. Again, there are times when I’ll vary this, but this is typically the base preparation.
- 2 parts red raspberry leaf
- 1 part nettle
- 1 part peppermint
2. Handling Labor Pain… The Bradley Way
As I said earlier, I’m no stranger to labor pain. I don’t know what it is in me that wants to have natural, drug-free labor, but that’s just what I feel is best for me. After my first hit-and-miss attempt at natural labor and delivery at home, I was determined to do things differently the second time around. I was set on learning how to work through labor pain, not get away from it.
Enter… Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way.
The book, Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way, has been my guide during my second and third successful attempts at natural deliveries, and I have no doubts it will help me along in this fourth delivery.
This book is all about teaching you about the anatomy and physiology of the body and how a woman’s body was designed to birth babies. It also teaches you how to accept the pain and use it to get labor moving along instead of trying to get away from the pain or ignore it… because if you’ve had a natural delivery before, you know that pain is just a part of it. It’s also full of pregnancy exercises to do to help your body get ready for the big day.
Now let me add here — there are some seriously graphic photos in this book so keep it put up from anyone you don’t want to see it. This isn’t one of those books I leave laying out on my coffee table for my kids or friends to look through, and it’s not something my man glances at either… he’s just not into seeing that sort of thing. No matter, it’s great for us mamas. I always recommend this book to mamas who want to have drug-free, natural L&Ds.
3. Gentle Birth
Now in case my labor prep tea isn’t enough, I always use Mountain Meadow Herb’s Gentle Birth formula at the end of my pregnancies to do any last bit of preparation my body may need. This formula is a tincture that I take 5 weeks before my due date.
Now I’m not a big “due date” follower as my kids like to show up late, but I do use that date as a guide for when I want to start taking this tincture.
Basically what it does is it helps tone the uterus, strengthen any Braxton Hicks contractions you may be having, shorten labor and make recovery faster, help with dilation, and helps labor to be less painful. I’ve used this with my last 3 pregnancies, and I wouldn’t be without it!
4. After Pains Tincture
Any mama who’s had a baby knows what “after-birth pains” are, especially if you’ve had more than one baby. Once the baby is out, the uterus will continue to contract in order to get the placenta out, and once it’s out, it STILL contracts in order to decrease bleeding and help it get back down to its original size. That’s all well and good, but unfortunately with each baby, it seems to hurt worse. Just when you think the pain of labor is over, you’re surprised by continued contractions! How lovely is that?!
Now, a lot of mamas are totally done with the pain of labor at this point so they’ll opt for an OTC pain reliever like Aleve, but this mama opts for natural meds like an After Pain tincture.
My After-Pain Tincture Blend
So here’s the blend I’m using for my tincture this time around. It’s full of relaxant herbs and herbs that are specific to cramping. No matter how much I liked the After-Pain Relief tincture I’d been using, when I came across the “Pain Away” tincture blend in my Making Babies book, I knew I wanted to try it. The only things I’ve changed is that I took out the lemon balm and added in the lobelia, and I’ve substituted brandy for the glycerin because well… I’m not a huge fan of glycerin tinctures and the point is to relax… right? Just joking!
- 4 parts cramp bark
- 3 parts passion flower
- 2 parts chamomile flower
- 1 part lavender flower
- 1 part lobelia
5. Labor Aid Drink
The last thing I’m doing is getting the things I need to have on hand during labor.
Now if I were having a home birth, there would be many more things for me to get ready, but since I have labored naturally in the hospital with no problem, the only thing I really need to prepare ahead of time is a labor aid drink since the hospital provides the rest. And in case you’re wondering, no they don’t like you to drink during labor, but since I don’t even go to the hospital until I’m almost ready to deliver, I get to skip almost all of the interventions, continuous monitoring, interruptions, and rules they have there.
With that being said, I do make a labor aid drink that keeps me hydrated and energized during labor. Thankfully my labors aren’t too long, but I still wanna have this on hand. I sip on it during labor, and once we go to the hospital, my husband or my accompanying midwife pretends it’s their drink and when no one’s looking I’ll take a drink here and there. So sneaky, I know!
My Labor Aid Drink Mix
Below you’ll find the recipe I’m using for my labor aid drink mix this time around. This has been adapted from my own homemade herbal electrolyte drink recipes you’ll find here.
- 3 cups red raspberry leaf tea
- 1 cup coconut water
- 1/4 tsp. raw honey
- 1/4 tsp. Celtic sea salt
- 2 drops trace mineral drops
- 2 drops of Bach Flower Rescue Remedy
My reason for these particular ingredients? Well, I’ve already explained red raspberry above — it’s awesome during labor as well as before. Coconut water is a great rehydration drink as it contains natural electrolytes, honey, sea salt, and trace mineral drops that provide added minerals to keep the body’s energy flowing properly, and the rescue remedy helps to relax and keep you centered during the tough job ahead. Looks like a great combo to me!
What I’ll do is mix up a half gallon (just double the recipe) of this and keep it in the fridge to use as needed when the time comes!
Okay, so I hope this has been nice for you to see what I’m doing to prepare for a natural labor and delivery. If you too are expecting or close to a delivery of your own, best of luck in getting that beautiful delivery you so want!