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How To Get Ready For Labour and the Joy Of Your New Baby?

The last few weeks of pregnancy are filled with excitement, anticipation, anxiety, impatience, or all of the above!

You have made it this far and can hardly wait to meet your new bundle of joy. This is the point where you begin to prepare for your pregnancy journey to close and to begin your newborn postpartum journey.

You may be wondering how you can kickstart this labour process naturally or what you really need to bring with you to the hospital. The late third trimester is a great time to start preparing for the labour and birth itself.

Here are my top tips for kickstarting labour:

1. Hand expression/Nipple Stimulation

Not only does nipple stimulation release oxytocin which is the same hormone responsible for uterine contractions, but it will also help you to produce more colostrum and milk.

Starting at 36 weeks you can begin hand expressing 2-3 times a day for 5 minutes at a time. If you are able to release some colostrum, collect it in a syringe and freeze it for use when the baby is born! This is especially helpful if there are any difficulties latching or if the baby has low sugar, you can opt to use the saved breast milk instead of formula should you choose.

2. Walking

Walking and movement use gravity to help open and make space in your pelvis to bring the baby lower. If you are feeling up to it, try walking up and down some stairs with a railing to hold onto or try “curb walking” where one foot is on the curb and one is on the ground to further open the pelvis.

3. Acupuncture & Chiropractic Work

Definitely worth a try!

Studies suggest that there are induction or prenatal points on the low back, shoulders, feet and hands that can be effective for inducing labour, while also promoting wellness and relaxation. Treatments vary between 1-8 sessions.

4. Sex

Sex also stimulates the release of oxytocin to help induce uterine contractions. Additionally, if you are having sex with a male, the semen has prostaglandins that can help soften the cervix. So if you are feeling up to it, your water hasn’t broken and sexual intercourse is approved by your doctor it is definitely worth a try!

Spicy foods and herbals/teas have not been proven to help induce labour, speak to your provider if you are interested in trying a herbal tea as some are not well studied or may be not recommended by your doctor.

Next, let's discuss what you might need to prepare for when labour begins.

Even if you are having a home birth, it is a good idea to pack a bag just in case you need to go to the hospital. Making a packing list ahead of time is a recommendation I would make for all mamas as everyone’s list may look a little bit different depending on your unique needs and preferences. You may find a lot of “what to pack in your hospital bag” guides out there, but what ends up in the bag is ultimately up to you.

I have put together a list of recommendations based on the hundreds of births I have been a part of and from feedback from mamas based on what they wish they would’ve had!

For mom, we recommend:

  • robe/nursing pajamas

  • going home outfit (something that fits at 6 months pregnant)

  • comfortable underwear (that are high rise and full bum!)

  • slippers/warm socks

  • nursing bra

  • nursing pads

  • lip balm

  • personal pillow

  • toiletries (shampoo, hairbrush, hair tie, deodorant, face wash, toothbrush, toothpaste)

  • contact lenses/glasses & case

  • birth preference form (if completed)

  • cell phone & charger (long cord to reach the bed)

  • water bottle

  • gum / mints / snacks / drinks

  • flip flops (for shower)

  • laundry bag for dirty clothes

  • Heating pad and extension cord

  • Padsicles

  • Frozen colostrum from hand expressed breast milk if you have collected any

For the partner/support person, important items to have include:

  • relevant health insurance info (provincial, private)

  • pillow & blanket

  • bathing suit (if planning to use tub/shower with birthing mama)

  • phone & charger

  • flip flops and/or slippers

  • toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, etc.)

  • contact lenses/glasses & case

  • change of clothes

For baby, we suggest packing:

  • an outfit to wear home (1-2 onesies or sleepers)

  • hat

  • infant car seat

  • Barrier/bum cream

  • Nail clippers

  • Pacifier if you wish to use one

  • diapers & wipes will likely be provided to you at the hospital so don’t worry about bringing many baby supplies!

Nice to have items include:

  • a portable speaker to play relaxing / soothing music

  • nipple balm - a personal favourite product is Earth Mama Nipple Balm

  • Breastfeeding pillow

  • massage/essential oils

If you’re looking for extra support as you get ready to welcome your new baby book a complimentary 15-minute call to explore how we can support you.

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