After the great Braxton Hicks scare of 29 weeks, I’ve been counting the weeks (days, hours) down to 37 weeks. I’m planning to have my baby at a birthing center and they won’t take me before then. Every day I’ve talked to my baby and reminded him how much longer he needed to wait.
Also, there’s a couple great natural third-trimester recommendations that I’ve been technically in the clear for but I’ve been holding off on both. One is red raspberry leaf tea and the other is eating dates.
Red Raspberry Leaf tea was recommended for me when I was towards the end of my pregnancy last time. I don’t know when I would have been recommended to start because I switched to my birthing center already at 35 weeks. But I remember I started off with a little tea every day and by the end they had me drinking 3 cups with 3 tea bags each. Let me tell you, that was some strong tea! The tea builds up in your system over time and helps during labor, so it’s good to keep drinking it and allow it to accumulate. It is generally said that you should start taking the tea in your third trimester and that you should start with one cup a day.
The tea is believed to strengthen the uterus and help shorten the second stage of labor. It is also believed to assist postpartum by supporting breastmilk supply and toning the uterus back to its original size. I found this great article that explains more and shares an Australian study with measurable information of its benefits.
However, one of the ways you know it’s working, is a possible increase in Braxton Hicks contractions. Since I’ve been having a healthy dose of those as it is, I waited to start the tea until I asked my midwives. They said it was fine and to take it early in the morning so the Braxtons wouldn’t keep me up at night. I took the tea with a little apprehension and did feel an increase in Braxton Hicks throughout the day. Since I was counting down the weeks, days and hours to 37 weeks I opted to wait until after that milestone to try the tea again.
The other natural third-trimester recommendation I learned of was eating dates. A friend of the family who lives in China had recently randomly brought us dates as a gift from home. She said if I get pregnant, they will help the baby come out. Later that weekend we announced to the family that I WAS pregnant. She circled back around and exclaimed excitedly that the dates would help with that! I had never heard of dates for pregnancy before that day. But a few weeks later, I came across this article that talked about dates as a natural labor induction method. It says “randomized trials have found that eating date fruit in late pregnancy, around 60-80 grams a day of fruit, may increase cervical ripening, reduce the need for a medical labor induction or augmentation, and one small study found a positive effect on postpartum blood loss”
That all sounded like great news! The article recommends as of 36 weeks pregnant, to eat seven pieces of dates every day. Well, I didn’t think the dates would be quite that magical but if I had waited this long, I would wait one more week to 37 just in case.
Well today is the day! I literally was watching the clock yesterday thinking ‘If I get a contraction right now, would I make it to midnight before needing to call?’ and then ‘Ok, I think I could make it 6 hours’ and then at 10 pm ‘Yes! That’s close enough, made it!’ I’m so thankful to have made it to 37 weeks and now I can breathe easy knowing my little boy can come whenever he wants. I really want him here before Thanksgiving so I’ll be drinking my Red Raspberry Leaf Tea with a side of dates until I get to welcome him home!