Preparing our bodies for childbirth is very important. Childbirth takes a lot of energy, strength, and a some flexibility. I have put together a list of some of my favorite exercises to help you get your body ready to give birth.
Taylor Sitting- Sit on floor with you back perfectly straight. Next, bring the bottoms of your feet together with your knees out to the side. bring your heels toward you body while pressing your knees as far down to the ground as you can. Practice this as often as possible to help with hip flexibility.
Squats- Squat down with your butt as low as you can get it without touching the ground and while keeping you heels flat, stay down for 5-10 seconds, then slowly and smoothly stand back up with out bending over or going down on your knees or butt first. You may need help getting up and down at first, but the more you do it the better you will get at it. This will help with leg strength and flexibility and it helps stretch out the perineum (other exercises to help the perineum).
Cat/Cow- Get down on your hands and knees. Arch your back up like a cat and look in toward your thighs, hold for 5 seconds. Now, arch you back down, stomach lowered toward ground, and look straight ahead, hold for 5 seconds. Repeat this several times. This will help you with back flexibility. This is a good stretch for right before bed because it can help a lot with the aches and pains that can interfere with sleep during pregnancy.
Thigh Pushes- Sit on the floor with your back propped up on pillows, knees are bent and together and heels are pulled in toward your bottom. Have your partner place their hands on the outside of each knee. Now, while your partner applies light pressure push your legs apart. Do this 5-10 times twice a day. This will help strengthen your thighs for birth, as you may be in this position for a lot of it.
Wall Sits- Stand with your back against a wall and slide down the wall until your legs form a chair. Hold this for around 10 seconds, slide back up the wall, wait 5 seconds and then repeat the sit. Do this 5 times a day. As you get stronger add to the amount of time you spend "sitting", see if you can work your way up to a whole 60 seconds. This helps strengthen your thighs and is great for anyone who wants to birth in a squatting position.
Kegels- Beginner Kegels- Flex the PC muscles. If you are clenching you butt your aren't doing it right. It may help you to understand what it should feel like by stopping and starting the flow of urine. It is recommended that you do this 300 times a day. I know that sounds like a lot, but it is the equivalent of 5 to 10 minutes a day. Once you have mastered this, move on the next level.
Intermediate Kegels- Now, instead of flexing 300 times per day, you will be flexing just 36 times. However, now each time you flex try holding it for ten seconds. Once you have mastered this, move on to the next level.
Advanced Kegels- Now you will only be doing about a dozen flexes a day. Flex just the lower portion of the vaginal barrel, then the middle, then the upper portion. Now, release the upper portion, then release the middle, last release the lower portion.
(From Natural Birth the Bradley Way by Susan McCutcheon)
Kegels help to strengthen the pelvic floor which will help prevent tearing during childbirth (other exercises to help the perineum) and can help speed up recovery.
Remember, just because you are pregnant doesn't mean you should stop exercising. If you already have an exercise routine in place stick with and add these moves to pinpoint those special needs for childbirth. As long as you are healthy enough, KEEP MOVING!
On Friday I will have some exercises (that you can d WITH your baby) to get you back into shape once your baby arrives.
Come back on Wednesday to enter my first giveaway for some great software that will help preserve your precious memories.