Exercise daily for an easier labor
It's not difficult to find ways to exercise in Central Oregon. In fact spending time out doors is one reason why many people have chosen to live here. Skiing, running, hiking, rafting, and biking are the lifestyles that babies will be born into here in Bend and although some of these may have to be avoided during pregnancy, there are still many ways to stay in shape. Like an athletic event, labor and birth requires months of training physically, mentally and emotionally, and athletic moms have athletic labors. Prenatal yoga, water aerobics and daily "walking the butte" are all available to make a difference for your childbirth. Always check with your doctor/midwife before beginning unfamiliar exercises.
Here are the exercises that we will learn in class:
- With one foot raised on a chair and at 90 degrees to the other foot, lean over the raised knee stretching the pelvic muscles.
- This is an excellent way to turn a posterior baby.
- Two purposeful 20 minute walks per day increases oxygen, helps with insomnia and gets your heart rate up.
- You should maintain a confident but easy pace during which you could carry on a conversation.
- Sit on the floor with feet crossed near hips. Keep the back tall and lean gently forward.
- Use as a replacement for chair-sitting whenever possible. Hips and feet on the same level reduces stress on your deep veins.
- Place feet hip-width apart, keep knees over the toes and gently lower to a deep flat-footed squat. Hold on to a counter top or a partner for balance if necessary. Return to standing by coming up "tail first" and roll the spine up.
- Squatting opens the pelvis and stretches the inner thigh.
- On hands and knees, forming a box with hands directly under shoulders and knees directly under hips, begin with your back in a neutral, level position. Gently relax the lower back, keeping your upper back still. As you return the spine to neutral, pull in your abdominal muscles, thinking "belly button to backbone." This can also be done by placing your back against the wall and flattening it using your abdominal muscles as your knees are lightly flexed.
- Great for relieving back discomfort, and a host of other pregnancy-related discomforts. Use this one for comfort immediately before bed.
- Tone the pelvic floor by contracting and releasing the pelvic floor muscles as if you were trying to start and stop the flow of urine.
- Do several sets of 10-20 throughout the day to reduce urinary incontinence and tone the pelvic muscles that encourage proper fetal position during birth. Get acquainted with the full spectrum of the Kegel muscle.
- Side-lying with a pillow tucked under your head and chest, and another pillow supporting your upper leg and one behind the small of your back. Then consciously think through every part of your body from head to toe and let go of any tension you find. Partners, use this time to give her a massage and don't neglect her hands and feet.