Nikki Yelton is an Integrative & Functional Medicine Registered Dietitian Nutritionist serving clients worldwide. She offers a personalized functional medicine approach to helping women with GI distress and autoimmune conditions to get to the root cause of the symptoms holding them back so that they can start living the extraordinary life they dream of with more energy, purpose, and joy!
I really can’t believe I’m already into the third trimester (and so close to meeting our baby boy). I’m sharing so many fun details in this article including the nursery updates and what I’m doing to prepare for birth like my essential oil labor blends, birth plan, postpartum padsicles for recovery, and what I’m packing for the hospital. I even have a delicious lactation cookie recipe I created to encourage healthy milk supply if you are a mom-to-be or breastfeeding. I cannot wait to meet this baby boy soon! If you missed my second trimester blog post and must haves, head back to that one here. You can also recap my first trimester here.
I can’t believe how fast this pregnancy went and that in only a few short weeks (or less) we will be meeting our sweet baby boy! The third trimester truly flew by and has been all about setting my team up for my maternity leave, nesting, and preparing for labor and the postpartum phase. I’m sharing all the details here about the nursery, evidence on dates and red raspberry leaf tea, how to make homemade padsicles and lactation cookies, my natural birth plan, what’s in my hospital bag, and of course the things I have loved and used to prepare for a healthy baby.
HOW I’M FEELING/BABY’S PROGRESS
Mama and baby are thriving! I’m personally feeling so good still and really enjoying being pregnant. It is truly a gift and a beautiful time to reflect on God’s creation. He has been so faithful in keeping this baby healthy during such an uncertain time and pandemic. I’ve been walking consistently and trying to sleep as much as possible because I know I won’t be getting much of it once baby boy is finally here!
As far as the baby’s health, he is also doing great, kicking and tumbling non-stop, and his heartbeat is strong! So far he is also in a great position and starting to drop (which means he is so close to joining us soon). I really can’t wait to see what he looks like and hold him Earthside. Part of me will really miss carrying him in the womb but I know it doesn’t compare to actually having him here with us!
As I’m writing this post he is the size of a pumpkin and I am definitely feeling that. My upper back has been sore and I’ve been experiencing some pelvic pressure— all signs labor is near and the body is preparing for birth. My energy is still great though and I’ve been trying to focus on gentle movements. I’ve been able to move my body well and keep up with walking 10,000 steps per day, prenatal yoga, and moderate housework.
I’m also enjoying these last few weeks with Ryan and spending some quality time together. We went out for what is probably our last date night for a while at our favorite restaurant (Cave in Avon) and had a delicious meal! We shared plantain burger sliders and a fresh garden salad, I got the salmon with fennel and pureed broccoli, and Ryan got Doug’s famous sous vide Ribeye as usual. We seriously love this place! If you are local, definitely try it out!
MY DIET + CRAVINGS
As I mentioned in my second trimester post, my diet has been really varied and balanced ever since my first trimester nausea subsided. I’ve been focusing on getting nutrient dense meals and snacks that are balanced with protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates.
I still don’t have any pregnancy cravings but I have been wanting specific foods more often like olives, beef, fruit, cucumbers, goat/sheep cheese, and this Lovebird gut healthy cereal. My tomato obsession is also still going strong too!
I’m still focusing on my hydration and making sure I’m drinking a lot more fluids as I am preparing for labor soon. I always stress the importance of drinking filtered water. I’ve been using and loving my Berkey water filter and adding Concentrace Mineral Drops to make sure I’m re-mineralizing my water. This really helps me stay hydrated and energized now that the summer months are approaching.
As usual, I eat specifically to support my gut and autoimmune health. If you are needing help with that, you might be interested in my meal plan subscription, which will help you with already balanced plans.
In my second trimester recap I shared the courses I invested in and some really helpful resources I’ve been loving throughout my pregnancy. I’m actually retaking the Mama Natural & Pain Free Birth course and I also started the Mama Natural Baby course to get ahead. I plan to also begin the Taking Cara Babies “Will I ever Sleep Again” course at some point once baby boy is here. Just to recap, here are my favorite pregnancy courses, resources, and podcasts I’ve used throughout my entire pregnancy.
