Are you in your last trimester of pregnancy? Are you starting to prepare for your delivery? This article will interest you. Did you know that certain foods eaten in late pregnancy can help you give birth faster and make labor easier? In this article we give you our top 10 foods to eat at the end of pregnancy to prepare your postpartum! We will also take stock of the virtues of certain foods to induce labor and accelerate delivery.
The meat broth
It is the grandmother’s remedy par excellence! There is nothing like these broths to prepare for childbirth. The bones, blood vessels and connective tissue (i.e. joints and skin) of animals are rich in minerals. By cooking the meat with the bone and skin on, you benefit from all the nutrients they contain and increase the amount of amino acids you get in that meal.
The famous hyaluronic acid that everyone talks about is found in the cartilage and connective tissue of the body. By consuming chicken broth cooked with the skin and bone, or ribs, you access the hyaluronic acid of these animals in an assimilable and most natural form.
The broth is an easy drink to prepare. By cooking the carcass of a chicken, for example, with some meat and skin, you create a very nutrient-rich food. Adding a dash of vinegar to the cooking process increases the minerals that are removed from the bones, and helps break down the cartilage to access the hyaluronic acid. For its use, it’s up to you to use your creativity! It can be consumed alone or as a nutritional drink, used to make soups, added to cereals or other meals.
From week 35/36, you can consume broths daily.
For the recipe of the special postpartum broth and to know all about its benefits, consult
our article on the subject.
Green leafy vegetables
If you are lucky enough to have a garden, you can easily grow them: Swiss chard, kale, arugula, beet greens. During pregnancy and especially before labor and delivery, the nutrients they provide will be essential.
Green leafy vegetables provide you with magnesium, but also iron, zinc, calcium and omega 3, fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin A, K and E, as well as high quantities of vitamin C. However, contrary to popular belief, it is advisable to cook your vegetables to take full advantage of their benefits. Cooking vegetables breaks a chemical bond that “blocks” the release of nutrients.
Seaweed for its richness in iodine
Seaweed is also one of the foods to consume in preparation for postpartum. They provide a nutrient in addition to green leafy vegetables: iodine. We haven’t talked about it yet, because its role in labor and delivery is not that extensive. But iodine is essential for thyroid function. Some women have problems with hypothyroidism after giving birth. Adding a certain amount of seaweed can help prevent these symptoms. So add kombu, wakame, sea lettuce, or nori to your dishes.
To take advantage of the benefits of vegetables, do not hesitate to vary between cooked and raw. By eating some vegetables cooked and others raw, you’ll get the balance you need to get the most out of what these great vegetables have to offer.
Nuts and seeds
Pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds and quinoa are recommended to prepare the work. There are many others that are nutrient dense.
Pumpkin seeds are very rich in minerals (iron, zinc and magnesium). They are also rich in protein and essential fatty acids. Pumpkin seeds also contain other compounds (phytonutrients) that may be beneficial. Research has shown that compounds in pumpkin seeds help regulate insulin levels, which is beneficial for people with insulin resistance or gestational diabetes during pregnancy. The volatile oils in pumpkin seeds also help regulate probiotic balance by killing microbes like bacteria, fungi and viruses that can cause probiotic imbalance (hello group B strep!).
We have already discussed the necessary balance between copper and zinc. Sesame seeds contain good amounts of both. As well as other minerals (calcium, magnesium, iron and phosphorus). Phosphorus is an element we haven’t talked about much, but it is important nonetheless. Phosphorus is a constituent of many different enzymes and hormones.
Sunflower seeds are rich in vitamin E, which is excellent for tissue flexibility, progesterone function and is part of the nutrients in the amniotic fluid. Low levels of vitamin E are associated with preterm labor. Like other nuts and seeds, they are also rich in minerals (magnesium, copper), but these seeds also have high amounts of B vitamins (B6 and Folate), which helps create healthy blood.
Almonds are also very rich in vitamin E, and minerals (magnesium, potassium, copper). They also provide large quantities of EFAs (Essential Fatty Acids), particularly linoleic acid, which is necessary for the production of prostaglandins. Almonds are also beneficial for people with gestational diabetes or insulin resistance. Research shows that the phytochemicals in almonds reduce blood sugar spikes after meals.
Technically a seed, but used as a grain, quinoa is a complete protein. It provides the 9 essential amino acids. It contains many minerals necessary for the proper functioning of enzymes and hormones (phosphorus, magnesium, zinc). It also contains folates and fats (a balance of omega 3 and omega 6). It is easy to cook and, unlike most grains, does not need to be soaked before cooking.
The sweet potato
Sweet potatoes are especially good for preparing for childbirth. They provide the starches and estrogens needed to make hyaluronic acid in the body. In the labor process of childbirth, it can stimulate increased production of estrogen, oxytocin and prostaglandins unique to our body.
Nutritionally, sweet potatoes contain high amounts of vitamin A (hence their color), vitamin C, B vitamins (B6) and minerals (potassium, phosphorus).
Sweet potatoes have been shown to have a beneficial effect on blood sugar levels compared to potatoes. This means they may be an option for people with insulin resistance or gestational diabetes.
Research has also shown a decrease in nerve inflammation of pain perception in people who consumed yams (sweet potato). It can therefore also contribute to the production of endorphins and reduce unnatural pain during labor by reducing pain.
The phytochemicals in sweet potatoes also stimulate the production of fibrinogen, a protein that promotes blood clotting.
In summary, consider sweet potatoes as an ally for opening the cervix.
Like sweet potatoes, bananas help in the production of hyaluronic acid, containing a small amount of plant-based hyaluronic acid.
