A COUPLE OF TRICKS HOPING TO GET LABOR STARTED
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Since a couple of weeks I've been experiencing pre-labor signs and discomforts such as losing my mucus plug, serious nesting, pelvic pressure, diarrhea, an increase in Braxton Hicks, menstrual-like cramps, lower back pains, general clumsiness (I bump into everything and I'm so clumsy!) and a couple more. 

Last Thursday I was a bit worried as I hadn't felt the baby the whole morning and I had severe back pains so we drove to the hospital for a check up at the monitor, as soon as the nurses hooked me up to the monitor the baby started moving fiercely, so typical! :-D Haha! Me and Abbas we laughed about it, we joked about it.. baby boy simply likes the attention of the nurses! :-) Everything was fine with the little one luckily and the nurse checked my cervix to see if there was an opening and it turns out was 1 cm dilated and about halfway effaced. It's a start! We weren't expecting that!

So we are curious how things will progress now. Some women walk around slowly dilating during a couple of weeks before giving birth and some go into labor pretty quickly, even in the same day or within a couple of days. There's no telling when it will happen!

Thursday night when I returned from the bathroom I had to stop walking because I felt a much more painful contraction than I had felt before. Nothing consistent yet but there's an increase in Braxton Hicks. I also feel them in my lower back since a couple of days. And I've felt the "Lightning Crotch" a couple of times a day now. 

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To think that baby's on the way to breathe in the beauty of life blows my mind. Not long now before we'll get to meet our little one and hold him close and admire him. We're both so in love already. 

I hope to have a positive birth experience, like every women out there. So I'm trying to prepare my body in the best, healthy way for labor.

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Today I am 38 weeks and 2 days pregnant, I can't believe I'm in week 39 already! He could come any minute now! I've started doing these birth preparing tricks (some daily) since Saturday last week (when I was exactly 37weeks). 

Disclaimer: Bare in mind to speak to your doctor before trying any of these tricks. I am not an expert, just a mommy-to-be sharing a couple of ideas that might help get labor started.

My gynecologist reassured me that I couldn't really do anything wrong by doing these tricks because she said that they could only have a positive effect on getting labor started, from the time that baby is ready to be born. As long as he's not ready to be born, tricks like these won't have a great effect. So that's good to keep in mind.

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So here are a couple of things I'm trying hoping to get labor started

Dates

I love dates, especially as a snack with a glass of cold milk. I have started eating about 7 dates a day. Dates have been proved to soften the cervix and they can have a positive effect on birth as they can shorten labor time by 8 hours. They're also an excellent choice for the feminine health

Pineapple

So far I've eaten about half a (fresh not canned, raw) pineapple every other day. I love pineapple the morning in my bowl of fruit and as a refreshing afternoon snack. Pineapple is said to stimulate contractions because of quinine which is naturally present within the core of the pineapple. Heads up ladies, don't throw away the core, it's the best part!

Tonic Water

It's the quinine in Tonic Water that's said to help stimulate contractions. Bare in mind that Tonic Water also contains lot's of sugar, it's not the healthiest option, so I have limited my daily intake to one small glass of tonic and this on days when I skip pineapple. 

Spicy Foods

As for spicy foods such as Indian and Thai cuisine stimulate (and to be honest can over-stimulate) your bowel movement and this can have an effect on the uterus and start contractions. But let's be honest, I wouldn't want to spend my last days of pregnancy stuck in the bathroom, so a little goes a long way as for spicy foods, am I right? Plus it's not a very good idea if you're still having heartburn like me. The other day I made a hot Pad Thai wok and I didn't have any digestive problems, maybe because I ate a greek yoghurt afterwards. I've found that this helps a ton when I suffer from heartburn. I can enjoy a spicy meal once in a while but I'm sane enough (read: not desperate enough haha!) not to go crazy with this trick. Certainly not daily!

Birthing ball exercise

This is a fun way to prepare the body for labor! Pre-pregnancy I loved to exercise on a daily basis, it was my morning routine to do some Pilates or Yoga and I've been missing it so bad. I had hoped to continue my routine during my pregnancy but I just wasn't into it. But now I'm nearing the end of this incredible journey, I feel more energized and positive to exercise. Since Saturday I've been doing some mild birthing ball exercises to which help prepare my body for labor, soften and open the cervix. All you need is (a Yoga mat) and a birthing ball to do these fun and mild exercises. This video is my go to, I do these exercises every morning, noon and evening now. I've also swapped my chair for my birthing ball when I'm blogging or watching tv, just bouncing slightly. The wiggling effect by bouncing on a birthing ball or by walking is also said to help to wiggle the baby into the pelvis, positioned for birth. 

Walking

Walking can benefit labor for several reasons. You're staying active and relaxed (body and mind) when you're walking around and the wiggling movement your body makes while walking can help to wiggle the baby into the pelvis which will stimulate dilation. 

Visualisation

'If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become it.' — William Arthur Ward

I believe in the power of visualizing anything you would love to achieve in life, whether it be career wise or on a personal level. Childbirth isn't any different, I have dreamed of our newborn a couple of days ago, playing with his little baby feet, fantasized about the first moments and year with baby and the adventures that await us, and I've even imagined giving birth. I imagine life as a family of 3 and I imagine myself as a mother, by doing this visualization, I open my mind for the possibilities and I feel positive and strong. Just how I want to start labor, with a positive attitude, seeing the beauty of it, knowing that the pain that comes with it is a positive one, accepting it and giving into the moment. I affirm myself: 'I trust my body will know how to give birth. I trust that I will be the best mother to my child'.

Relaxation

Staying relaxed, body and mind, is of such a big importance as stress will counter the effect of going into labor. So for me this means these last days or weeks are focused all around getting and staying relaxed as much as possible. Things that help me with this are: clearing my mind, having a clean and organized home, having things sorted out and relaxing my body by going on small walks, reading a bit, taking naps when I feel my body needs it, being creative, writing, blogging and enjoying social life with my partner and friends.

Getting Romantic

Last but not least. Romance is everything! Those last few weeks can be heavy and the waiting can seem endless but in the mean time we can make time to create romantic moments before baby's arrival. Being romantic will stimulate the 'love hormone', known as oxytocin. Oxytocin is known to stimulate contractions and is therefore beneficial for childbirth

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By the way - before I go .. I adore these images of my final days of pregnancy (images of last week, week 38), shot by my beloved husband and best friend Abbas Goudman. And this dress! I love it. I wore this maxi dress on our honeymoon in Bali last year and I'm so thrilled I can fit my bump in it because it really has special meaning to me. 

Tell me, what are you doing in the hopes of triggering labor? Any tricks that really didn't or did work for you? Share your story in the comments below! Look forward to it!

Xo Anaïs