I want to start by saying that although I am going into this wishing and hoping for the most natural labor and birth possible, at the same time I’m going into it completely open because sometimes interventions are necessary and life saving. At the end of the day, we are praying for a healthy baby! Whatever it takes to get there, I am on board with it. There seems to be a stigma surrounding natural birth plans and it’s important to realize there are no rewards for doing things “all natural” and it won’t make me any less of a mom if I choose or need an intervention like pitocin or an emergency cesarean-section. If anything, I look at it as a sacrificial decision I make for the health and well-being of my baby.
With all that being said, I am at peace knowing I’ve done my research, prayed, taken multiple natural childbirth courses, and invested in a natural doula to improve my natural birth outcomes. Of course none of this will ensure a natural birth, but I am content in knowing I did everything I could. I can now put my trust in the Lord that He will be with me through this whole process and it will be the perfect birth plan for us to ultimately bring our child into this world.
I wish it was called a birth wish list and not a plan, because I think as women we should go into birth with our desires but also be willing to adapt based on how things are going. Especially as a first time mom, it would be unrealistic to hold these high standards and expect things to go perfectly.
If I had my “perfect” wish list and birth plan, this is what I have come up with. This is the document I will be sharing with my labor and delivery team for both birth and after birth care for the baby. Again, this is my personal list that I have carefully discerned through lots of my own research, praying, and decision making. I encourage you to come up with your own list based on your beliefs and values surrounding birth. My hope is that some of what is on my wish list will inspire or help you start thinking about your birth plan wish list if you are someone close to giving birth.
I wanted to make sure I was somewhat prepared for recovery so I made a bunch of padsicles ahead of time to help speed up healing. I kept it really simple and used organic aloe vera, Witch hazel, thick pads, and lavender and frankincense essential oils. You can watch this simple tutorial below for a step by step process and check out the exact non-toxic products I used for these.
What You’ll Need:
Organic Aloe Vera Gel
Pure & Natural Witch Hazel
Cora Period Pads
Lavender Essential Oil
Frankincense Essential Oil
If you are in a pinch and want something quick and easy, I recommend these honeypot pads that already have the aloe and essential oils in the organic and non-toxic pad. All you have to do is spray the pad with water or Witch hazel and freeze for 4 hours. You can take them out as needed. I ended up making about 20 homemade padsicles and also bought 2 packages of the HoneyPot postpartum padsicles to use for recovery.
RED RASPBERRY LEAF TEA
Red Raspberry Leaf Tea (RRL) has been used for centuries by midwives and recommended for uterine health.
The benefits of RRL tea include:
Promotes hormone balance
Improves fertility and chances for implantation
Improves reproductive health
Eases menstrual discomfort
May reduce misscarriage
Improves pregnancy outcomes by toning the uterus
May reduce morning sickness
May improve severity of contractions
Shortens active labor and recovery
May improve postpartum depression
May improve breast milk supply
From a nutrition standpoint, RRL tea is rich in vitamins C, E, A, and B, magnesium, potassium, calcium, and phosphorus. It also contains essential trace minerals such as zinc, iron, chromium and manganese. Since all these vitamins and minerals are in an absorbable form, it can help support your immune system as well.
During pregnancy, studies show it might help shorten labor and can result in fewer medical interventions overall, such as a cesarean section. One study even found that women who consumed RRL tea regularly are less likely to go overdue or give birth prematurely.
I started drinking RRL tea in my third trimester from this brand, although some women start as early as their second trimester to support the pregnancy and nourish the uterus and prepare the pelvic area for labor. Unfortunately this tea doesn’t taste like raspberries, even though it sounds like it would. It reminds me more of a black tea and I can only tolerate it over ice. I personally chose this brand of loose leaf RRL tea due to it’s high quality organic leaves and purity.
My Basic Red Raspberry Leaf Tea Recipe
1 cup boiling water
1 TBSP loose RRL tea leaves
Strain + cover and store in refrigerator for 2 hours
Optional: Add a few tsp of manuka honey
Add ice to a 16oz glass
Pour cooled RRL tea into glass and enjoy
“Labor Day” Tea Recipe
Although I haven’t done this yet, this is the exact recipe I am planning on drinking straight from the Mama Natural book if labor doesn’t start naturally before my due date. If I approach that date and still don’t have any signs of labor, I will drink this strong brew which many mamas have attributed to getting things going in just a few days of consumption.
