41 and 3

TBT to when I was 41 weeks and 3 days overdue. Man what a wild ride I was about to endure...Here are some labor prep tips below!

Yes – I’m still pregnant! My midwife keeps telling me to be patient and they will come when they want. I’ll show you patience, ladies!?! I’ve cleaned my bathroom floor about 6 times in 10 days. Now that’s just plain weird. Talk about nesting…lets get on with the show baby Smitty!?

I wanted to share what I have done to help prep the ol’ bod for labor thus far.

1. Acupuncture – Starting at 38 weeks I started receiving acupuncture treatments from a good friend and fellow naturopath. Through manipulating energy (known as ‘qi’) within the body, acupuncture works to stimulate the body’s immune, nervous and endocrine system to return the body to its homeostatic state. Specifically acupuncture can tone the uterus, can help turn the baby into the correct position, as well as de-stress the mamma ie prepare me for labor!

Starting at 39.5 weeks we changed my protocol to include all points that are ‘contraindicated during pregnancy’ (ie lets get this baby out!) By stimulating these points, the body releases prostaglandins (pg’s) and oxytocin. PG’s soften and ripen the cervix for labor whereas oxytocin is the hormone that causes the uterus to contract. 

2. Homeopathic remedies – Homeopathy works by way of a ‘like cures like’ method. A remedy is given to match the symptoms of an individual thereby encouraging the body (in this case) to bring on labor! The preparation I made had a combination of remedies that help support a variety of aspects of labor such as fear and anticipatory anxiety, toning the uterus, providing energy, and to encourage contractions to continue once they have started. This mixture is made in a low potency - the lower the potency, the more it works on the physical aspects of the body.

3. Exercise – I’ve been walking a lot and every so often I stop on the path and do some mad lunging…I look very odd, to say the least. But I mean, come on now, whatever works! In all seriousness, exercise helps to increase circulation in the body, which will then get things moving! Lunges specifically help to align the pelvis to encourage the baby’s head to engage.

Similarly, I have been bouncing on a big pink Swedish ball a few times a day. Again this helps to encourage baby’s head to engage.

4. Osteopathic care – This is one of my favorite physical modalities especially for pre and postnatal care. The practice includes gentle manipulation of tendons, ligaments, bones, muscles and organs. It works to align your body including your organs such that they function in an optimal state. Back in university I injured my sacro-iliac joint (hip). Due to my ignorance and persevering through pain (read: bone-head move) I turned the injury chronic and therefore the joint itself, feels ‘stuck’ every so often. Due to the chronic nature of the injury, it affects my intestinal tract as well. I wanted to make sure that my hip was going to be in good shape heading into a possible marathon labor. I started going to the osteopath at four months and have increased my visits towards the end of my pregnancy.

5. 
Evening primrose oil (EPO) – towards the end of pregnancy EPO has been shown to release prostaglandins that help to thin the cervix. I started taking this orally at 36 weeks and have used suppositories every night since 39.5 weeks. As the cervix becomes dilated, its one of many things that may induce labor.

6. Rubus Idaeus – this delicious tasting herb (red raspberry!) is used to tone the uterus. As the uterus is a muscle and about to do the biggest work out of its life, it needs all the help it can get! I’ve been drinking copious amounts of this tea, I’m surprised I’m not red!

7. 
From an emotional standpoint I’ve been working on the letting go process (check out last blog post). I do believe, on a certain level, that I’m not letting go…I’m still trying to figure this out. When I’m falling asleep at night I visualize relaxing my pelvic floor and bringing in nurturing light. My color is aqua blue. Sometimes yellow. 

At the end of the day, I feel like it comes down to two things. One – there is hundreds of factors that play a role in the induction of labor – hundreds! So if ninety nine are in place and I do only one of the above seven things, that may just tip me over the edge. I’ve decided to do all of the above in order to increase my chances.

Secondly and most importantly above all – I do believe babe will come when it wants to. That is definitely one thing I have trust in.

So – I wait. For one of the life's biggest events to unfold.