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3rd Trimester-Preparing for Natural Labor

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pregnancy

To say this pregnancy has been different then my first is an under statement. I’ll give a little bit of a background of the last 30ish weeks.

With my daughter, I had minimal symptoms.  I think the worst one I remember was heartburn…which could be an indication as to why she was born with a TON of hair! In the last few weeks I had a little sciatica towards the very end.

With this pregnancy, the first few weeks were riddled with bleeding. Having had a recent miscarriage, my hopes weren’t high.  After an ultrasound, there was a sac but no fetal pole, heartbeat or evidence that there was a baby. Things didn’t look good and the midwife suspected a blighted ovum, which is when an egg is fertilized but no baby develops. I spent the next couple of days getting blood draws to measure HCG levels (which didn’t look promising), with more intermittent bleeding.  The week ended with an ER visit with midwife suspecting a miscarriage.  Let me tell you the hospital ER on a full moon Friday is an interesting place… But when the ultrasound tech called me back earlier than I suspected I couldn’t be more ecstatic and nervous at the same time.  Imagine my relief when I saw a little heartbeat on the ultrasound machine! Ahh yes! An answer to prayer!

I spent the next few hours in the ER with more blood work and doctors’ exams.  The doctors told me I had a subchorionic hemorrhage and had a threatened miscarriage but I felt I had just lived through the worst part.  Being that the baby only measured 6 weeks, I knew that wasn’t true but at least there was hope that a baby could survive. I was told to ‘take it easy and stay off my feet as much as possible.” Hard to do with my job as an occupational therapist and mother of a 2.5 year old but the next few weeks I had intermittent bleeding which then resolved and the lovely 8 week mark (where I’ve miscarried 2 previous babies) passed and then 12 week mark passed (what people consider to be the danger zone). I felt things were good.  With my daughter I had felt only fatigue in the first few months so the minimal nausea I felt was a very reassuring feeling during this time.

At my 19 week ultrasound, the hemorrhage had absorbed but the placenta didn’t look “great.”  The doctors said it didn’t look awful just wasn’t exactly what they like to see. Yes, one more thing to make this pregnancy different.  It did ultimately get us another scan at 28 weeks to make sure the baby is growing well, and he’s actually a head of where he should be so now there is possible concern he’s growing too fast. Geez, little man! Let’s get a break here!

Shortly after about 18-20 weeks, I started to get sciatica pain.  It started slowly and then just got worse and worse. I didn’t feel pain all of the time, but when I did, it would make it hard to put weight on the leg and  made my leg buckle from underneath me.  There were quite a few times I had near falls and many days when I’d get home from work and couldn’t move because the pain was so bad. I tried chiropractic and a few days later had bleeding so I put it on hold.  I was evaluated by an orthopedist, who confirmed that she thought it should resolve post delivery.  An osteopath started giving me manipulations and also confirmed my hip was out of alignment (similar to what the PT had told me as well).

Needless to say, between the “light duty” in the beginning and the pain for the last few months, I haven’t been super active physically nor focused on preparing for labor.  So now that I’m hitting 30 weeks, it’s become acutely aware that labor is most likely going to sneak up on my and I’ll be unprepared. My body doesn’t feel the same as it did when  I was pregnant with my daughter. Yes, I have the fact that it’s experienced labor and delivered successfully once before but with my daughter I was working full time as an OT in an acute care setting, thus moving patients all day long.  Then, my husband and I would go for long walks each evening.  Now, when I go for a half mile walk around the block, my hip begins to pinch off my nerve.

The next 10 weeks (or hopefully less) are my down to the grind, labor preparation weeks. With my daughter I had a posterior delivery with lots of back pain.  From my research, both my right hip position, history of posterior delivery, and anterior placenta, there is lots of preparation I can do to make my natural delivery as smooth as possible.  The pain and malposition of my hip could be detrimental to a smooth and easy delivery.  I want to make sure my hips and body are as mobile and fit as they could possible be before I hit the ground running with that first contraction.  I wish I had learned some of this prior to my last delivery.  That’s why I’m sharing it with all of you! Regardless,  each person could benefit from stretching, movement, and aligning the body to put the baby and mom in the best positions for birth (before and during labor).  I highly recommend reading Spinning Babies if you want more information.

Supplements

  • I’m continuing my vitamin routine of prenatals Omegas, Probiotics, and calcium.
  • This week I started taking Red Raspberry Leaf capsules for uterine toning.  I had read that people haven’t had as much success with the tea vs taking the capsules.
  • With my daughter I used Evening Primrose Oil in the last month but after some more research, I probably won’t do it this time around. (Studies have shown high risks with little to no benefits).—update. After more research and talking with a few people (including my naturopath), I decided to take it during this pregnancy as well.
  • I had read a little info about using Alfalfa with my daughter but never did much research and thus never did it.  This time, I’m planning to add it to my regime in the next few months.  It appears that it can be helpful for blood pressure, vitamin K levels, blood clotting and more.

