Okay, this post is totally not because I'm anywhere near getting ready for birth! I haven't had that urge (yet?). But I imagine this advice is plenty pertinent for quite a few of you, or someone you know. There are so many things I wish I had known before getting pregnant and giving birth, things I wish I had prepared for. If there is a third baby in our future, I'll definitely being trying a few of these tricks!
If I said that I was going to run a marathon in 9 months, it is common
knowledge that I would need to get ready for it. I would have to set a
training schedule to prepare my body for the long distance: 26.2 miles,
average completion time 4 hours.
What if I said that I was pregnant, and I was going to give birth in 9 months. Would the expectation be that I would train for this? Probably not. Why is that? For many first time mothers labor can last for hours, with the average length of active labor being 12 hours give or take. Preparing the body to sustain increasing mass during pregnancy and preparing the hips and the pelvis for vaginal delivery should be part of the “mother to be” training.
In order to have a pain-free pregnancy and complication-free vaginal delivery here are some requirements:
- Strong thigh muscles to support the weight of the torso
- Hip mobility
- Moveable sacrum
- Strong deep abdominal muscles
- Pelvic floor muscles that will yield
It is going to take some time to attain the requirements above. Start your program as soon as you find out you are pregnant! And if you’re reading this and are 30 weeks along, it is not too late to start!
Your training program should include:
- Optimal postural alignment
- Proper footwear
- Hip mobility and leg strengthening
Squatting improves the mobility in the hips, strengthens the glutes and legs, promotes a wider pelvic outlet and allows the pelvic muscles to yield. Exercises to address lateral glute strength will prevent the pregnancy waddle and decrease the instability and excessive motion at the pelvis.
- Deep abdominal and pelvic floor training
Learn how to activate your deep abdominal muscle transverus abdominus
without holding your breath. Learn how to utilize this muscle for the
pushing stage of labor. Learn how to let the pelvic floor relax in order to allow the baby to pass through without tearing (yes, this takes practice).
If you are in the Salt Lake City area, I have a Birth Mechanics workshop coming up Sept 29th. Check out my website for more information.