Labor is exciting! The element of the unknown—when it will begin, where will you be, or what will you be doing—makes your heart beat a little bit faster. And then this soothing thought makes you smile, that as the day approaches, as each contraction hits, you will be closer and closer to holding your beautiful baby in your arms.
Here are five elements from our book The Secrets to a Healthy Pregnancy to help you prepare for that memorable day.
- Make your nutrition a top priority daily. Make sure you are eating well and staying hydrated. A healthy momma translates into a healthy baby and childbirth. The nutrients you consume flow into your blood that is then pumped into the placenta so your baby can receive them. This means that your baby is essentially eating what you are eating, so make sure you are instilling healthy eating habits early on. Check out Chapter 2 and 3 of book for nutritional guidelines.
- Sleep twice a day. A study concluded that nap duration and 24-hour sleep duration were inversely associated with labor duration in women with vaginal delivery. This means that the more the women rested during pregnancy, the shorter their births were. So, if you want to have a short labor, make sure you nap and/or sleep plenty. 
- Exercise three times a week. To experience the benefits of exercising (which include a less painful and shorter birth) studies show that you must exercise almost every day for at least 30 minutes. I recommend a goal of at least 3 times a week so you can gain momentum. Make sure to include squats and kegels to strengthen your pelvic muscles and help you push.
- Make sure you get these four key areas of your body checked by a chiropractor. 1) your atlas (the top vertebrae of your neck) 2) your sacrum (the lower end of your back) 3) pelvis 4) pubic bone. Being aligned will help you labor with less pain and your baby descend better. You can find a list of recommended chiropractors that have undergone additional training to better serve mothers and children at icpa4kids.com.
- Work on the five aspects of your birth plan. You may want to attend a natural childbirth class like Birthing from Within or the Bradley Method if you want a natural birth. Chapter 11’s Part 3 of the book helps you create the right birth plan for you and your family based on these five questions.
- Who will deliver your baby?
- Where will you deliver your baby?
- Who is on your birthing team?
- What interventions are you comfortable with?
- What protocol is important to you?
To your health!
 Shao-Yu Tsai, Jou-Wei Lin, Lu-Ting Kuo, Chien-Nan Lee, and Carol A. Landis, “Night- time Sleep, daytime Napping, and Labor Outcomes in Healthy Pregnant Women in Taiwan,” Research in Nursing & Health 36, no. 6 (2013): 612-22, doi:10.1002/nur.21568.