Essential Oils

  • I’ve been putting together an essential oils labor kit. Here are the things I would like to have ready. I won’t necessarily use all these oils but I’d like to be able to access them if I so desired. I have quite a few of these oils. Not sure if I’ll purchase them all but wanted to give you options if you had one but not another. You can most certainly buy many of these oils at your local healthfood store, however, I will let you know I’ve seen people not find them to be as effective, and there are no requirements to how pure the oil is and as to whether or not there are other fillers (or possible toxins) in those oils.  Also, research on how to use each oil during labor.  Frequency and quantity are two important aspects to making essential oils safe and effective.  I bolded my most important ones.
  1. Clary Sage
  2. Grounding or calming blends
  3. Peppermint, Wild Orange, or Joyful blend
  4. Peppermint, Basil, Black Pepper, or Soothing blend
  5. Lavender
  6. Clary Sage and Geranium or Helichrysum
  7. Geranium
  8. Helichrysm
  9. Frankincense
  10. Ylang Ylang
  11. Here’s a blend of oils I found to make a massage during labor
  • 6 drops Ylang Ylang
  • 4 drops helichrysum
  • 4 drops fennel
  • 3 drops Clary Sage
  • 2 drops peppermint
  • 2 tablespoons Carrier oil

Exercises

  • After lots of research on Spinningbabies.com, I’ve started the following exercises on a daily basis (see their website for details).
  1. Inversion
  2. Pelvic rocking
  3. Hip opener-4 clover
  4. Pelvic Floor release
  • I’ve also been incorporating a few other exercises from my various doctors or research
  1. Bridging
  2. 4 clover with rotation
  3. Using theraband or tennis ball doing hip abductor or adductor exercises
  4. Squats
  5. Tailor sitting and butterfly stretching
  6. Yoga moves, including downward dog, warriors, triangle, etc. Lots of hip stretching exercises.
  7. Kegels
  8. Walking- while currently this oftentimes aggravates my sciatica, my doctors keep reassuring me that it will help in the long run.  I know I walked a TON when I was pregnant with my daughter and feel it probably helped delivery a lot.
  9. I’d also recommend a prenatal program that you can access during pregnancy and then have access too all kinds of other programs for post delivery (that you can do at home with baby), like this one
  • I’ve been diligent about trying to keep my body in a position to allow gravity and my hips position to prepare our baby for delivery. When sitting, I attempt to not allow my lumbar spine to round, creating posterior tilted hips.  Instead I try to maintain the natural lumbar positioning, spreading my legs slightly to allow my belly to sink between my hips slightly.  I’ve also been pretty diligent about not lying on my back or lying backwards at all.  When lying, I try to stay on my right or left.
  • Continuing with my osteopathic manipulations and may considered chiropractic again as we get closer to term.
  • Within the next few weeks, I’m going to be more diligent about determining my baby’s own position.  There are lots of places online that will teach you how to determine where your baby is located.  It is empowering for a mother or other caregiver to be able to determine this rather than relying on just midwife or doctors’ visits.  Currently, I’m pretty sure I know where my baby is at but there are some parts I’m not sure about and times when he sort of confuses me.  So either he’s moving into different positions, or  I haven’t correctly identified body parts yet.  However, as he gets a little bigger it should become easier to identify. There is more to a smooth labor than just head up or breech.

Emotional/Spiritual

 

  • I read so many books when I was pregnant with my daughter. This time around, I haven’t read any. But the one I know I want to reread is Supernatural Childbirth. I had planned to make an audio recording of me reading some of the scriptures and other passages so that I could listen to it before and during birth.  However, a friend recommended a CD called Childbirth in the Glory so I may try that one.
  • It has really been on my heart to have my daughter at this birth.  I know she’s only 2.5 but still feel pretty strongly about it.  Her pediatrician recommended it and it just keeps feeling more and more right.  Thus, I’ve started watching and talking through natural birth videos I find on you tube with her. It’s been interesting to hear how her little mind works and see how interested she is in the whole process.  After the first few, I let her watch some of the clips from her birth and she was even more intrigued, even today asking if we could watch the videos of me giving birth again.
  • Additionally, we’ve been reading lots of books about what it will be like when the baby comes home.  She LOVES it and it makes me so excited to see how God is going to use her in this time of transition.  My husband and I have talked a lot about how we’re not even wanting to suggest any sort of sibling rivalry or jealousy. We’re praying for peace and setting up the opportunity for her to be involved and be helpful. Some of her favorites have been the following.  We borrow from the library so I’ll add as we find others she likes!
  1. Hello Baby
  2. Big Sisters are the Best
  3. What Baby Needs
  4. Waiting for Baby
  • Along with the books, I really haven’t found any that I feel will help prepare her for witnessing birth and all that it entails.  Therefore, I’ve started to write her my own.  I just need to finish it and see if I can find someone who might have a little more artistic talent than me to draw for it.

Household

  • With my daughter I made a few freezer meals and it was so helpful! I’ll get that started soon too. I’ll share some of my recipes as the come. This Green Chile soup is a great one.
  • The nesting has begun. I’ve cleaned out both bathroom cupboards and drawers. I have a list of other random areas I want to clean (like the spice cupboard–really? but I’m just itching to do it).
  • I should maybe start collecting some boys clothes and things.  Haha, I’ve cleaned out all my girls clothes but haven’t replaced them yet.  I guess at least a few onesies will do! And maybe some socks since his due date is in February.

Well, there you have it. My sort of plan for the next few months. I”m sure it will change as time goes on too.

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