A BIG question many new expecting mother’s have is “HOW CAN I PREPARE MY BODY FOR LABOR?!” How can I prepare myself for labor? Well look no further Momma; because today I”m going to share all of that and a bag of potato chips!
What are some Exercises to Support a Natural Birth & Labor?
There are four essential areas that every new mother should focus on during pregnancy to ensure her body is ready for the demands of childbirth. Childbirth is a big event and one should prepare and train it for just as any other athletic event!
- Deep Core Strengthening: Understanding your Transversus Abdominus and building strength in this muscle is vital as it is the main muscle in your core that supports your growing baby and will help you push the baby out. You can strengthen this muscle by breathing properly through your diaphragm and doing a belly pump. (Exercises Below)
- Pelvic Floor: Your pelvic floor holds up a lot of extra weight during pregnancy and can become very weak and lax if not cared for correctly. During birth your baby will come out the middle of this muscle and if tearing or an episiotomy takes place it is extremely important to rehab your pelvic floor to reduce pain and irritation. Pelvic floor exercises are key to reducing incontinence and low back pain during and after pregnancy, and this is MORE than just a kegel friend Momma! ( Exercises Below)
- Squats: Squats build up that booty, stabilize the pelvis and increase the strength throughout your core unit. As you go through pregnancy the weight on your legs is going to increase so proper strength is essential. Having strong legs also aids in labor when it comes time to push baby out and provides stability in specific moves to reduce pain.
- Breathing via Diaphragm is the building block to core strength AND supports you as a mother to calm and reduce pain throughout pregnancy and labor and delivery.
How to Prepare for a Natural Labor
As women first become pregnant I think many of use want to go the natural route and have the least interventions as possible. As a mother who was once in that first pregnancy place it can be daunting as well as overwhelming thinking of all the things that we need to prepare for.
Let me uncomplicated that for you!
Here are 5 positive ways to prepare for a natural labor:
- Empower yourself, speak positive thoughts, have others around you support you in this decision specifically your spouse and share with your doctor what your plans are.
- Prepare your mind. Read books (Here are a few great ones to read:
- Prepare your body by exercising 3-5x a week. Labor requires strength and stamina – so it’s important to prepare your body for it properly. There are exercises listed below and be sure to check out my Strong For Birth program.
- Practice relaxation and meditation techniques. Beginning a meditation practice early on will benefit you during the most intense parts of labor and delivery.
- Create a birth plan, put thought behind it, yet be flexible. We all know things do not always go as planned so it is important to be open to changes that may have to take place.
Preparing your body for a natural childbirth is more than just thinking “I’m going to have a natural birth! It is a GREAT place to start; however; there is a lot more that goes into this preparation! Understanding how to strengthen your deep core, pelvic floor, breathing through your diaphragm and exercising your body and mind properly. It is SO possible to have a natural birth and the most important thing to remember mommas is that birth IS natural! Think of all the mammals and non-mammals that give birth everyday!
Here are some first, second and third trimester exercises to build strength for easy birth labor and delivery:
Kaitlin is not a medical professional; she is a certified Fit for Birth Trainer specializing in prenatal and postnatal corrective exercise. As always check with your doctor before beginning any workout routine. Kaitlin is not responsible or reliable for any diagnosis, injury or pregnancy complications. Please refer to DISCLOSURE section at the bottom of this page for more information.