1 1/2 cups of loose red raspberry leaf tea
4 cups of filtered water
Add 1 1/2 cups of loose RRL tea in a pot on the stove.
*As always, this is not medical advice and you should speak to your OB or midwife before drinking RRLT.
Getting into the right mindset to prepare for labor and birth is definitely the most important way I can prepare. I’ve been journaling more and praying for specifics around my birth plan because I know God hears our specific requests. He is faithful and I’m so thankful I can bring these details to Him! In addition to journaling and praying, I also purchased and downloaded this Christian Hypnobirthing App to help with guided relaxation techniques before, during, and after labor. I love the meditations with scripture and I plan to put my airpods in and play these tracks throughout the tough stages of labor. I notice I really need to practice and pay attention to my breathing in order to ensure I am doing it correctly. The truth is most of us don’t breathe properly and I definitely fall into this category if I am not mindful of my breath. Breathing and opening your throat specifically helps to open and dilate the cervix during contractions, so this will hopefully come in handy when I need to get into the right mental space and focus on breathwork.
I also want to mention how helpful it has been to have a list of prayer requests to share with others for labor. I personally shared my list with my closest prayer warrior friends and family members who I know will lift these up when we let them know it is labor time. I added things that were so specific to my desired birth plan (even down to the exact delivery room) and I have such peace knowing these ladies are joining me in praying for the specifics! If you believe in the power of prayer, rally together with other brothers and sisters in Christ who will commit to praying on your behalf. I am so thankful for this, and it is such a gift and blessing to have these people in my life.
MAMA NATURAL AFFIRMATION CARDS
Another tool I’ve been using in my third trimester are these affirmation cards by Mama Natural. Mine came with the course but you can also purchase them separately as well. They are really helping my mindset and centering me in knowing that my body is created and prepared for this purpose! Here is an example of an affirmation on the card that I love.
“My body has everything it needs to birth my baby”
A body? Check.
A baby? Check.
Positive attitude and education? Check.
Believe that you’ve got everything you need to birth your sweet baby.
Let go over any worries and know that you were designed to do this.
A life-giving purpose flows through you.
This was once a taboo subject and has now gained a lot more popularity in the last century as more mamas are choosing to encapsulate or consume their placenta after birth to facilitate recovery and reduce the chances of developing postpartum depression. I have been back and forth on this decision for quite some time based on weighing out the potential pros and cons. There is limited evidence out there regarding the benefits of consuming the placenta after birth. There is however, a lot of anecdotal evidence.
After some research and talking to other mamas, I decided to encapsulate. I found a local and reputable service that will handle my placenta after delivery, dehydrate, and add the placenta in capsules and use it to make a tincture that I can use for menopause support down the road. I plan to freeze the capsules and only use these if needed. For the cost we felt it was worth having as a backup if needed when we compared the cost of acupuncture treatment (our insurance doesn’t cover this) or other support for postpartum depression. Since there’s no way to know how I will feel, I wanted to have this as a backup if needed.
If you are planning to encapsulate, you want to choose a company certified through the Association of Placenta Preparation Arts, which is the most comprehensive certifying agency available for certification for placenta encapsulation. This ensures they are not only committed to safety, but also research on the subject. Here is a great page from their website which goes over the safety of the process, as well as some of the current research:
I also found this podcast episode from Evidence Based Birth helpful when making my decision to encapsulate.
Lastly, this study which confirms no harmful side effects on the newborn was also reassuring and confirmed my decision.
ESSENTIAL OIL LABOR BLENDS
I knew I wanted to take advantage of essential oils during labor and for postpartum support. I’ve been using essential oils as part of my wellness routine for over a decade now, so it only makes sense that I bring these out for me and baby too! I ended up buying two essential oil books specific for pregnancy and baby care and I cannot recommend them enough. When it comes to babies, dilution is really important and I found both of these resources helpful so that the ratios and recipes are clearly written out. There are protocols for just about everything in these two books and I will be using quite a few homemade tinctures and oils throughout the different stages of labor.
