Comfy Pregnancy Series - Preparing for the Big Day & Better Mom Monday's Link-up!

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Welcome back to our Comfy Pregnancy Series!

So, you've made it through the Early Days, and you've done your best to make sure you get the Best Sleep possible during your pregnancy. Now, you're in the third trimester and nearing that all-important best guess due date.

Comfy Pregnancy SeriesIf you're like me, you want to do all you can to be as prepared as possible for when that fateful day comes - and I promise you, it will come even though it doesn't feel like it now.

I've had three babies. My first was a better-than-I-could-have-hoped-for natural labor and delivery. My other two were take-you-by-complete-surprise emergency c-sections - one for fetal distress, the other for failure to progress.

However, with all three pregnancies there were certain things I did during the last trimester that helped my body be as strong as possible and ready to endure the rigors of both natural labor, and cesarean delivery. I'd like to share with you today my favorite, most effective, tips for preparing your body - and your baby - for birth.

1. Walking. You have to find a balance here. You want to walk often enough that it does the job, but not so often that you tire yourself out. I'm not talking walking to bring on/progress labor. I just mean walking for exercise. Check with your doctor before doing any exercise.  Once you have your doctor/midwife's go-ahead, you want to walk briskly enough to get your heart pumping and so that you're a little bit short of breath, but still able to easily carry on a conversation. Walking gives you great cardiovascular benefits, and helps tone and strengthen your legs, core and pelvic floor - all of which are important for delivering a baby. And the fitter you are at the end of your pregnancy, the faster you will bounce back afterwards.

2. Toddler Squats. I start doing these squats in the third trimester and do several each day. The closer the due date gets, the more often I do them. Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width, toes pointed forward. Holding onto a sturdy rail or counter top, lower your rump down towards the floor while keeping your heels down. Imagine a toddler squatting down to examine a bug on the floor (aka, this is not a plie squat where your knees are out wide). Hold, breathing deeply, for 10-20 seconds. Finally, inhale deeply through your nose and exhale through your mouth as you carefully rise back up to a standing position. This squat opens the hips and pelvis and helps the baby move down into the "engaged" position. Note: if you know your baby is in the breech position (bottom first), avoid this move. This is also a great move to do during labor. You can even round your back (like the cat stretch) while squatting during a contraction to help baby move even further down!

3. The Ab Zipper. I love this move because it gets your tummy muscles nice and strong for either pushing that baby out, or aiding in a faster recovery after a c-section. You can either stand with feet hip-width apart and tuck your pelvis in; or you can sit on the floor, criss-cross-applesauce, with a pillow or towel rolled up and behind the small of your back for support. Lean back slightly and tuck your pelvis under. Inhale deeply and let your tummy expand. Exhale three times, out your mouth (think the hoo-hoo-hoo phase of Lamaze breathing). With each breath out, imagine a zipper attached to your belly button, zipping up towards your chest. Repeat 8-10 times.

So there you have it! My favorite ways to get your body - and your baby - labor and delivery ready! Join us next time for our final installment of the series as we discuss how to get the best comfort in the first few days/weeks after baby arrives!

What are your favorite ways to prepare for labor/delivery?

Note: I am not a medical professional. These tips/tricks are simply things that worked for me. If you have any worries or concerns, please ask your health care provider.

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Jennifer Deibel

Jennifer is your typical American wife and mother living life, raising kids, and working. After nearly a decade overseas living in Ireland and Austria, her family is starting their new life right back here in the good ole U. S. of A. She has been married to the love of her life, Seth, since 2000 and is extremely blessed to be mom to two delightful girls, and one hilarious little boy. She has a deep interest in creative family worship, marriage enrichment, and the art of figuring out unfamiliar grocery stores in foreign languages. Jennifer passionately loves the Lord, her family, music, dance, writing and chocolate - though quite honestly not always in that order. She believes this world needs more women who stick together, so let's connect and walk this road side by side! You can find Jennifer where she blogs at This Gal's Journey, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.