5 Simple Ways I'm Preparing For My Natural Delivery

5 Simple Ways I'm Preparing For My Natural Delivery | Growing Up Herbal | Baby Ezrah is almost here, and I'm preparing for another natural delivery. Here are 5 simple things I'm doing to help me get ready.

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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
  • brandy

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.

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!

What things do you do to prepare for a natural delivery? Do you do anything differently than what I have above? Do you ever feel “ready” for baby? What’s your typical labor prep like?
  1. Jill York says:

    What a great list! I read the Bradley book and agree that it has great info but that it’s not a book to leave laying around. 😉

  2. Rebekah K. says:

    Hi there! I’ve been enjoying your letters to natural mamas and posts! I enjoyed this list, and might try the after pains tincture.:) I’ve had 4 beautiful boys at home and am planning a fifth home birth with our newest little one. My midwife recommended the Bradley book you mentioned until she found The Christian Childbirth Handbook. It also uses the Bradley method but without all of the graphic pictures and from a Christian perspective. Just another option for someone who wants to do natural birth without having the graphic pics!;) by the way, 4 boys are fun!;)

    • Meagan says:

      I’m so glad you’re enjoying everything Rebekah! And thank you for the book recommendation… I’ve never heard of it, but I’ll have to check it out. It sounds great! Good luck on your fifth pregnancy and birth, and yes, both dad and I are looking forward to another fun boy! Thanks for your comment!

  3. Kimberly says:

    Hi Meagan,
    I use Hylands Arnica tablets when I go into labor. Arnica works to help with the swelling and discomfort down there. I have used it with my last 3 deliveries and it works REALLY well. The swelling and bruising is so much less. I also like lavender oil rubbed on my spine when I am in active labor for the pain and to help me relax a little. Blessings!

    • Meagan says:

      Oh what great ideas! So you start the arnica tablets as soon as you go into labor? I have some here so I’ll definitely try them. And, I have lavender EO so I should really think about making up a nice relaxing blend. I have horrid back labor with every birth… no fun at all. I have my little rice pack with lavender flowers in it… ready to heat up and use. That normally helps, but the EOs would be great too! Thanks for the tips!

  4. Rebekah K. says:

    I was wondering how the after pains tincture worked. 🙂

    • Meagan says:

      I took it the day of delivery Rebekah, and it worked great. The pains were still uncomfortable, but not bad enough to make me want any Tylenol or ibuprofen. One thing I should have done that I didn’t was to keep taking it for a few days after the birth. Nursing baby stimulates those contractions and they were still uncomfortable days after Ezrah was born. I should have thought to keep on taking the tincture, but I didn’t.

  5. Rebekah K. says:

    Oh yes, what is the dosage?

    • Meagan says:

      I think I put 2-3 dropperfuls in a small amount of orange juice. I used brandy to tincture mine, and it really didn’t taste bad at all! I think I’m gonna start using that more often… it sure beats the taste of vodka. BLAHHH!!

  6. Wendy says:

    Hi, I’m due in a month and I want to make the after pains tincture, can I use wild chamomile or do I need the German Chamomile? I have lots of wild chamomile that I picked last summer and was wondering if it would work or if there are too many differences. For the rest I have to see if I can find them locally. The other question I have is; do you measure by weight or by volume? Thanks so much. Wendy

    • Meagan says:

      I’m not exactly sure what type of chamomile the wild version is. I’ve only heard of German and Roman so it’s probably one of those two (unless the wild is a different species all together, but I don’t think so). Either way, they both have relaxant properties so you should be fine with the foraged one. Good luck finding the others! As far as measurements go, I measured by volume. I think I used TBSP for this recipe. Hope that helps, and best of luck!!

  7. Joanna says:

    I am 28 weeks with my first and plan on using the Gentle Birth Ticture. Thank you for the info!

    • Meagan says:

      You’re welcome! I’ve not gone without the stuff since I found it. I love it. Best of luck with your pregnancy Joanna!

      • Franchesca says:

        I bought the Gentle Birth formula and plan to use it also, but I am curious…How has it affected your due date? It doesn’t induce labor, right? Does it just help speed along labor once the baby is ready?
        Thanks for your great site & advice!

        • Meagan says:

          I’ve never had it bring on labor early or on my due date. I’m one of those mamas that go late every single time. For me, it helps shorten my labor. I suppose this along with drinking the red raspberry tea throughout my pregnancy helps to tone and strengthen my uterus which makes contractions more effective.

          However, I would caution using it without the supervision of your OB or midwife if you’re at risk for preterm delivery or miscarriages. Since it’s used the last 5 weeks of pregnancy and you start out with low doses, they may not have an issue with it. I think it just depends on the individual and their history. Hope that helps answer your questions Franchesca!

          • Franchesca says:

            It does! You’re awesome…thank you, Megan. One more thing: When you say you start out with low doses, does that mean you gradually increase as the weeks go by? Or overall it’s a low dosage of herbs?

  8. Marcee Garland says:

    Just so you know, your body knows just what to do. It can get you through your pregnancy and labor with little help from you in the way of herbs or tincture as long as you are eating well, drinking plenty of water, getting light exercise. I would strongly discourage you from using any prep teas or tinctures before birth. Your uterus is an amazing muscle! And FWI stay away from all cervical checks as well as they are completely useless. I’m a practicing midwife with over 15 years experience.

    • Meagan says:

      Thanks so much, Marcee! I’ve tried different things with all of my births, and I’ve found that labor prep tea and the Gentle Birth formula have helped me more with my later pregnancies than the earlier ones. At least, I think so. I also love the After Pains tincture because I don’t want to take over-the-counter pain relievers, and it helps with that. I definitely appreciate you sharing your views and expertise as a midwife, and I totally agree that the body can totally do it on its own (and that cervical checks are not all that necessary). I do think it’s nice, however, to use natural methods to help with specific things if we so chose. Now that I’m past (I think) having babies, looking back, I’m happy with how my pregnancies and L&D’s have all gone. And, with all of my births, my midwife also told me that I didn’t “need” anything, but she was fine with me using what I chose. Thanks for your comment! I appreciate your voice!

  9. Katie says:

    How far in advance do you make your labor aid drink? I’m 5 weeks from my due date, and think this sounds awesome. But I’m just curious how long it will keep in the fridge?

    • Meagan says:

      I usually make it as soon as I know I’m in real labor. Tea normally lasts 3-5 days in the fridge so if I already have some red raspberry leaf tea that’s fresh enough, I’ll use it. If I don’t, I’ll brew up a new batch. It’s pretty quick and takes my mind off things. Hope that helps!

  10. Beth says:

    Hi I know this post is quiet old but came across it because my 2nd baby is due today and I am a bit stressed with anticipation! Last week when my hubby saw my hospital bag and all the herbs I want to take he vetoed it, claiming I am taking too much. So I am re-planning. I oak only taking lavender red raspberry leave and chamomile with me. I think it might be too late to go my my local herb show and get stuff for the hydration drink you recommend. What do you feel about plain coconut water? I was also planning on taking that. Lastly, have you heard of Dr Christopher’s herbal legacy? They have a gentle birth prep formula in capsules. I’m taking that. But its a bit expensive. Next time ill look into mountain rose’s formula.

    • Meagan says:

      Coconut water can be used as it contains minerals and is commonly used for hydration. And yes, I’ve heard great things about Dr. Christopher’s products. I’ve never used them, but I wouldn’t hesitate to. Best of luck with your labor and delivery!

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