Gentle Babies: I absolutely love this book because it’s specific to Young Living oils, which is what I use. You can use other brands, however there will be some recipes and protocols you can’t do without the Young Living oils since they are targeted for specific purposes. I am a proud Young Living member because I can get my oils at retail and as long as I buy a few oils per year and spend a small PV, my wholesale membership is always active. If you are new to oils and want to get them wholesale instead of paying retail (which I definitely recommend), you will need to sign up as a member. I would love to have you on my oil team! My member number is 3936607 and you can plug that in when signing up for your wholesale account. You can sign up by purchasing any order. There’s no minimum!I do recommend a starter kit bundle if you are just beginning to use oils since it includes the best value to help you get started with oils and a diffuser. You can check out this article on essential oils for gut health here for even more ways I like to use them.
The Complete Book of Essential Oils for Mama and Baby: This easy to read resource is a must have for any mom to be looking to use essential oils that are safe and effective throughout pregnancy, for birth, and for children. I really liked how the author details out charts for protocols, such as the flu, and gives the exact ratio of essential oil to carrier oil based on the child’s age. This takes the guesswork out of dilution and helps to prepare an effective remedy for just about everything you can imagine! I will definitely be using this book all the time as baby boy grows up.
Blends I prepared using these resources:
“Labor” diffuser tincture
“Get things Going Blend”
“Labor Blend” oil for body
“Transition” roller for when the hardest stage of labor begins
“After Birth” oil to help the delivery of placenta and ease contractions afterwards
“More Milk” oil for breasts to help encourage milk production
“Anxiety” + “Baby Blues” + “Sleepy Time” roller for postpartum support
I’m also planning to use specific oils and protocols to help support healing for baby boy as well. I have one oil for umbilical cord healing and another for if there’s any birth trauma to his body.
Lactation cookies contain ingredients that can support milk supply and breastfeeding. Do we really need a better excuse to eat cookies!? You don’t have to tell me twice! To prepare for postpartum and breastfeeding, I made these lactation cookies ahead of time and stored them in my freezer. They are delicious and reminded me of a warm oatmeal raisin cookie I would eat as a child (but with chocolate chips)!
Typically I stay away from oats due to gluten cross contamination and will only have certified gluten free oats on occasion. Since I’ve been on a gut and autoimmune friendly diet for so long, I felt it would be fine to introduce these in this isolated season. Of course I’ll be listening to my body and will see how it goes. The three main ingredients that support breast milk production in this recipe are the Brewer’s yeast, flaxseed, and oats due to their iron, phytoestrogens, and B-vitamins.
If you are Celiac or need to make these gluten free, make sure you are getting certified gluten free oats and choosing gluten free Brewer’s Yeast. This is hard to come by and after a lot of searching, I found this brand that turned out great! I made my first batch of lactation cookies following a recipe and then decided to tweak a few more batches to make my own so I could share it if it turned out well. I ended up adding some slivered almonds to my recipe. It added an extra layer of crunch that is really delicious and satisfying. Be sure to pin this one if you are a breastfeeding mama or planning to be at some point. You will want to come back to this one!
Is it weird that my husband thought these were so good that if I didn’t tell them what they were, he would have eaten the whole batch?? You know they’re good when they pass that test!
Lactation cookies contain ingredients that can support milk supply and breastfeeding. Do we really need a better excuse to eat cookies!? You don’t have to tell me twice! To prepare for postpartum and breastfeeding, prepare these lactation cookies ahead of time and stored them in the freezer.
Preheat the oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.In a small bowl, add half of the ground flax (1 TBSP) with the water.
Stir and let sit for about five minutes until thickened.
In a medium mixing bowl, add the coconut oil and maple syrup and mix to combine. Stir in the flax mixture and vanilla extract. Add the oats, almond flour, oat flour, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and the remaining flax (1 TBSP). Mix well until everything is fully combined. Fold in the chocolate chips and sliced almonds.
Form the cookie dough into balls approximately 1.5-inches in diameter then place on the prepared cookie sheet. Press into a flat cookie shape approximately three inches in diameter.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until the cookies are golden brown on the bottom. Allow the cookies to rest for five minutes on the cookie sheet before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely. Cookies are best served chilled from the refrigerator or freezer. Enjoy!
Refrigerate in an air-tight container for up to five days or store in the freezer for up to three months.
Serving size is equivalent to one cookie
For more flavor, add raisins or chopped walnuts, pecans, or cashews.
