Couples prepare for childbirth months and months ahead of time. They decide on various things like where to give birth, what to name the baby, and even gender reveal parties. In the middle of these exciting aspects, parents-to-be must not forget about doing childbirth preparation exercises. This is because childbirth preparation exercises bring a lot of benefits for both the mom and the baby.
What are the benefits of childbirth preparation exercises?
- Exercising relieves pain (especially back pain), prevents constipation, and promotes better sleep.
- It promotes blood circulation, and thus also gives you a healthy glow.
- Childbirth preparation exercises also help mothers regain their “pre-pregnancy” body quickly.
- And finally, it eases the process of childbirth by increasing strength and endurance.
Childbirth Preparation Exercises for the First Trimester
Reverse lunges are great childbirth preparation exercises for the first trimester because they strengthen the core muscles, legs, and hips. Additionally, they improve balance and encourage the baby to assume an optimal birthing position.
To do reverse lunges:
- For better support and to make it safer, hold on to the back of the chair. This is your starting position.
- Brace your core and lunge by doing the following:
- Extend your right foot backward at about 12 inches.
- Bend the back of your right knee until it touches the floor.
- Stand up again at the starting position.
- Now, lunge using your left leg.
- Try to lunge using each leg for 3 to 5 times, and then work your way up to 5 to 10 times on each side.
Wall Slide is a perfect first-trimester exercise because it strengthens the lower abdomen and spine. Additionally, it also helps in soothing backache. These are the reasons why a wall slide is one of the best childbirth preparation exercises. To perform a wall slide:
- Stand with your back flat against a wall. Your feet must be facing straight in front of you. Consider this as the starting position.
- Slowly slide your back until it seems like you are sitting on an invisible chair.
- Make sure that your thighs are parallel to the floor.
- Raise your hands over your head with your arms flat to the wall.
- Slowly slide your arms down until your hands are on either side of your head. This position is called “Surrender position” as it looks like you are surrendering.
- Go back to the starting position.
- Repeat this exercise for 10 counts.
Childbirth Preparation Exercises for the Second Trimester
Doing planks is one of the best ways to improve your core muscles, your arms, and your back. It’s one of the simplest childbirth preparation exercises to perform. Do this by:
- Prepare a yoga mat or an appropriate alternative.
- Get down on your hands and knees.
- Slowly lift your knees and extend your legs behind with your feet wide apart.
- Make sure that your back is straight and steady.
- Your elbows should be directly below your shoulders and your palm flat to the mattress.
- Additionally, ensure that you won’t let your tummy sag or your back arch.
- Hold the position for 1 to 2 breaths and work your way until you can hold it for 5 breaths.
- Engage your core and distribute your weight evenly throughout your body.
Because it helps a lot in ensuring that the mother gains enough flexibility for delivery, downward dog is one of the best childbirth preparation exercises. It also stretches your lower back and your legs. To do this exercise:
- Prepare a yoga mat or an appropriate alternative.
- Get on your hands and knees. This is your starting position.
- Make sure that your hands are directly below your shoulders and your fingers are wide apart.
- Anchor yourself using the balls of your feet, planting your toes firmly on the floor.
- Pressing on your toes and palms, lift your hips.
- In this position, your back and legs are straight. If you get tired or your calves get tight, you can press one of your heels to the floor.
- When you’re done, bring your knees down and assume the starting position.
- Repeat for as many times as you want.
Childbirth Preparation Exercises for the Third Trimester
Pelvic Floor Stretching
Pelvic floor stretching is also one of the best childbirth preparation exercises because it encourages smooth labor and delivery. To do pelvic floor stretching:
- Prepare a yoga stack or block.
- Stand with your back to the wall and your foot right in front of you.
- While breathing in through your nose, slowly slide down;
- As you move further down, exhale through your mouth until you are seated on the yoga stack.
- Put slight pressure just above your knees to spread them apart. This is called “butterfly stretch”.
- Feel the stretch and hold it for about 90 seconds.
- Close your knees and repeat.
Plié squats are perfect if you want to improve your balance. They are also good at strengthening the quadriceps, the hamstrings, and the buttocks, so they are prepared for childbirth. To do these squats:
- Use the back of a chair to support yourself.
- Stand beside the back of the chair and hold the top using the hand closest to it. Consider this as your starting position.
- Spread your legs wider than your hips, with your feet parallel to each other.
- Turn your toes and knees to a 45-degree angle and pull your belly button up and in.
- With your other hand holding on your waist, bend your knees and lower your torso.
- Lower your torso as far down as you can while keeping your back straight.
- Go back to starting position and repeat for as many as you are comfortable with.
- Start slowly. 5 minutes a day is a good benchmark. Add 5 minutes every week until you reach half an hour.
- Don’t forget to stretch before each exercise.
- Dress comfortably.
- Keep yourself hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
- Don’t exercise if you are sick.
- And finally do not force an exercise if your body doesn’t feel good about it.
Childbirth preparation exercises are one of the ways to ensure that the process of labor and delivery happens with little to no mishaps. Of course, you must also take into consideration other factors, such as diet and nutrition. Remember to prioritize safety at all times and only do exercises that do not strain or exhaust you throughout pregnancy.
Learn more about Pregnancy, here.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.