*First I want to put out the disclaimer that I am not a medical expert and you should speak to your provider before trying anything new!*
According to the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, "childbirth is arguably one of the most dramatic musculoskeletal events the human body undergoes". The University of Michigan says that "childbirth is as traumatic as many endurance sports".
I don't know about you but I know I would never willingly run a marathon without training first. And probably training for a good long time... like 9 months.
Thankfully, we typically have plenty of time after we find out we are expecting to prepare our minds and bodies for birth. Here are 10 things that have proven beneficial for women in labor.
1) Squat position. The beautiful thing about this is that you don't have to support your body weight to get the benefits for birth! A supported squat, using doorknobs, countertops, or a scarf around a railing can allow you to sink into a deep squat and strengthen your pelvic floor muscles!
2) Learn your coping mechanisms. Breathing techniques, visualization, affirmations, acupressure points, massage, and many other things can not only help during labor but also in the last weeks of pregnancy when you are likely uncomfortable and antsy about meeting your baby.
3) See a physical therapist. Seeing a PT, one that specializes in the pelvic floor, is becoming more mainstream after childbirth. But if you see one during your pregnancy she can give you the tools, tips, and tricks for preventative measures so your birth is more smooth and your recovery is faster! Check out my post about Sarah Oleksak at Bloom Physical Therapy here!
4) See a Chiropractor. It makes sense that if your body is not aligned properly, baby might not have optimal space for moving into the pelvis. But more than that, a chiropractor can actually help the baby move into a more optimal position.
5) Take a childbirth education class. There are many options that are online which can make it easier to do which schedules. But in-person classes are great for really learning those comfort measures! You can read more about why I think you should go to a real childbirth education class here!
6) Empower yourself. This goes along with tip number 5. Knowledge is power. Learn all your options, know the laws, know the hospital policy. Find out what your providers' statistics are and decide if that aligns with your vision. Figure out the right questions to ask. And know what informed consent means and do not be afraid to ask questions!
7) Come up with a birth plan. I don't always love the word "plan" because you can't really plan it. But, you can know what the procedures are and whether you want to go along with it or what you want to change. Think about different laboring positions, pushing positions, delayed cord clamping, lotus birth, keeping your placenta, immediate skin to skin, gentle c-section, family-centered c-section. You can also look into the newborn procedures and decide what you want to do!
8) Stay fit and as healthy as you can. But also give yourself grace, you're growing a baby and it's exhausting. Walking, stretching, gentle exercise, are all very good for your mind and body during pregnancy.
9) REST! You need every minute of that rest that you can get. Like I said you're growing a human and it's exhausting.
10) Prepare for postpartum. We spend so much time prepping for the birth of our child and so little time prepping for postpartum. Which in some cases can be worse than birth. You will need support and any preparations you can do! I will write about this topic soon, too!
"The moment a child is born, a mother is born also"