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  • Writer's pictureMama Witzig

10 ways to prepare for labor

Updated: Apr 15

Preparing your body for labor is a crucial step towards a smooth and healthy childbirth experience. As an expectant mom, there are various ways you can proactively get your body ready for the upcoming journey. By following a few simple tips, you can enhance your physical and mental well-being, reduce anxiety, and increase your chances of a positive birth experience. This blog post will guide you through some essential practices to help you prepare your body for the incredible miracle of birth.

1. Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle:

a platter of healthy fresh fruits, vegetables, and salmon

Nourishing your body with a balanced diet is key during pregnancy. Incorporate foods rich in nutrients, such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Avoid processed foods, excessive caffeine, and sugary beverages. Take a prenatal vitamin to supplement your diet.

2. Exercise & Stretch:

pregnant woman doing bridge yoga pose

Engaging in moderate exercise during pregnancy can boost your strength, endurance, and overall well-being. Exercise improves blood circulation, strengthens muscles necessary for labor, and helps maintain a healthy weight. Here are some at home workout videos to get you started. Consult with your healthcare provider to determine which exercises are safe for you and explore activities like prenatal yoga, swimming, walking, or low-impact aerobics.

3. Practice Pelvic Floor Exercises:

pregnany woman sitting butterfly pose on a yoga mat holding her belly

Pelvic floor exercises, also known as Kegels, can help strengthen the muscles that support your bladder, uterus, and bowels. Regularly performing these exercises can enhance your control over these muscles and facilitate an easier labor and recovery after childbirth. To do Kegels, simply contract and relax the pelvic floor muscles as if you were trying to stop the flow of urine midstream.

4. Attend Childbirth Classes:

expectant couple looking at and holding woman's pregnant belly

Enroll in childbirth classes offered by your healthcare provider or local community organizations. These classes provide valuable information about labor stages, pain management techniques, breathing exercises, and various birthing positions. Attending these classes will empower you with knowledge, increase your confidence, and help you understand what to expect during labor.

5. Practice Relaxation Techniques:

pregnant woman meditating outside on a warm sunny beach

Learning relaxation techniques can help you manage pain, reduce anxiety, and maintain a calm and focused mindset during labor. Techniques such as deep breathing exercises, visualization, mindfulness meditation, and using soothing music can all contribute to a more relaxed and comfortable birthing experience. Practice these techniques regularly leading up to your due date.

6. Create a Birth Plan:

pregnant woman discussing with her doctor

Creating a birth plan allows you to communicate your preferences and desires for labor and delivery to your healthcare team. It ensures that your voice is heard and respected during this transformative experience. Discuss your birth plan with your healthcare provider, include your chosen support person, and be open to adjustments if needed during labor.

Third Trimester Preparation

The next four ways to prepare for labor are recommended for the third trimester.

7. Bounce on a yoga ball:

pregnant woman sitting on a yoga/exercise/birthing ball
  • Bouncing on a yoga ball can encourage the baby to move into the optimal position for childbirth, with the baby's head downward and facing the mother's back (vertex presentation). The gentle bouncing motion can create a gravitational pull and provide a sense of space for the baby to maneuver into the correct position.

  • Bouncing gently on a yoga ball can engage and strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor. This can be particularly beneficial during the third trimester when the weight of the baby puts increased pressure on the pelvic area. Strengthening the pelvic floor muscles may help improve overall pelvic support and help prevent issues such as urinary incontinence.

  • The bouncing motion on a yoga ball can offer relief from common discomforts experienced during the third trimester, such as back pain, pelvic pain, and swelling. It can provide a gentle form of exercise, helping to relieve tension and improve circulation. Sitting on a yoga ball can also promote relaxation and provide a comfortable seating option during pregnancy. The gentle bouncing or rocking motion can have a soothing effect, reducing stress and promoting a sense of calm.

  • And don't stop when the contraction start! During labor bouncing on a yoga ball may help stimulate contractions and encourage labor progression. The rhythmic bouncing motion can assist in opening the pelvis, promoting the baby's descent into the birth canal. It may also help with the engagement of the baby's head and the effacement and dilation of the cervix.

herbal tea
  • Red raspberry leaf is believed to act as a uterine tonic, which may help tone and strengthen the uterine muscles. This can be beneficial in late pregnancy by promoting efficient contractions during labor and potentially reducing the risk of prolonged labor or stalled progress.

  • The consumption of red raspberry leaf tea is also thought to support cervical ripening, which is the softening and thinning of the cervix in preparation for labor, which can potentially facilitate an easier and smoother birthing process. Red raspberry leaf tea is also nutrient-rich, containing a variety of nutrients, including vitamins C, E, and B as well as calcium, iron, and magnesium.

9. Eat Dates

dried dates

Eat 4-6 dates per day starting at around 36 weeks.

  • Several studies suggest that eating dates in the later stages of pregnancy may promote cervical ripening, reduce the need for labor induction, and lead to shorter labor duration.

  • It is believed that dates help stimulate uterine contractions and support the natural progression of labor.

  • Dates are also rich in essential nutrients and vitamins, containing significant amounts of fiber, potassium, magnesium, and vitamin K.

  • Pregnancy hormones can sometimes lead to constipation and digestive discomfort. Dates are high in fiber, which can help alleviate constipation and promote regular bowel movements.

  • Dates are naturally low in sodium and high in potassium, a winning combination that can help maintain healthy blood pressure levels during pregnancy, and reduce the risk of developing conditions like preeclampsia.

  • Additionally, dates are a good source of antioxidants, such as flavonoids and carotenoids, which help protect cells from damage.

10. Engage in Perineal Massage:

pregnant woman laying on bed, holding belly
  • Perineal massage involves gently stretching the tissues between the vagina and anus to increase flexibility and reduce the risk of tearing during delivery.

  • Consult your healthcare provider for guidance on how to perform perineal massage safely.

  • Regular perineal massage in the weeks leading up to labor can help prepare the area for childbirth and potentially reduce the need for episiotomy or severe tearing.

  • If you feel comfortable with it, this is an activity your partner can help you with.


Preparing your body for labor is an important part of your pregnancy journey. By following these tips focused on maintaining a healthy lifestyle, creating a plan, and preparing your mind and body for labor, you'll be better equipped for the birthing process. Remember, every pregnancy and labor experience is unique, so consult with your healthcare provider for personalized advice and before making any changes to diet or exercise routines. Embrace this incredible journey with confidence, trust in your body's abilities, and cherish the upcoming miracle of birth.

All the products recommended here have been vetted by us in our own parenting experiences. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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