Preparing for birth can sometimes feel impossible with all of the things going on. As I was scrolling through the posts in our Facebook Community, I came across this post:
This post also made me want to address this question with top things to do to prepare for a VBAC.
We’re often asked HOW TO PREPARE YOUR BODY FOR A SUCCESSFUL VBAC. Here are a few tips and tricks:
1. GET A BOOK
If you only have time for one book, we highly suggest Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth (skip the first half of the book with birth stories, if you’re short on time and read the advice part). It is filled with incredible stories, stats, and more. If you’re interested in reading other books, here is a list of our favorites.
2. PRENATAL VITAMINS
Prenatal vitamins help nourish your body. Our favorites are from Needed (and we get 20% off with code VBAC20 just for our mamas). Pro tip: check your current prenatal vitamins: Did you know, 97% of mamas take prenatal vitamins, and yet 95% are depleted, so it is important to pick the right vitamin. I have seen a huge difference with my doula clients who take Needed prenatals.
3. RED RASPBERRY LEAF TEA
Drink 2-3 cups of Red Raspberry Leaf Tea each day – a cup for each trimester: 2 in the 2nd trimester and 3 in the third (bags we like here or if you prefer loose herbs here). Red raspberry leaf has been used medicinally since at least the sixth century. This is not something that will induce labor but will help tone the uterine wall and help it be more efficient when contractions do start.
5. WEBSTER-CERTIFIED CHIROPRACTOR
Webster-certified chiropractor can be a huge help in ensuring you are aligned and your baby is in the optimal position for labor (aka labor starts and progresses quickly). Extra Tip… If you haven’t been seeing one yet, we recommend you give this article a read. It is also a great idea to find a chiropractor that will be able to adjust you during labor if needed. We recently had the honor of having Dr. Elliot Berlin, one of the world’s best chiropractors on our podcast – give this episode a listen to learn more.
6. GET ON THE SAME PAGE WITH YOUR PARTNER
We truly believe that your partner’s buy-in on your birth plan can make a huge difference. If you haven’t taken our Parents How-to VBAC (or HBAC) course yet, now is the perfect time. Click here to register. We HIGHLY recommend taking it together with your partner. It is a 6-8 hour self-paced course filled with the history, uterine rupture rates, VBAC/VBAMC/HBAC stats, how to support a VBAC mom during birth and so much more.
7. CONSIDER DR.CHRISTOPHER BIRTH PREP
Look into Dr. Christopher Birth Prep (definitely talk to your doctor about this one!). It’s not right for everyone, but some women of strength reported great success by taking this supplement starting at 34 weeks. After research and discussing with my midwife, I decided to take it with my VBA2C baby – I think that truly helped me avoid tearing. It is known to help with elasticity or perineum and helps prep/soften the cervix.
8. CONSIDER BREAST/NIPPLE STIMULATION
There is some evidence that breast/nipple stimulation can help get your cervix softened (helps with effacement too). We love hand nipple stimulation for a couple of reasons:
1) Expressing colostrum (we love these containers and this video for teaching you how to hand express). It’s also a great way to have that magic gold while you are recovering from birth, and working on your milk coming in. It can even help your partner bond with your baby while feeding them your frozen colostrum. You can freeze colostrum once it is collected. Your body produces colostrum from around 24 weeks, so it’s safe to collect and freeze colostrum if you are leaking but be sure not to do stimulation until your provider says it’s safe or your baby is at least at term. Start gently and slowly, eventually, you could be expressing at least once daily for 3-5 minutes (frozen colostrum needs to be used within 3 months).
2) Nipple stimulation can act as a self induction method if you are facing a scheduled CS or Induction.
3) Many women report that expressing colostrum also helped them understand milk production and their breasts better, which in turn helped them with breastfeeding, once the baby is here.
9. WALK WALK WALK WALK
Spinning babies (we’re big fans over here!) recommends walking 3 miles daily. This can help you prepare for birth and encourage your baby to get in the optimal position for labor. I know it can be very hard to find the time and energy to do this. I had a talk with my husband and asked him to support and encourage me in this effort. It was my time after my babies were asleep to talk to my baby in my belly, listen to my VBAC Link Podcast stories and just be. So often, we are on the go go go, and it’s hard to find time to mentally prepare for birth. Walking 3 miles (3-5 times per week) was my way of creating this mental and physical space for my birth and prioritizing me and my baby.
10. SUNSCREEN WITH ZINC HELPS MINIMIZE MELASMA
Get sunscreen with zinc to avoid melasma during pregnancy. Our bodies can be super sensitive to the sun during pregnancy. Our favorites are this one, this one, and this one, but any sunscreen with zinc is a great idea for at least the duration of your pregnancy. We encourage all VBAC mamas to use sunscreen with zinc. The benefits of zinc are well-researched. Zinc oxide, unlike other chemical sunscreens, doesn’t absorb into the skin and sits on the surface, protecting you from the sun damage and skin cancer.
I will leave you today with this reminder and an affirmation:
We’re so grateful to be on this journey with you! We love seeing and sharing your stories!
Don’t forget to join our Facebook community, follow-us on Instagram, check out our Parents VBAC and HBAC Education course, and give our podcast a listen where other incredible women share their VBAC journeys.