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You are here: Home - Pregnancy - Labor & Childbirth

4 Exercises To Make Labor & Childbirth Easier

by Alison Wood | April 27, 2013 12:00 AM
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We've all seen the classic movies of the women in childbirth. The few loud grunts and pushes, and then it's over. Sometimes it's just not that quick and easy. Growing a baby inside the womb is loads of work, and birthing a baby into the world is no less work. How can you prepare for that big day of labor pains and childbirth? How can you make things go a little smoother and hopefully quicker?

One easy step is Kegel exercises. Kegel exercises are simply small contractions of the pelvic floor muscles. These muscles support the bladder, urethra, uterus and rectum. Routinely performing Kegel exercise can improve circulation to your vaginal and rectal area. By doing this, these exercises also speed healing to wounds experienced after an episiotomy as well as keep hemorrhoids under control. Women that have consistently exercised their Kegel muscles during pregnancy have reported experiencing shorter pushing stages in labor than women that never performed Kegels during the pregnancy time period. That's enough to get any woman on a Kegel exercise regime!

How to Do Kegels:

The process is simple. First, locate your Kegel muscles so you are able to contract and release them. The easiest way to locate your muscles is to try to stop your flow of urine when urinating. The muscles that you feel stopping the flow are your Kegels. Once you have located your muscles, tighten the muscles for five to ten seconds and release. Repeat many times. Aim for about 20 contractions a day. Remember, you can do this anywhere! Try to take thought to try them when you are at the computer, watching TV, waiting in the doctor's office, or driving your car. There are too many benefits from Kegels to not work these exercises in daily.

While Kegels are the most well-known and most productive exercise to prepare your womanly parts for labor and delivery, there are other exercises that can help as well.

What Does Labor Feel Like?

Pelvic tilt or Angry Cat

This exercise strengthens the abdominal muscles and can help ease back pain during pregnancy and labor. What woman doesn't need some back pain relief during labor?

To try this helpful exercise, get down on your hands and knees and keep your arms shoulder-width apart with knees hip-width apart. Make sure you keep your arms straight, but do not lock your elbows. Slowly inhale and tighten you abdominal muscles while tucking your buttocks under. Keep your back rounded as you tighten your tummy. Then, exhale while returning to the first position. Repeat as often as you feel comfortable.

Squat

The classic squat is great for strengthening your thighs and opening your pelvis. To perform squats suitable for pregnancy and childbirth, face the back of a chair with your feet slightly more than hip-width apart. Keep your toes pointed outward and hold the back of the chair for support and balance.

Tighten your tummy and stick out your chest. Shoulders should remain relaxed at all times. Next, slowly squat down and keep most of your weight toward your heels. Inhale as you squat down and exhale as you stand back up. Try to do three sets of 10 per day. For convenience and comfort, try ten repetitions in the morning, ten in the afternoon and ten in the evening. Breaking up your exercises throughout the day can help you remain faithful to your routine and not feel overly exhausted.



Tailor or Cobbler Pose

This pose can help open your pelvis and loosen your hip joints in preparation for birth. It has also helped women attain a better posture and offers relief for lower back pain.

To begin this pose, sit up perfectly straight against a wall. The soles of your feet should be touching. Next, press your knees down and away from each other and stay in this position until you become uncomfortable. Always do these movements slowly and gently.

Before you begin any exercise or exercise routine, check with your primary physician about his recommendation of what exercises are right for you and your health.

Alison Wood is a stay-at-home mom of six and freelance writer and blogger. She enjoys raising her six children and desires to share her experiences to help other mothers.

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