Contrary to what some people would have you believe, you need sugars in your diet… but not processed sugars, natural sugars. Your brain, cells and body need an element of fructose and glucose to maintain certain functions. Bananas can be used as a healthy sweetener to reduce your refined sugar intake and provide you with a nutritional boost.
Bananas have always been known for their potassium content (white potatoes actually contain more), but they also contain good amounts of B vitamins and vitamin C.
Pre-eclampsia is a concern as delivery approaches. B vitamins, potassium and magnesium are known to reduce the symptoms of pre-eclampsia.
If you have not read our article on the subject, you can read them
. It is a tradition that comes from the Middle East. It was said that women who ate dates had easier deliveries.
Studies that confirm the tradition
A 2008 study showed that women who ate 6 or more dates per day during the 4 weeks before delivery had significantly more dilation (3 cm or more) than those who did not eat dates (2 or less) at admission. 96% of date eaters had a spontaneous delivery compared to 79% of non-date eaters.
The use of oxytocin was less frequent (28%) in date eaters than in non-eaters (47%).
The onset of labor was shorter in date eaters (8 hours or less) than in non-date eaters (15 hours or more).
Many fat-soluble vitamins are very difficult to find and obtain in sufficient quantities in the diet. Butter and cheeses are rich in cholesterol, vitamins A, D, E, K, B vitamins, and more.
Cholesterol is the building block of estrogen, as well as a key to oxytocin receptors. Your cholesterol needs increase dramatically during pregnancy, and especially towards the end of pregnancy, for hormone production and function.
Vitamin D and vitamin K play a crucial role in labor and delivery. Vitamin D helps regulate reproductive hormones. They are also associated for many functions and facilitate the absorption of one by the other.
One study found that 82% of pregnant women were vitamin D deficient. (1) Women who are vitamin D deficient are more likely to request an epidural than women with adequate vitamin D levels. Why? Vitamin D helps regulate nerve sensitivity to pain.
Vitamin K deficiency is a problem. Vitamin K is famous for its functions in blood clotting. Maternity professionals are observing more and more postpartum hemorrhage, which may be partly related to a lack of vitamin K2, specifically, in the diet.
Let’s face it, nobody eats enough liver these days. It is however the best source of nutrients for all reproductive health (prenatal, labor and postpartum).
Liver is full of easily absorbed iron, ALL the B vitamins (very rich in B12 and folate), vitamins A, D, E, K and coenzyme Q10.
B vitamins are important for the production of red blood cells, which are renewed at a high rate during pregnancy, especially the heme part which contains and transports oxygen. In combination with iron, magnesium and zinc, liver is an excellent food for blood building and oxygenation. Making sure you have adequate supplies before labor and delivery will also help with postpartum recovery. Also, if you plan to use NO (nitrous oxide) as a pain management technique, be sure to consume a B12 supplement before labor, as the gas depletes the body of B12.
Maintaining hydration is important towards the end of pregnancy. You can read our our article on the subject. Not only do you need to consume enough water for your body’s daily needs. But also for those of your baby and the amniotic fluid in which it lives and which is constantly renewed. As the placenta begins to age, its ability to produce effective amounts of amniotic fluid begins to decline. Staying hydrated will reduce the risk of low amniotic fluid levels.
Our modern tap water is low in nutrients which does not allow for a highly absorbable and assimilable form of H2O (fluoride and chlorine also deplete your body of nutrients).
If your pregnancy takes place during the summer, then melons are a good solution to keep you hydrated. Melons are a good way to increase amniotic fluid levels. Melons, but also cucumbers and watermelons, contain high amounts of electrolyte trace elements. These minerals can increase the amount of H20 absorbed by doubling the same volume of water. Watermelons not only contain 92% water and the same electrolyte minerals, but also plant chemicals that further increase water absorption.
To combat a decrease in amniotic fluid, or multiple symptoms of dehydration, it is recommended to consume one cucumber, one melon or one quarter of a watermelon per day.
Vegetables that have undergone a natural fermentation process are excellent sources of probiotics. These probiotics are important for balancing the overall flora of the body, they help break down vitamins, such as vitamin K, into a more usable form. This decreases the work your own body has to do to absorb and assimilate them, and increases the amount that can enter the body.
Yogurt, kefir and other cultured dairy products can provide a good amount of probiotics that help regulate the vaginal flora (lactobacilli). Always buy and consume whole milk yogurt from grass-fed cows.
Traditional fermented vegetables are very easy to make. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll have fun trying new veggie and flavor combinations…my kids love beets/kale/cabbage with juniper berries. Fermented vegetables offer K2 in an easily absorbed form, as well as probiotics.
Fermented soy in the form of Natto, Tempeh and Miso is also important to add in the last weeks of pregnancy. They are rich in phytoestrogens that support the normally high estrogenic functions that lead to labor and delivery. Fermented soybeans also provide K2 in very usable forms, as well as B12.
Can honey trigger childbirth?
Results from a 2019 study showed that consuming honey significantly reduces labor pains. 80 healthy primiparous volunteers were included in the research in the form of a randomized clinical trial (40 subjects in each group). Pain was significantly reduced immediately after honey consumption until 120 minutes after the intervention compared to the control group,
Does eating spicy food help to speed up childbirth?
Spicy food can irritate the gut, which can sometimes stimulate uterine contractions. But there is no study that shows that eating spice will send you straight to the delivery room. The same is true for foods like papaya and pineapple. Some believe that the enzymes in these fruits trigger contractions. But there is no evidence that this can trigger labor.
Herbal teas to prepare for childbirth
What herbs should herbal teas contain to prepare for childbirth?
- Raspberry leaves
If you want an organic herbal tea, formulated by an expert, we offer the
welcome baby herbal tea
herbal tea, specially designed to prepare for childbirth.