Pregnancy is a time to prepare for life with a baby, enjoy your growing bump, and take the necessary steps towards a successful home birth. But one of the best ways to use your 9 months? Intentional physical preparation for your natural home birth.

Preparing your body for a home birth is essentially physical preparation for a natural childbirth. A birth that is free of medical intervention.

So, what steps can I take to prepare my body physically for a natural home birth?

  • Incorporate daily movement and stretching into your routine
  • Engage in prenatal fitness of some kind a few times per week
  • Nourish your body with the right foods and nutrients
  • Get the right amount of sleep
  • Listen to your body’s physical needs.

Birth, as you’ve probably heard, is a lot like running a marathon. It’s long and intense. But it doesn’t have to be overwhelming and scary!

Use your 9 months of pregnancy to mindfully prepare your body for this endurance event, and you’ll be ready to take on your natural birth with skill.

Preparing Physically for a Natural Home Birth

Alright, momma, let’s look at the complete picture to help get you physically prepared for natural birth. What’s wonderful about this birth related preparation is that it’s never too early, or too late, to start.

So whether you’ve recently conceived and want to get things started on the right foot, or birth is right around the corner and you want to get your muscles ready for labor with the time you have left, let’s talk about physical preparation strategies you can implement right away!

Daily Movement

The first step in physically preparing for birth is easy to achieve, and might be something you’re already doing. Get yourself moving, momma! Daily walking is an easy way to achieve this and something you can incorporate into your routine.

Walking daily will increase your energy, keep your joints and muscles limber, and aid in physical preparation for birth.

Benefits of walking during pregnancy:

  • Improves cardiovascular health and tones your muscles
  • Lowers your risks of pregnancy complications like preeclampsia and gestational diabetes
  • Helps relieve daily pains and discomforts associated with pregnancy
  • Increases chances of normal delivery because walking targets hip strength

Some ways to incorporate this into your daily routine include a morning walk before work to get your blood moving, a lunch time walk with office buddies (or solo with a great podcast!), or in the evenings with your partner.

Choosing to do this daily with your partner is a great way to connect with them daily and get them as excited about birth as you are.


Stretching is another awesome way to get yourself physically prepared for a natural birth. It’s super easy to incorporate daily without any special equipment or space! You can stretch after your daily walks while your muscles are warm, or any time, as long as you are careful not to overdo it.

Like walking, stretching is beneficial during pregnancy because it relieves common aches and discomforts. It also relaxes and prepares your muscles for childbirth. In the third trimester, certain types of stretches can play a key role in getting baby into the ideal position for childbirth.

This is huge because if baby is not properly positioned for birth, you may be forced to deliver in a hospital instead of at home.

Specific stretches to try during pregnancy:

  • Yogi Squats- whether on your own or with the support of a yoga ball are excellent for stretching your hips and legs, and getting baby into the proper position for birth.
  • Cat-Cow (pelvic rocking)- This stretch is done on your hands and knees, you alternate rounding your back up like a Halloween cat, and then arching it down, like the back of a cow.
  • Butterfly Stretching- seated on your bottom, put your feet together and create butterfly wings with your legs. Modify this pose by putting a pillow under your bottom, or for more of a hip stretch, put your feet further out in front of you so that your legs create a diamond shape
  • Child’s Pose – this can be done on the floor, or you can support your upper body with a birthing ball. This pose might be favorite in actual labor too!

For more amazing pregnancy stretches and details about these check out this article.

Prenatal Fitness

So far, we’ve talked about how daily movement and stretching are important to prepare yourself for a natural birth. However, participating in a fitness program designed for pregnant women (at least a few times a week) is going to give you a huge advantage during your natural childbirth.

Instructors of prenatal fitness and yoga programs typically have special training related to pregnancy and fitness. This means that the program will be 100% safe for you in pregnancy, and that it’s geared towards preparing your body and muscles for labor, pushing, and delivery.

