Not to be too graphic, but your cervix is a bit like a peach. It needs to be soft and ripe to be ready for labor. I recommend to all of my birth clients that they start taking Evening Primrose oil capsules at 37 weeks of pregnancy. Evening Primrose contains a prostaglandin that helps your cervix to soften and become favorable for labor. If you are looking at a possible induction, Evening Primrose oil will make an induction much more likely to succeed. The capsules look like large vitamin E pills. They will not make you nauseous and can be taken on an empty stomach. I recommend you get capsules that are 1300 – 1500 mg and take three capsule daily starting at 37 weeks in your pregnancy. A side benefit is that your hair will be very shiny! At 39 weeks we recommend that you insert 3 capsules vaginally at bedtime. The capsules will completely dissolve. If your cervix is soft and ripe when your contractions start it will help to shorten the length of your labor. The uterus will no longer have to do the pre-work of softening the cervix and can move on to the business of opening the cervix and allowing you a glimpse of the precious baby you have waited so long to see.
Whether you are trying to conceive or are in your last trimester of pregnancy, I highly recommend you consider adding red raspberry leaf tea to your daily diet. First recorded in the 1500’s, the tea made from this herb (rubus ideas) has earned the reputation of being the safest and most effective of all uterine and pregnancy tonic herbs. It contains fragrine, an alkaloid which gives tone to the muscles of the pelvic region including the uterus. It is also a nourishing source of important vitamins and minerals. Red rasberry leaf tea contains a rich concentration of vitamin C, vitamin E and easily assimilated calcium and iron. The benefits of drinking a raspberry leaf tea before and throughout pregnancy include:
Increasing fertility (especially when combined with Red Clover)
Easing morning sickness
Reducing pain during labor and after birth
Assisting in the production of plentiful breast milk
Red Raspberry leaf tea does not start labor or promote contractions. It is not an oxytocic herb. It does help strengthen the pelvic and uterine muscles so that once labor does start the muscles will be more efficient. I recommend my clients drink one cup per day prior to conception and during the first trimester, two cups per day during the second trimester, and three cups per day during the last trimester.
To be most effective this tonic should be used regularly, five times a week or more. Sporadic use will not give you the best uterine toning effect, just as irregular exercise will not build your muscles. Even occasional use is beneficial though due to the nourishing vitamins and minerals found in red raspberry leaf tea.
An easy way to add this pleasant tasting tea to your daily routine is to brew some to keep in the refrigerator. This makes it much easier to reach for instead of your usual beverage of choice. This one simple choice has helped many of my clients have a faster, easier, less painful birth.
How to Teach Your Baby to Self-Soothe
For the first three months infants are learning to organize their sleep patterns. The most important thing you can do to help your baby learn healthy sleep habits is to lay them down while sleepy but awake. Rocking and holding your baby while sleeping is something that a newborn will quickly get used to and feel they must have to be able to sleep. It is much better to reserve holding and rocking for when your baby is awake and alert.
There are three very definite stages that a baby passes through on the way to sleep. Understanding and recognizing these stages is critical in the success of teaching your baby to fall asleep.
- The Wiggle Waggle Squirm Stage – This is the point where your baby is still awake and possibly fussy. They may grunt and squirm and fight the swaddle. Allow your baby at least 10 minutes to pass through this stage. Make sure that you have white noise playing loudly nearby. Offer the pacifier. If baby is younger than four months swaddle tightly.
- The Five Mile Stare – Once baby has passed through the fussy stage, they will get very still and stare into the distance. I call this the five mile stare. They may lie quietly, looking into space for up to 15 minutes. If a loud noise startles the baby they will most likely move back to stage one and squirm and fuss for a bit. It is very important that you do not pick baby up at this point. As long as they are not crying loudly for more than five minutes allow them to cycle back through to stage one. You can jiggle the baby in their swaddle and loudly shush in their ear, but try not to pick them up. This is a crucial step in baby learning to self soothe.
- Sweet Sleep – Babies eyelids will begin to slowly close and soon your baby will be sleeping peacefully.