How to Prepare for Labor and Delivery

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Want to know how to prepare for a better labor and recovery all around? Well, let me tell you, getting ready for childbirth is no joke. It’s super important to have a birth plan in place and do some good ol’ research and prep before the big day arrives. After having 3 kiddos myself, talking to labor and delivery nurses, midwives, and other moms I’ve pulled together exactly how to prepare for labor and delivery for you in this post.

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how to prepare for labor and delivery

Preparing for Labor and Delivery

Now, whether you’re dead set on the all-natural approach or ready to embrace that epidural, this post is for you! I’m going to share the steps I took during my second pregnancy, which made a world of difference in making my labor much smoother!

The second time around my labor was quicker, less painful, and the recovery time was way shorter when compared to my first pregnancy. Now, granted, being a second-time mom meant it would probably be faster anyway (buuut not always the case, with my third baby I was in labor over 48 hours, yikes! ), but I believe that these steps I took to prepare for labor and postpartum truly played a huge role in how everything unfolded. Trust me, it made a world of difference!

When it came to preparing for labor with each of my pregnancies, I had different approaches each time because I was older and more knowledgeable. During my first pregnancy, I was young and clueless about all things baby-related.

I dove into a stack of pregnancy and baby books, including Pregnancy for Dummies and the popular What to Expect When You’re Expecting. Surprisingly, the latter turned out to be quite helpful for a rookie like me and I reread it for my second pregnancy.

Truth be told, I didn’t really do preparation specifically for labor and the postpartum period. My main focus was on getting ready for the baby – learning how to care for a newborn, gathering all the necessary items, and saving money to move to a more suitable place for a little one’s needs.

We were living in a small run-down apartment on the beach, which was great for us beach-loving youngsters, but not ideal for a baby.

Little did I know that I was missing a crucial element – preparing my own body for the whole birthing experience. As a consequence, my labor was lengthy, I ended up opting for an epidural (not originally part of my plan), I experienced significant tearing, and my recovery was tough and prolonged.

Needless to say, you could bet your bottom I was much more prepared for my second pregnancy. With my first child, I focused on baby stuff and didn’t even think about preparing for labor and postpartum.

However, after 4 years of mothering, I felt more comfortable and could dedicate time to researching and preparing for a better labor and postpartum experience.

I made sure to take proper care of my body and create a postpartum plan for myself, and it made a huge difference! My labor and recovery were still intense (it’s childbirth after all), but not terrible at all.

By preparing correctly for labor and delivery, my recovery period went so much smoother. There are 7 essential keys that helped me prepare for labor, delivery, and postpartum and I want to share them here with you today.

7 Ways to Prepare for an Easier Childbirth and Postpartum

how to prepare for labor and delivery

1. Mentally Prepare with a Labor and Delivery Course

I’m a planner and a list maker by nature. I like to study and feel ready for things. Pregnancy and childbirth are huge changes, whether it’s your first or third! Being prepared for the experience and everything it involves can make you feel so much more ready to face the challenge ahead.

There are certain courses that I find really helpful to retake over the years, like CPR, fitness training, and labor and delivery!

A lot can change in the years between pregnancies, and a lot can be forgotten in the whirlwind of motherhood. Being completely refreshed for your labor and delivery can make you feel more in control of your body and aware of the choices available to you during labor.

My favorite prenatal class is available at home, so you can take it on your own time whenever you want! Seriously, not having to go to a hospital to take a course is priceless! You can do it in your PJs with no makeup.

Another great aspect is that it’s created by a Labor and &Delivery nurse with 18 years of experience, so she knows a thing or two and has a great way of sharing all the information you need to feel prepared before your baby arrives. Check out the best prenatal class here.

2. Create a Birth Plan that Matches Your Personality

There are many birth plans available online that you can print out and usually, you can get one provided by your registered hospital.

Everyone emphasizes the importance of a birth plan, but you need to make one that suits your unique style.

With my first pregnancy, I was excited to create my birth plan, print copies for my doctors and nurses, and know that everyone would respect those plans.