Sub honey for maple syrup
Prep Time:10 minutes
Cook Time:10 minutes
Serving Size:1 cookie
Keywords: lactation cookies, gluten free, dairy free, breastmilk cookies
POSTPARTUM BREASTFEEDING & DIAPERING STATIONS
One of the things I love so much about my social media community is that there are so many like minded mamas who have been here before and offered such valuable advice. Throughout my pregnancy I had some question boxes and polls asking for a few recommendations to prepare for the baby and I received feedback from many moms to make breastfeeding and diaper stations throughout the house. This is such a great idea and I went ahead and made these so I have everything I need nearby.
In my room where I’ll be recovering with baby boy I have a snack station since my calorie and nutrition needs will increase during this time, a diaper changing station, and breastfeeding section with all the essentials like breast pads, nipple butter, my Haakka, massagers, cooling pads, heating pads, milk and postpartum tinctures from Milk Moon and Earthly, along with all my after birth essential oils.
I also have a basket for burp cloths and blankets that I’m sure I’ll need, along with breastfeeding support pillows and my Snuggle Me Organic Infant Lounger for when I need to put him down. I also got one container, the Baby Bjorn bouncer seat, to place him in when I shower or need to free my hands when home alone.
HOSPITAL BAG PACKING LISTS
My Labor Bag Checklist
Yes, I have a labor bag! I plan to labor at home as long as possible until the contractions are strong enough to warrant traveling to the hospital. Luckily I have a great doula who will be with me and let me know when it is time. In order to avoid unnecessary interventions, I want to avoid getting there too early and do a lot of work at home where I am comfortable and in peace and quiet without interruptions. I packed a labor bag with a bunch of items I will likely need right away to use during my labor at the hospital. I wanted to have a separate bag for these items so that I know exactly where everything I’ll need right away is. For my main bag, there isn’t anything I’ll need immediately and I can leave it in a corner until after birth.
2 pairs grippy socks
Lip balm and vaseline for chapped lips
Comfortable strapless sundress to labor in
AfterEase tincture for immediately after birth
Labor and after labor essential oil blends
Extra long phone cord
Portable bluetooth mini stereo
Manuka honey packets
Hard manuka honey rops
Drivers license + insurance card
Multiple copies of birth plan
Non-toxic surface cleaning wipes
Thieves Hand sanitizer
Arnica cream for pain relief during and after labor
This was pretty simple and I decided to pack light since the hospital provides mostly everything I will need. Since I am not sure how many days I’ll be there, I packed a few extra outfits just in case.
Towels (the hospitals towels are really small so I wanted to bring my own)
Wet clothes bag (or laundry bag)
The hospital provides absolutely everything we could need for baby boy but I am bringing a few things for him specifically since I would rather use more nontoxic options for diapering. I also wanted to bring some outfits with us since I am not sure how long we will be there.
1 Take home outfit
Vava night light
Car seat cover
Diaper rash balm
Pediatrician contact info
A few diapers
Aside from what is listed on these checklists, we are also bringing a case of filtered water, lots of snacks, and a cooler for food items, since I will more than likely opt out of the hospital meals. I also made a basket of goodies and gifts to give to the labor and delivery team as a thank you for helping us. This is obviously not necessary, but something we really wanted to do.
I am so excited about how our baby boy’s little nursery came out. In my second trimester post, I talked about how I was inspired by a picture called “Shades of Blue” on the Serena and Lily website which was the foundation I used for all the decor and colors. I ended up getting a few actual items from Serena and Lily and the rest from other places to try and keep everything within our budget. I also tried to use as many non-toxic items as possible!
Here are some items we ended up going with for our low toxin nursery:
Nestig Crib: This was the very first thing I knew I wanted because of the quality and how this crib grows with your baby. Not only is it non-toxic and made with safe materials, but it also converts from a bassinet, to a crib, to a toddler bed. The company is so sweet and they were so helpful when we were trying to figure out the details. My parents gifted this to us and we couldn’t be more excited about its functionality and how it looks in the nursery.
Serena and Lily La Jolla Hamper: We are actually using this basket to hold blankets and swaddle wraps. I ended up getting the medium sized basket and I absolutely love how it looks in the corner of the room.
Non-Toxic Baby Changing Basket: I fell in love with this bamboo changing table and it fits the nursery decor perfectly! I also wanted to get a few other non-toxic bamboo changing pad liners while the main pad is in the wash so I bought a set of these here.
Hirsch and Timber Drawer Knobs: These boho natural and rattan knob handles completely changed the look of the dresser and tied in the rest of the decor throughout the room.
