Giving birth is usually not an easy feat. Fortunately, there are several exercises you can do while pregnant that will help prepare your body for labor and delivery.
Doing exercises which place emphasis on strengthening the abdominal muscles and relaxing pelvic-floor muscles can help you in pushing more effectively. They can also contribute to shorter labor times and help position your baby into an optimal birthing position.
These exercises are simple to do but before trying any of the following, consult your doctor:
- Squats –The American Pregnancy Association recommends squatting during labor to open up the pelvis. Squatting expands the pelvic outlet to as much as 10%, which allows more room for the baby to move down to the birth canal. This exercise also strengthens the thighs as well as the abdomen, which is crucial during pushing.
- Kegels- Pelvic floor exercises such as kegels help in strengthening vaginal muscles and muscles that support the uterus. Kegels can help you to develop control of these areas during labor and delivery, which eases some of the discomforts of giving birth.
- Pelvic tilts or angry cat- This exercise strengthens abdominal muscles and has been known to help ease back pain during labor. It also encourages optimal fetal positioning.
- Walking- This is a great way to prepare your body for delivery. Many women who are near or pass their due date are advised to walk because its rhythm helps to move the baby further toward the cervix, which applies pressure and stimulates dilation. Walking has also been found to strengthen and help regulate contractions.
Every woman’s pregnancy is different, so speaking with your doctor (especially if you are high risk) about performing these exercises is very important. If these activities are done incorrectly you may run the risk of harming yourself and your baby.
All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.