As I go into labor, I want to know I did everything possible to prime my body for this experience. While many women probably do nothing to prepare and still have normal, healthy labors, I still want to cover my bases. My goals are to keep my body in complete balance so that when it’s time for the baby to descend, he has the best chance possible to make that journey smoothly. [Read more about that here.]
Below are five physical things I’ve done to get my body in shape for birthin’.
I talk about this class a lot, but it’s really been SO helpful for me. Not only for all the reasons I mentioned in this post, but also because my squat is now deeper, my pelvis more rockable and my understanding of the childbirth poses stronger. It also has been great to have my yoga teacher and doula be one in the same since I have gotten to know her both personally and professionally. I have friends who went to her yoga class for months and said laboring with her was wonderful and familiar because they used many of the same positions from class. I’ve made every effort to get to my Tuesday night class and try not to miss a week!
Weight Lifting + Physical Stamina
I look at labor as somewhat of an athletic event. I’ve heard moms say in their birth stories that being active really helped them get through the physical endurance it requires. Caitlin said in her birth story that she could not have imagined going through it without staying active throughout her pregnancy. I’ve heard other moms say that the closest thing they’ve done to giving birth is run a marathon. Thus, I have viewed a lot of my activity as preparation for labor. I’ve kept my body strong with Pump classes twice a week and my stamina up with tons of walking, some cycling and a little bit of swimming – nearly daily exercise of in some shape or form. While I’m not sure that I could run an 8 minute mile right now, I do feel that my fitness level has been maintained – at least to the level that I’ll need to be in good physical shape for the big event ahead.
I have not been a chiropractic patient in the past – mostly because I’ve been lucky not to have any issues with my back or structure that have caused me pain. But I knew upon getting pregnant with so much change going on in my body that I wanted to be proactive about keeping things balanced. It helps that my friends own a clinic that made going to my first visit very accessible and not scary. My insurance luckily covers it (with a co-pay) up to a certain number of visits a year, so I’ve been going every 2 weeks starting in the second trimester for an adjustment. For the most part, my body has been aligned well, but there have been times when my pelvis was off that I’m glad we fixed before it got worse. I can only imagine all the changes going through that area with the growth of the bump pulling and the hormone changes. I don’t think that chiropractic is absolutely necessary in pregnancy, but I wanted to be sure to catch something before it became a problem – and I want to make sure my pelvis is perfectly aligned when go-time happens and the baby must squeeze through! And thankfully my insurance supports chiropractic for wellness.
Hand-in-hand with chiropractic, I’ve been getting regular massages. Now this isn’t something I would be doing regularly with the typical costs of massage or at a luxury spa, but CORE has a massage therapist in the building that is able to take my insurance (up to 15 visits – yay Blue Cross) if it’s referred through Dr. Tate. I’ve been seeing Erica regularly and she does amazing things for my hips, glutes, legs and back. The massage has been great first for symptom relief, but second it’s also helped to keep my body loose and counter the weight lifting I’ve done. I’ve heard a tight butt and hips are the last thing you want when your pelvis wants to open!
Continuing the “balance the body” theme, I’ve been doing stretches at home to keep my body limber. Mostly an extension of the poses from yoga, squats, hip openers and sitting in cobbler’s pose. I don’t do them too often – maybe once or twice a week I’ll do a series when I get out of bed in the morning or in bed at night. Additionally, Jen, our doula, taught me several stretches. You can find them on Spinningbabies.com. This inversion I try to do once a week or so (it relaxes all the ligaments) and this side stretch that is a partner stretch with Matt is AMAZING on the hips and glutes!!
Do I think it’s necessary to do these things to have a healthy pregnancy and give birth? No. But they are all things that have personally helped me and will hopefully give me the best possible physical preparation for the Big Day(s ).
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