The Container Store Drawer Dividers: I can’t believe I waited this long to use drawer dividers. Since baby boy’s clothes were so small, I found it hard to fold them properly in a way that would keep them in place and so I can easily grab an item. These drawer dividers saved the day and I definitely plan to stock up during their next sale for my own closet and bedroom organization.
Delta Kids Dresser: We wanted a simple dresser that would fit the space and something made with sustainable materials. This dresser fit our budget compared to some other high end dressers (I wasn’t expecting nursery dressers to be so pricey) and I was happy that it was made with materials that were safe for the baby and less toxic.
Pottery Barn Kids Shelving: We wanted an easy to grab spot for books and toys so these shelves worked out perfectly. They are really well made and sturdy.
Closet Drawer Organizers: These might be my favorite find for the nursery. Since we are working with a smaller closet space, I wanted to make sure that I was maximizing storage for years to come. These easy to assemble canvas dressers are such great quality and from Amazon! We ended up getting three of them and now there’s more than enough space to fit everything we need to store like sheets, toys, baby supplements, accessories, shoes, diapering essentials, and so much more!
Clothing Size Dividers:These will come in handy as baby boy grows so I know what sizes his clothes are. I already have a bunch of clothes organized from 0 months to 12 months for his first year and they are all sectioned by these dividers so it makes everything easy to find. We were so blessed to have the support of friends and family who donated a lot of clothes to us for his first year!
Our chair and rug were from Wayfair and unfortunately aren’t sold anymore. They were both made with sustainable ingredients. I did take some time to off-gas both of these outside in the sunlight for several days. Overall I am so excited to spend time in the nursery and I can’t wait to take baby boy home so he can grow into it!
35 WEEK GBS TEST & CERVICAL CHECKS
I was really nervous about testing positive for Group B Streptococcus (GBS) during my third trimester mainly because it would require my hospital to administer IV antibiotics (penicillin) during labor and delivery. This is a type of bacteria that naturally exists in women and is typically harmless. In very rare cases, it can cause an infection and complication if it spreads to the baby which is why most practitioners will test for it in the third trimester.
If positive, this bacteria can be life threatening to the baby if passed along and the risk would have led me to comply with the policy even though I try to avoid antibiotics whenever possible. We do know this IV can alter the baby’s microbiome for several months and is best to avoid antibiotics if possible. There are some great baby probiotics that would help his gut flora but I am definitely relieved the test was negative. It’s really common and about 25% of women will test positive in the third trimester around week 35.
A few things I did starting in my third trimester to prevent GBS included:
Upped my hydration as much as possible with teas, filtered water, and hydrating fruits
If you do end up testing positive for GBS, there are actually a lot of things you can do and you can try asking your midwife or OB to retest you again in a few weeks or again during labor. If you are negative at the time of birth, your center or hospital may not require antibiotics. Some practitioners though will treat you for it even if you only tested positive once, even if you test negative down the road. Evidence Based Birth has a great article on GBS if you are in this situation and want to weigh out your options and begin a protocol.
As far as cervical tests, I chose to decline these altogether. Not only are they painful but they can increase your risk of bacteria in the vagina and even increase your risk of contracting a UTI or GBS. Another reason I opted out of these altogether is because evidence doesn’t support these are necessary. They often leave you feeling discouraged if you are not dilated at a certain point of your pregnancy as you wait for labor to begin. It’s also extremely common for women to go from 0 to a 5 or 6 within a short time once labor does begin, so it didn’t make sense for me to do these.
I kindly decline when I visit my OB and he has agreed with me each time. During labor, I will get checked a few times but I am going to try to limit these to 1-2 times, if that, towards the end. I am trusting my body will know what to do and that when I feel ready to push, the body will do the work for me and I will likely be at a 10 at that point. I personally think doing cervical checks too early into the first stage of labor can make women feel defeated and more likely to use pitocin to encourage dilation and speed things up. The body will take its time and know what it’s doing! Be sure to add this to your birth plan if you are someone who also feels limited cervical checks are important to you!
MY LABOR PREP
Here is a list of the top things I am planning on doing to help begin labor naturally and hopefully avoid an induction. Where there is nothing wrong with getting an induction and sometimes it is medically necessary for a healthy mom and baby, I would like to avoid this if possible to improve my chances of a natural and unmedicated birth.
