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Self Care

Ways to Prepare your body for birth

When it comes to babies, there is so much emphasis on preparation - financial and professional decisions, decorating and preparing the home, readying your family for the new arrival, it is all happening and it is all to create a warm and welcoming world for this new little life. One of the most responsible and loving things you can do for you new baby, is prepare your body for birth. Women’s bodies are not only capable of nurturing life for 9 months, but also of sustaining the huge effort of bringing that life into the world.

There are several things that you can do to prepare your body for the blood, sweat and, yes, tears that natural childbirth invariably brings. Just because it is difficult at times, and with all the invariable aches and pains it is easy to forget but important to remember, this is what we are designed to do.

Yes, there are a few challenges, and yes, those challenges can sometimes give rise to complications or difficulties at Birth. But this accounts for a small percentage of women, and we would like to focus our attention on most births which, whilst not without their hitches, progress naturally.

Healthy Body

Having a fit and healthy body is probably the simplest way you can prepare for Birth. Keeping active ensures you will have the fitness and endurance to cope with Labour. they don’t call it Labour for nothing!

You do not need to start marathon training, but low impact exercises such as swimming, walking, yoga, Pilates, lunging and stretching are all great ways to strengthen your body.

* Talk to your GP before starting any pregnancy exercise program.

Daily Exercise

Stretching everyday is one of the easiest forms of pregnancy exercise. It is relaxing, strengthening, and can be done anywhere, anytime. 20 minutes of stretching in the morning is a wonderful way to start your day and will kick start your energy and positive thinking. Whether it is on the living room floor, out under the trees or in the park down the road, it will not just strengthen your body but ready you for the day ahead.

Easing Backache, Relieving Leg Cramps etc. Walking briskly for 45mins is a great all-round exercise to do while pregnant. Start with stretching, then 10minutes walking and work your way up to a 45min goal.

Swimming is an excellent low-to-no impact way to work out, particularly if back or pelvic pain is restricting other exercise. Alternate your strokes with walking and paddling, or take on a fun water aerobics class, making sure you inform your instructor that you are pregnant.

Breaking a sweat is fine, but if you are a gym junkie or heavily into fitness, talk to your GP about what you should be avoiding and how to adapt your fitness regime to pregnancy. It is important to avoid any rigorous exercise, high impact or jarring workouts and any excessively heated environments such as saunas, spas etc.

Exercise at any time, not just during pregnancy, is not supposed to be torture and especially in the lead up to Birth, should be a positive thing for you and will help you not just physically but emotionally too, knowing what you are doing is benefiting yourself and your baby.

Even specific ways of Sitting, commonly called “Tailor Sitting” – cross legged on the floor will eliminate pressure on the pelvis and promotes circulation in the legs. Sitting like this, with your back nice and straight and taking steady slow breaths, takes the pressure off your uterus and stretches your legs - a great way to prepare your inner thighs for the second stage of labour. This is an easy exercise to do while folding washing, watching tv or reading.

Tailor Sitting helps your body prepare for Birth in two ways. First, as explained above, helps build and maintain flexibility in the legs, allowing for more ease on your “push position”. Secondly, it builds the flexibility in your Pelvis, the bones in which your baby will be pushed through during labour. These bones are designed to move and flex, and any stretching of these bones may help accommodate your baby in your birthing position.

Kegel Exercises – during pregnancy there is increased pressure on the pelvic floor. This is made up of the layers of muscle stretching from the front of the pubic bone to the base of the spine. Your pelvic floor supports your bladder, uterus, vagina and bowel, and is especially important for bladder control. These muscles also play an important role in Labour and post-birth.

The simplest way to strengthen these muscles is with Kegel Exercises, which can be done wherever you are, since nobody knows you are doing them except you! There are a few ways you can carry out these exercises

  1. Sit on a chair with your feet and shoulders evenly spaced and your feet flat on the ground. Relax your chest, stomach and leg