Nobody would jump into a marathon race without training for it. Why should your delivery be any different? Carrying a child, the labour and the delivery are just as taxing on our bodies, or even more! Here are the best exercises that will help you train for an easier and quicker normal delivery!
Exercises for Normal Delivery
Our pelvic floor is composed of soft ligaments and muscles that hang like a swing between our hip bones, supporting our intestines, fat, kidneys, uterus, bladder and the other organs. Kegels are fantastic because they help strengthen the pelvic floor to bear the increasing stress of carrying the extra baby weight. They also help the birth canal expand during labour and prevent urinary incontinence problems that are very common after birth. Studies have also proved that women who practice Kegels regularly have shorter active labour than those who did not.
To do Kegels, tighten your pelvic floor as if you are trying to stop urinating midstream. That’s it! Concentrate only the pelvic area without clenching your thighs, stomach or butt and don’t hold your breath. Start holding your muscles for around 4 seconds and gradually work up to 10 seconds. Leave ample time for recovery. Work up the repetitions as you go. Aim for around 5 to 10 sets three times a day at the max.
To perform squats, stand straight with your feet placed apart in shoulder-width. To balance, you can hold your hands out straight in front of you. Keep your back straight, support your body on your heels and slowly lower yourself into a squat position. Go slowly only as far as you are comfortable. Return to the starting position. Take care not to lose balance; don’t hold your breath or push yourself – it is better if you get the help of a professional in this workout. You can aim for 3 sets of around 10 reps max.
Downward facing dog
This exercise is safe to do on all trimesters. Leaning forward and holding the position can be greatly beneficial in bringing the baby to the optimal birthing position.
The cobbler pose is an excellent way to open up the important muscles of the hips. It is also very easy to do and perfect for relaxing after normal activities.
Whether you are pregnant or not, stretching feels like every bone in the body is put back in the correct place and given a squeezy hug. Stretching regularly during pregnancy can help improve your range of motion, alleviate pain, prevent development of new pains and release tightness in muscles. Stretch when you wake up, before you exercise, in the middle of a tiring day, after a comfy movie – anytime. No exercise is complete without stretching.
Sitting properly can be crucial in helping your baby descend low, ready for birth. Once you hit the 7-month mark, stop reclining. Always sit upright, in the squatting position or a cross-legged fashion with your pelvis tilted slightly forward. Wherever you sit, make sure that your hips are higher than your knees. You can also use a firm exercise ball and sit on it instead of your regular chairs.
What kind of cardio can I do while Pregnant?
As long as your doctor gives you the go-ahead to exercise, including cardio in your routine when pregnant can really help you build up good muscle tone and blood circulation. One other greatest gift of cardio is good endurance, which you will be thankful for when you need to push for hours! Here are some great cardio exercises that will help you achieve normal delivery.
Walking is the safest exercise, perfect for all levels, through all trimesters. Pick good shoes, choose your own pace and walk with love. Do not exhaust yourself or push yourself too hard. Walking is easy to learn, requires no special equipment and is very relaxing – tag along with a partner for an extra joy factor. Walking is the best exercise you can do while in active labour to help with the contractions!
Pull all your favourite albums out and have a party with yourself every day. Choose tunes that make your heart jump with joy and shake your leg like no one’s watching. You could also sign up for that dance class you’ve been thinking of so long. Just be careful that you don’t leap in too much enthusiasm or twirl too hard so you lose balance. Ouch!
Another quick titbit – your baby will be able to hear those songs from around the 5th month! Even after birth, many fussy babies have calmed down after hearing the familiar tunes they grew up with! Pass on your awesome music tastes to your tiny tot!!
Swimming is a great way to work out while having fun, that is, erm, if you know how to swim. Many moms to be love swimming because even if they feel like a blue whale waddling around in the third trimester, the instant they hit the water, they’re absolutely weightless. Swimming also makes use of all your large muscle groups, is a good cardio work out and helps relive nausea, puffy ankles and sciatic pain.
Runs or jogs are good for building endurance for the big day. If you are a veteran, you could start light jogs from your first trimester and progress to relaxed running in the third trimester. If you’re a newbie, stay away from this without proper supervision. Also, in the third trimester, the ligaments and tendons in your body begin to loosen up in preparation for flexibility to make way for the baby, so you’ll injure yourself or tear a tendon (double ouch!) if you run without proper prior experience or guidance.
Joining a pregnancy aerobics group is a wonderful experience. You can gracefully train with other moms, know about the creepy cravings they have, examine each other to assess stretch mark territories and can get two hundred different tips on how to make heartburn vanish. (Spoiler Alert: It is there to stay, until D-day). Oh, and also, you’ll get fit, flexible and stronger.
These are the best exercises that will help you achieve normal delivery by reducing the labor pain and duration. Just keep in mind not to over exert yourself and talk to your doctor if you have any doubts.