How to Prepare for Natural Childbirth
3 Ways to Help Your Body Get Ready for Childbirth
Having a baby is a mixture of excitement and anxiety, but even if you feel like you’re not quite ready, your body begins preparing for the birth long before your due date.
Obstetrics gynecology doctors like Dr. Max Izbicki will tell you that there’s no reliable way hurry things along, but you can get your body in condition for an easier delivery. Read on to learn more.
1. Master the Art of Reverse Breathing
All that huffing and puffing you see in movies, though a little unrealistic, does serve a purpose. Reverse breathing involves taking long, slow breaths through your nostrils and releasing them slow and steady through your mouth. If done correctly, you should feel the breath reach to the bottom of your lungs, causing a rise in your belly all the way through to the pelvis.
The purpose of breathing techniques for labor is not just to help you remain calm and focused. The exhalation also helps to release your pelvic floor muscles, enabling an easier passage for the baby. This breathing techniques for labor can be practised on its own while sitting or lying on your back; it also works well in conjunction with exercises.
2. Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor Muscles
In addition to relaxing and controlling your body through breathing techniques for labor, strong pelvic floor muscles help push the baby out. Strengthening this area now also helps with bladder control and getting back in shape after the birth. In fact, as exotic as belly dancing is, the true purpose of this dance is to enhance muscle control during the stages of labor and delivery.
Two great exercises for strengthening the pelvic floor are kegels and pelvic raises. To kegal, start by lying flat on your back, legs extended and arms at your sides. Now, contract the muscles around the entrance to your urethra (these are the same muscles you use the stop your urine stream when peeing. It will feel like you’re actually contracting your vaginal canal, which is just behind the urethra.
You’ll know you’re doing it correctly if the muscles pull inward and slightly up; start by holding for three seconds and release for a count of three, repeating 10 times. Once you get the hang of it, you can practice it in any position. Work your way up to holding for 10 seconds at a time with three seconds between reps.
Pelvic raises begin with you flat on your back, hands palm down at your sides, and your knees bent with feet flat on the floor. Slowly lift your hips until you’re at a 90 – degree angle from your knees to torso; repeat 10 times.
Stretching the perineum, which is the small area between the vaginal opening and anus, will allow the baby a less stressful exit and reduce your chances of needing an incision to open the way. Plies are not only an ideal exercise for this purpose, they also increase lower body strength and flexibility. Stand with legs just beyond shoulder-width apart, with your toes pointing to the outward, and slowly lower your body until your knees are at a 45-degree angle; repeat 10 times.
Even if this isn’t your first baby, it’s important to remember that each birth is unique and babies come when they’re ready. The more prepared you are in mind and body, the easier the stages of labor and delivery will be. Whether your baby is delivered by a physician like Max Izbicki or a midwife, they’ll be able to provide you with more specific information about your unique circumstances.
Would you like to tell us about your own experiences? How did you cope with everything? Were you well enough prepared? Or is your little bundle of joy still due? How exciting! Please feel free to leave a comment below. If you are a (pregnant) blogger yourself, please be sure to leave your site’s link so that I can easily find your blog and reciprocate!
Thank you so much for your precious time!