Many women rave about how the miles circuit can help get babies in the right position for a successful natural birth. I plan to start this around 40 weeks if our little one isn’t here just yet since it is pretty effective at getting things going.
Acupuncture has been proven to ease labor and support induction with a 100% success rate. That is a really significant statistic and my acupuncturist confirmed this during my last session. My acupuncturist specializes in fertility and pregnancy and I have been seeing her since my first trimester to help support a healthy pregnancy. This has been the most costly investment we’ve made for this baby (our insurance didn’t cover anything), however, I believe this has been really effective in helping me have a healthy and joyful pregnancy experience. At the time this post is live, we’ve already started to stimulate as I am now at 39 weeks gestation. It usually takes several appointments to get labor going, but she is confident I will be able to go into labor spontaneously without the need for pitocin within a few weeks, which I am really happy about!
The statistics on dates to support labor and delivery are outstanding and so impressive! Consuming 3 medjool dates or 6 noir dates per day starting at 35 weeks gestation is clinically proven to shorten labor (especially the first stage by a whopping 77%), soften the cervix, and help with spontaneous labor in comparison to women who don’t eat them. Luckily I enjoy dates and have been eating the medjool dates with a few tablespoons of sunbutter and my favorite vanilla bourbon coconut yogurt. This combo is delicious to me but there are many other ways you can enjoy them such as in bars, smoothies, and deserts if you don’t like them on their own.
According to this study,women who consumed in comparison to non date eaters were:
74% more dilated
38% more likely to have intact membranes
21% more likely to spontaneously go into labor
28% less likely to use medications to induce labor
And according to this study, women who consumed dates in the last week of pregnancy experienced:
68% more likely to have a successful vaginal delivery
I got my organic medjool dates from Costco since I would be going through quite a bit. From a nutrition standpoint, dates are loaded with potassium, fiber, folate, and magnesium— all of which are so helpful during pregnancy. These make a great snack and I can’t wait to put this theory to the test and see if my own birth stats match up with these impressive statistics and results.
There are also other natural ways to help induce labor that midwives and OB’s suggest, such as Evening Pimrose oil, sex with your partner, relaxation and Epsom salt baths, eating spicy foods, eating pineapple, eating eggplant parm, and walking or stairs. None of these methods are guaranteed to work, however I will be trying more of these if we are past our due date and labor hasn’t started on its own.
MY THIRD TRIMESTER MUST HAVES
Red Raspberry Leaf Tea
I’ve been consuming this brand of Red Raspberry Leaf tea in the third trimester to support a natural birth and delivery. Red Raspberry Leaf tea is proven effective to help prepare for labor by shortening the duration and helping with spontaneous induction.
Beef Liver Capsules
These have been an absolute game changer in helping me to improve my energy. Beef liver is a nutritional powerhouse packed with food based vitamin A, iron, and B-vitamins, which are essential for baby’s development and support my body through pregnancy. I have felt incredible energy throughout my pregnancy and I credit these liver capsules for a lot of that! This is also helpful to those individuals who cannot tolerate eating liver.
FemDophilus by Jarrow
This particular probiotic has two specific strains of bacteria (Lactobacilli GR-1 and RC-14), which are helpful in supporting the vaginal bacteria and preventing UTIs and group B streptococcus during pregnancy.
Essential Oil Blends for Labor
Diffusing and wearing oils like clary sage and jasmine are helpful in labor progression and speeding things up once it’s time. I won’t be using these until I am actually in labor, but they will definitely be a “must have” once things get going!
I don’t know about you, but I love some good music that gets me in the right frame of mind and gets the endorphins going. I’ve started adding positive and uplifting worship music and songs I love to my labor playlist collection to pump me up for when everything starts and I’m entering “labor land.”
I am a huge fan of this cereal (pregnant or not) but have been especially enjoying it during my third trimester. I found it really helps me to have a small meal or snack every 2-3 hours to keep my blood sugar stable. I actually have this plain or with some nut milk and it makes for the perfect snack. Since I’ve had some slight nausea return in the last few weeks of pregnancy, eating this cereal dry has helped a ton! You can save 10% off Lovebird cereal with the code nikkiyeltonrd at checkout. I highly recommend the variety pack if you’re new to this clean and collagen rich gut healthy cereal so you can try all the flavors first. My personal favorite is honey!
