A vaginal delivery, often called a “normal” delivery, is one with no surgery involved.
The last few weeks of pregnancy can be both anxious and exciting. You may be feeling large, uncomfortable, and ready to meet your baby. Chances are you are also wondering what you can do to help ensure a vaginal or normal delivery.
While there is no guarantee that everything will go perfectly, there are certain things you can do to increase the chances of having a vaginal delivery, especially one with less tears and fewer stitches. These include paying attention to your diet, getting regular exercise, and practicing good perineal care.
Read on for more details about each of these measures and how they can help reduce the risk of complications during childbirth.
Get enough rest and sleep during the third trimester
Making sure you're getting enough sleep and rest during your third trimester is an important step for having a healthy vaginal delivery. Sleeping, resting, and being mindful of sleep positions are key in helping to repair and heal your body. Try to get eight hours of sleep each night. Start by disconnecting from your phone at least an hour before you go to bed. Avoid sleep positions that can cause issues with blood circulation such as lying on the back or right side. Instead, sleep on your left side if you can, to maximize blood flow and circulation.
Also take breaks throughout the day if needed to give yourself time to lie down or even nap—it'll make a world of difference in keeping your body healthy leading up to delivery. Finally, if you do wake up at night (let’s say to use the bathroom), don’t check your phone.
Do your best to remain in sleep-mode!
Eat healthy foods and stay hydrated
During the third trimester of pregnancy, it is especially important to maintain a diet rich in healthy foods and drinks. This will help your baby grow and develop as normal. Eating nutrient-rich foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean proteins can provide the necessary building blocks for your unborn child's health and growth. Stay hydrated by drinking enough water throughout the day; dehydration can have serious consequences not only for you but your baby, too. Avoid alcohol and those foods your doctor prohibits. Eating right and staying hydrated are two of the best practices that you can incorporate during this time—simple habits that can stack the deck toward a normal delivery.
Exercise during the third trimester of your pregnancy is one of the best ways to ensure a normal delivery. Evidence suggests that regular exercise helps improve blood circulation throughout your body and increases the amount of oxygen available to your perineum, which is integral for a vaginal delivery. Furthermore, simple exercises such as walking, prenatal yoga, and other perineal exercises can help you stay fit for labor, as well as strengthening your perineum and abdominal muscles—both crucial for pushing. Kegel exercises are particularly important to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, but if you find them difficult, look for alternative techniques that still offer those same benefits. Exercise plays an important role in helping to prepare your body for childbirth, so make sure to fit it into your daily routine.
Educate yourself about childbirth
In the last three months of pregnancy, it's important to take the time to educate yourself on childbirth. One of the best ways to do this is to attend birth preparation classes (take an online birth preparation class if an in-person one is not right for you) or do hypnobirthing. These classes focus on valuable information about birth, including breathing techniques, how to manage labor pain, and birth positioning. Through birth preparation classes you can gain knowledge that will help you make informed decisions during your birth journey and empower yourself in the process. Additionally, birth preparation classes can also provide a much-needed emotional support system throughout the birthing process.
Please stay away from information overload and horror stories about childbirth!
Attend prenatal appointments
With the third trimester now here, it is essential you attend your prenatal appointments. Your healthcare provider will take various measurements and tests to determine how the pregnancy is progressing, while also checking to ensure that both you and the baby are safe. Attending all prenatal appointments helps your doctor understand the health of both you and your baby, so they can provide better care as well as prepare you for labor and delivery.
Prepare for delivery
As time grows short, preparing your body for childbirth is an important step in ensuring that the process is as smooth and comfortable as possible. One thing you can do is perineal massage with your preferred perineal massage oil. While there is no direct evidence that perineal massage increases the chances of vaginal delivery, it is shown to help to keep the perineum soft, expand elasticity, and prevent tearing during delivery by preparing the area to stretch more easily.
Follow your health team's advice
It is essential to follow your health team's advice during your third trimester. The medical professionals have years of experience, and they will have given you the best advice needed for your particular case to ensure a normal vaginal delivery. Doing what is suggested can potentially help minimize the tears and stitching and reduce the risk of any health complications that may arise during this crucial period: following instructions gives both mother and baby the best chance for a healthy delivery.
Follow these tips to increase the chances of a normal delivery
Rest, a balanced diet, and moderate exercise are key in the third trimester. These best practices will help you have a vaginal delivery. You should also avoid harmful substances, educate yourself about childbirth, and follow your health team's advice. Prepare for delivery by packing your hospital bag and knowing what to expect.
By following these tips, you can increase the odds of a normal delivery.