As I mentioned before, I enjoy making lists and feeling prepared. Well, nothing on my birth plan ended up happening. And that really surprised me. Why had everyone put so much pressure on creating a birth plan when it felt like nothing on it really mattered?

At least that’s how I felt.

The second time around, my birth plan was to have no plan. I had a general idea of what I wanted to happen, which I shared with my midwives and nurses. But there was nothing set in stone in my mind. And that worked much better for my personality. No disappointment to deal with, and everything still went great, though of course not exactly as I expected–this is labor after all!

The only thing you can really predict is that it can be unpredictable.

3. Prepare your perineum with essential oils.

This, in my opinion, was like my secret weapon for a smooth childbirth and recovery.

Essential oils are natural plant extracts that not only smell great but also have powerful healing properties.

After doing plenty of research, I came up with a 6-week plan to create personalized essential oil blends for preparing my perineum before labor. I had suffered from 2nd-degree tears during my first childbirth, and it took over a year for things to feel normal again. So, this time around, I was determined to avoid that experience at all costs.


Discover exactly how you can prepare your perineum for childbirth using safe essential oils that are suitable for pregnancy. These oils are carefully chosen to nourish, moisturize, and get your skin ready for stretching.

4. Get your lady parts ready with massage.

Let’s be real, this might freak you out at first, but hear me out. Massaging and stretching down there can actually help you bounce back quicker after giving birth. I know, it’s gotta stretch to get the baby out anyway, but why not give it a little extra help?

With my first baby I was like, “Nuh uh, no way am I massaging and stretching that part out beforehand!” But little did I realize that’s like running a marathon without warming up, yikes.

So, learn how to do perineal massage and prep yourself for the big day. You can even use those special essential oil blends from #3 for even better results.

(That’s why you’re getting directed to the same post. It’ll teach you how to do the massage properly.)

5. Rock the malasana pose every day.

Here’s another tip to get you ready for labor. You want to be strong and flexible for the long and possibly tough day ahead.

The malasana pose (aka the garland pose) is a simple yoga stretch that works wonders for your perineum. It’s basically a deep squat where your booty is almost touching the floor. Spread your knees wide, and hold the position with your elbows.

Relax and hang out in this position twice a day for as long as you’re comfortable. Aim for 20 seconds. Take some deep breaths and practice clearing your mind during this time too.

It’ll help you prep for labor.

6. Take care of your pelvic floor.

Your pelvic floor goes through a lot during pregnancy and delivery, so it’s important to give it some attention. Although I managed to stay fit during my first pregnancy, childbirth wrecked my pelvic floor. As a result, I ended up with a weak pelvic floor and even experienced embarrassing incontinence.

Postpartum, my pelvic floor was so weak that kegel exercises alone didn’t even work. I had to work with a physical therapist to finally address the issue.

By consistently strengthening my pelvic floor throughout my second pregnancy, including doing kegel exercises and following a pelvic floor strengthening routine while pregnant, my recovery after childbirth was much easier.

You can also follow the Perfect Pregnancy Fitness Plan throughout your pregnancy. Not only is it designed to help you grow a more healthy baby and have a more comfortable pregnancy, but if done consistantly while pregnant helps you have an easier labor and delivery and even recovery.

prenatal nutrition program

7. Continue taking high-quality food-based vitamins during your recovery.

Did you know that it’s important to keep taking your prenatal vitamins not only during pregnancy but also while breastfeeding?

Taking a high-quality, food-based prenatal vitamin ensures that both you and your baby get the necessary nutrients, especially during the postpartum healing period. With the lack of sleep, endless messes, and overall exhaustion, taking your prenatal vitamin consistently can make your recovery much easier.

If you’re not sure if your prenatal vitamin is high-quality, food-based, or contains the right kind of folate, you can find all the information you need about prenatal vitamins here.

RELATED: For an easier postpartum recovery, check out “Healing Postpartum Freezer Meals for Breastfeeding Moms” to keep your nutrient levels up.