Benefits of prenatal fitness and yoga classes:

  • Prepares your body to “open up” during labor
  • Incorporates breathing strategies that will be useful in labor
  • Strengthens muscle groups that are specifically strained during pregnancy
  • Will help you maintain a healthier weight gain
  • May support a faster labor and delivery

Where to find prenatal fitness classes

Try finding a prenatal fitness class in your area. Check local gyms, yoga studios, YMCAs, libraries, and even OB/GYN offices which may sponsor community events. Doing an in-person prenatal fitness class is a wonderful way to meet other expectant mommas in your area.

If you can’t find a class in your area that fits your schedule, or you want to try to find a prenatal fitness class that specifically prepares for natural childbirth, look online! There are tons of amazing online prenatal fitness opportunities.

A note about prenatal fitness

It’s always best to discuss a big change in activity level with your midwife before beginning a prenatal exercise program to make sure it is safe for you.

Nourishing foods and mindful weight gain

An important conversation to have with your midwife is what a healthy weight gain will look like for you in pregnancy. We all hear the number 25-30 lbs, but this assumes you are at an ideal weight prior to conception. Everyone’s body is different and your weight gain needs may differ from the average.

Prenatal Nutrition

You want to eat plenty of healthy, real foods to physically prepare yourself for a home birth. All pregnant women should try to eat a well-balanced diet that is full of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, dairy, and protein.

While pregnant, you should pay special attention to your intake of these nutrients:

  • Protein – which aids in growing fetal tissue, support your increasing blood supply, and helps your breast and uterine tissue grow
  • Calcium – which helps develop your baby’s bones
  • Iron – which increases your blood volume
  • Folic Acid – which reduces the risks of neural tube defects
  • Omega 3 Fatty Acids – which is essential for baby’s brain development, nervous system development, and visual development

The American Pregnancy Association has more information about recommended daily requirements for these and other nutrients in pregnancy, as well as example foods and serving sizes.

While your prenatal vitamin is designed to help cover deficiencies in your diet, you should not rely on this alone! Challenge yourself to fuel your body high-quality foods in order to maintain a healthy pregnancy.

This is an important step in keeping you eligible for a safe home birth.

Adequate rest and sleep

We’re looking at the complete picture of physically preparing for a home birth during pregnancy. For this reason, it’s important to talk about rest and sleep!

In fact, a study published in 2013 found that poor sleep in pregnancy can actually cause birth-related complications like low birth rate and higher risk for pre-term labor. Another study found a link between not getting enough sleep and a higher likelihood of C-section and/or longer labors.

Sleep is crucial for all humans to maintain a high-functioning immune-system. This may be even more important during pregnancy. Experts recommend that pregnant women get 7-8 hours of sleep at night.

The problem is that sleeping during pregnancy can be really challenging! Most polls indicate that more than 70% of all pregnant women have some sleep disturbances during the night.

Whether you’re up to use the bathroom, are too nauseous to sleep, are generally uncomfortable, or have some anxiety, it can be really frustrating!

Here are a few tips to help you sleep better at night while pregnant:

  • Try to meet your hydration needs for the day before dinner so that you can cut back on water intake leading up to bedtime
  • When you do get up to pee at night, keep the lights low as to not over stimulate
  • If you can’t fall back asleep, nutritionists recommend eating a small, protein-packed snack to help get you back to sleep
  • Invest in a pregnancy pillow, seriously, this is going to make you so much more comfortable! It supports your growing body in all the right places
  • Have a diligent evening routine and try to go to bed at the same time every night
  • Learn about essential oil blends that are safe during pregnancy and aid in better sleep

While nothing is fool-proof, these tips should help you get at least a little more shut eye during your pregnancy.

Listen to your body!

If nothing else, our bodies are designed for pregnancy and birth. Your body knows what it needs for a healthy pregnancy and natural birth. Always honor your body’s needs. If you need an extra hour of sleep, need to skip a workout, or just can’t stomach a salad (especially in early pregnancy!) don’t sweat it!

The goal is to emphasize these physical preparations over the course of your 9 months so that your body is in the best state possible for a safe home birth.

Remember in addition to preparing your body physically before your home birth, you want to prepare mentally too! Don’t miss the great advice in our article, How to Prepare Mentally for your Home Birth.

How are you preparing your body for your home birth? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!


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