If you read the statistics I shared above on dates, you’ll understand why these are a must have in the third trimester. I have been enjoying mine with sunbutter, which is a great peanut butter alternative packed with protein and healthy fats. It’s also easier to digest and break down in comparison to peanut butter, but has a similar taste, texture and consistency.
Coconut Cult yogurt
This yogurt is like dessert! A little goes a long way though and a simple spoonful will give you an abundant food based source of probiotic strains. You can find it online or at your local health food store. My favorite lately has been the chocolate mousse flavor!
Pumping & Nursing Bras
Nursing bras are coming in handy even before breastfeeding as I can feel the changes and my milk supply developing. I really like these nursing bras that I’ve been wearing now and will definitely get a lot of use out of when the baby is here. This is definitely a must have in the third trimester to make sure you are stocked up and ready if you plan to breastfeed.
Camu Camu Powder
To support my immune system through food, I have been adding this camu camu powder to my morning smoothies. I recommend increasing vitamin C in the third trimester of pregnancy to support a healthy immune system, along with improved pregnancy and fetal health outcomes. In addition, vitamin C helps collagen production so it is helping my skin elasticity and I will continue it postpartum as well to help with healing.
I love Seed probiotics because for the average person who has a good gut balance and healthy microbiome, this is an ideal number of strains to support flora and the immune system. I recommend this probiotic for those who aren’t sure what their gut bacteria looks like, or for those who are in the “responsibility” stage of my 7 step gut healing protocol and want to maintain a healthy microbiome. Many of the strains are clinically proven to support a healthy pregnancy and cultivate good bacteria along the vaginal canal, which is essential for the baby as it travels through during delivery. This is ultimately how the baby receives its first dose of probiotics on the skin (called vernix).
This has been an essential part of my third trimester to support my immune system against the virus and other potential pathogens I can come in contact with. I rub this roller on the bottom of my feet twice per day.
Deep Relief Roller
This particular roller has been a game changer for me and my back pain. I developed upper back pain around week 34 that is on and off based on my posture and activity level since my center of gravity is off and I am carrying a lot of extra weight on an already short stature. I rub a small amount of this around my upper spine and muscles where I feel the pain and it cools and numbs it a bit. I won’t be using this in labor though as it does contain peppermint oil, which I learned has the potential to decrease milk supply.
I can’t attest to how this product works, but I can tell you I’ve read many positive testimonials in my private course Facebook groups from mamas who have used this product to help support labor. They report an easier and faster first stage of labor and transition. It is definitely worth a try and something I have been diligently taking since week 35.
Natural Mama Birth Affirmation Cards
These cards have been a blessing in my third trimester to help me stay focused on positive words of encouragement so I am mentally prepared for birth. Our bodies are perfectly equipped to do this and these reminders confirm that we are warriors!
I am finding a yoga exercise ball so helpful in place of my desk chair to alleviate back pain while working. Since I sit for long periods of time, this has really helped my posture and body support. As you get farther along in the pregnancy, using a bouncy ball can actually encourage your baby to get in the right position for birth! It’s a win win! I am using this in many ways to prepare for labor and plan to use it during labor as well.
I can’t believe in a few short weeks (or less) we will be meeting this little guy. The waiting is definitely the hardest part, but I am trusting God’s timing and that this baby boy will make his arrival when he is ready! I can’t wait to share my postpartum journey and our birth story next. You can catch up on my first trimester and second trimester posts if you missed those recaps where I shared all my other must haves, too!
I would also love to hear from you if you are preparing for birth and in your third trimester. When is your little one due??
"When it comes to balancing our body, healing the gut, reversing autoimmunity, and achieving optimal health—we are a lot like a car that won’t run right. In order to fix the problem once and for all instead of relying on jumper cables, we must get underneath the hood, run the diagnostics, and replace the battery so that it runs good as new."
-Nikki Yelton, RD
a note from nikki:
If you are ready to stop wasting precious time, get off the never-ending hamster wheel, and finally surrender trying to figure things out on your own—this is your moment.
You don’t have to settle for just getting by and hoping tomorrow is a better day. We both know you are a woman who deserves better and are made for so. much. more.
are you ready?
Ready to resolve your GI distress, reverse autoimmunity, and live your extraordinary life?