8. Wear a Postpartum Belly Band

Wearing a postpartum girdle/bellyband after giving birth can be really helpful during the recovery period. It’s important to note that a belly band is not some magical belt that will instantly shrink your belly. Instead, it helps train your body and muscles to get back to where they should be.

Some benefits of wearing a postpartum girdle include:

  • reminding you to hold in your abdomen
  • improving your posture
  • keeping things in place as your organs shift back to their pre-pregnancy positions.
  • Personally, I found wearing a belly band postpartum to be a huge help in keeping everything in the right place and reminding me to maintain good posture.

Now, when it comes to postpartum belts, there are plenty of options available at various price points.

The Bellafit is a top-of-the-line product that offers excellent support but comes at a higher price. It’s definitely an investment, but worth it especially if you plan to use it for subsequent pregnancies.

Another popular brand is the Belly Bandit, which is slightly more affordable but may not provide the same level of support as the Bellafit. There are also more budget-friendly options out there that offer great value for the price.

The bottom line is, there’s a postpartum belly wrap out there for everyone, regardless of your budget. It’s all about finding one that works best for you.

Some postpartum girdles will provide support from your ribs down to your hips, while others simply wrap your belly. But honestly, one isn’t necessarily better than the other. Personally, I prefer a full support girdle because it gives me more comfort.

However, you should also consider your own comfort levels. Remember, you’ll be wearing this postpartum wrap for at least 6-8 weeks as often as possible, so make sure it’s the right fit for you.

You can find different styles of postpartum girdles for about $20 or so.

9. Prioritize Nutrition

A huge help in better recovery is prioritizing your nutrition during the hectic postpartum days. It can be tough to focus on your own well-being when you’re busy taking care of your newborn, sleep-deprived, and dealing with hormonal changes. But it’s really important!

You’ve lost a lot of blood and fluids, and your body needs proper nourishment to recover.

I recommend making Healing Freezer Meals for Postpartum ahead of time and filling in on busy days with protein shakes. Protein shakes can be a quick and convenient way to get the nutrients you need.

After hours and hours of researching, writing about, and trying out different protein powders, I prefer using Shakeology or Ora Organic protein powder always. They’re packed with vitamins, antioxidants, amino acids, digestive enzymes, and greens, and they taste great too.

No matter how healthy something is, if it’s disgusting, it’s hard to stomach. That’s why I always keep Shakeology and Ora Organic protein powder on hand postpartum. They’re delicious and refreshing, and they provide the nutrition I need in just a few seconds.

Shakeology is my top pick for protein powder because it’s packed with extra nutrients and has made a huge difference in my digestion. Though it may be a bit pricier, the benefits are totally worth it. If you want to learn more about the nutrients in Shakeology and how it helped me, feel free to ask!

10. Bonus Tip: Take Care of Your Nutrition and Fitness DURING Pregnancy

Prenatal nutrition and fitness are often confusing for many moms. Our doctors barely touch on that area. But now we know that what we eat and how active we are during pregnancy can directly impact our baby’s health.

If you eat well and exercise during your pregnancy, labor and delivery and also recovery will be easier.

But how are we supposed to know what to eat, what to avoid, and how to exercise safely for a healthy pregnancy?

Luckily, there’s an amazing 2-part prenatal nutrition and fitness course called The Perfect Pregnancy Plan. It provides extensive and easy-to-follow guidance, including detailed information on prenatal nutrition, delicious recipes, and a full workout plan for all 40 weeks.

The creator of the course is a Personal Fitness Trainer who’s also certified in Nutrition and Lifestyle During Pregnancy. It covers everything from pelvic floor exercises to dealing with prenatal backaches.

If you’ve ever had questions about prenatal diet and exercise, the Perfect Pregnancy Plan is exactly what you need.

Wrapping Up 10 Ways to Prepare for Labor and Delivery

I know that was A LOT of tips, but they all really work together seemlessly for the perfect labor and delivery experience. You can’t control a lot about labor, but you can choose how to prepare for that big day during your pregnancy. Taking the steps I’ve listed from nutrition to exercise to belly wraps to massage and more will have you absolutely rocking your labor and delivery when the big day arrives.

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