Preparing the Body for Labor at 36 Weeks
It's baby time! At 36 weeks, this is an excellent time to get serious about helping to prepare for a smooth and healthy delivery. More and more women are choosing natural birth and hoping to avoid the dangers of birth-related interventions such as synthetic drugs, forced inductions, unnecessary c-sections and the list goes on. Whether you are choosing to give birth in the comfort of your home, a birth center or choosing a natural birth in the hospital, we want you to have some tools in your tool belt to ensure a great experience.
There are three important areas that you should focus on to prepare the body for labor: toning the uterus, healthy birth hormones, and Vitamin K levels.
You can use herbs, essential oils, vitamins, and other natural remedies to help prepare the uterus, ripen the cervix, relax the body and support healthy blood clotting in both mom and baby. We are confident the tips below will help because women have used them for centuries.
Preparing the Uterus
- The best uterine tonic herbs are red raspberry and stinging nettle which can be taken in capsule, tea, or tincture form. However, there are many important factors to help ensure a smooth delivery which can be supported by other great herbs and formulas. Birth-Prep formula by Dr. Christopher is our favorite because it includes red raspberry and stinging nettle along with several other beneficial herbs. We recommend that women start taking this at 36 weeks to help prepare the uterus for delivery. Below are the herbs found in this formula that have been used successfully by thousands of women.
- Squaw Vine Herb - Used by Native Americans and "among the best remedies for preparing the uterus and whole body for childbirth." Recommended for use during the weeks before one's estimated due date. Also useful in the relief of painful menstruation (dysmenorrhea). When used in preparations for labor, combine with red raspberry leaf.
- Holy Thistle (also known as Blessed Thistle) - A digestive acid which "increases gastric and bile secretions." Its use in pregnant women can be traced to its "benefit in… dyspepsia and indigestion,.. with a role in any disease of the digestive system which is accompanied by wind and colic".
- Black Cohosh Root - Used by Native Americans, the Black Cohosh root "has a most powerful action as a relaxant and a normalizer on the female reproductive system." Also useful in dysmenorrhea relief. Its usefulness in labor is to "aid uterine activity while allaying nervousness."
- Pennyroyal Herb - Strengthens uterine contractions, eases flatulence. Similar, but stronger than black cohosh, it relieves "spasmodic" (cramping) pain while promoting contractions.
- False Unicorn Root - Another native American herb and "one of the best tonics and strengtheners of the reproductive system that we have." Normalizes hormone function, used to prevent threatened miscarriage, and ease morning sickness vomiting.
- Red Raspberry Leaf - Used to strengthen and tone the uterus, thereby easing labor and preventing hemorrhage. Prepares the muscles for efficient labor. This herb should regularly be taken during pregnancy, especially during labor.
- Lobelia Inflata Herb - This anti-spasmodic is ideal for relaxing the uterine muscles that keep the cervix rigid. From King's American Dispensatory: "The powerful relaxant properties of lobelia render it a very efficient agent in several conditions, whose chief feature is the spasmodic element. . . . Lobelia is of value in obstetrical practice. It powerfully subdues muscular rigidity. It is the remedy to overcome a rigid os uteri during parturition, and at the same time it relaxes the perineal tissues."
Prostaglandins and Oxytocin are critical hormones for delivery because they are essential hormones for life and the birth process. Unfortunately, synthetic versions are used in hospitals causing great harm and damage to women and babies. They often lead to unnecessary c-sections and other complications. We urge you to weigh the risks and search the dangers of using drugs like Pitocin (synthetic oxytocin) and Cytotec or Cervidil (synthetic prostaglandins) before taking them. Here are the top ways you can naturally increase these hormones safely.
- Sex - Semen contains natural prostaglandins that help ripen the cervix to prepare for birth. Couples can safely have sex up until the birth, and when labor is imminent, many women have been able to transition smoothly into labor after having sex. An orgasm also causes the release of oxytocin, which is the love and bonding hormone.
- Evening Primrose Oil - This should be taken starting at 36 weeks to help ripen the cervix. Take 500mg twice daily up until labor.
- Sleep & Stress - If you're stressed or not getting enough sleep, you can throw off the hormones in your body. This can be challenging in the last trimester as you are trying to prepare for your new baby and your body is expanding in ways you didn't think possible. Try to get rid of any of the unnecessary stress out of your life. Slow down and take time for yourself. If you need a little assistance with relaxing or sleeping we highly recommend:
Building Vitamin K in the body will minimize postpartum bleeding in mom and will help with blood clotting for baby as newborns will not start producing vitamin K on their own until 8 days old.
- Nettle, kelp, alfalfa, and dark, leafy greens are a good source of vitamin K and can be easily added into your daily diet. The best way to ensure you're getting enough is by taking 4,000mg of Alfalfa daily. You can add alfalfa powder to a juice or smoothie each morning. We like it best with pineapple juice. Start taking alfalfa in the last trimester of pregnancy and carry it through for the first few weeks of birth.
- Bio-K Mulsion by Biotics Research is a good option for both mother and baby if there is an urgent concern that vitamin K levels are too low. The baby can take drops by mouth as an alternative to the synthetic vitamin K shot.