A mother nurtures and carries a baby for nine long months and hopes that the baby comes in the world as healthy. Many mothers wish to have a normal, vaginal delivery which is considered best for both the mother and the baby. To have an uncomplicated, smooth delivery is the wish of every pregnant woman. Largely achievable, health of a baby is dependent on the mother’s diet and physical activity levels. You know that you need to keep your weight in check and eat healthy, wholesome food to nourish the baby. You must have heard about techniques that can help you cope with labor pains. Fair enough. But what if we tell you that there are certain physical exercises that will boost your chances of having a normal delivery manifold? Read on!
Exercising During Pregnancy – Take A Health Check
The first and foremost step when you think of exercising during pregnancy is to get your doctor’s clearance. Since every pregnancy is unique, your doctor will be able to tell you if there is something that you need to be extra careful about. Considering your health and past medical history, the doctor will be able to suggest you how and when to start exercising and precautions that you might need to take. There are certain conditions when exercising is not recommended. Some of them are listed here.
Setting Up A Pre-Exercise Checklist
Before you tread on the journey of pregnancy exercises for a normal delivery, make sure you have check marked the below points:
- You are dressed in loose and comfortable clothing
- Your shoes fit you well and are comfortable
- The temperature is neither too hot nor chilly
- You drink a good amount of water before your begin, and you have a bottle ready to quench your thirst at any point when you are exercising
- You are aware of your centre of gravity, so that you do not fall and topple over
- You are not too tired or feeling unwell
If you are suffering from edema, make sure you do not stand for longer periods of time lest the fluids accommodate themselves in the lower limbs. Warming up yourself is a good idea. Stretch yourself a little, walk a little or just swing your arms a bit. Neck and shoulder rotations can also help.
Once you are ready with the above, you can brace yourself for some exercises that will lead you to a normal delivery.
The below exercises can help in getting your baby in an optimal birthing position and strengthening your pelvic floor.
Top 10 Simple Exercises That Can Help You Have A Normal Delivery
- Opening the hips: Your buttocks can be crucial during delivery. Though not recommended after 36th week of pregnancy, you can do a deep squat by taking 5 deep breaths and repeating the squat for 2-3 times. This exercise will help to release all the energy from the pelvis, thus facilitating a natural delivery
- Pelvic Tilts or Angry Cat: Get on your yoga mat and suck in your abdominal muscles by getting on all fours and knees touching the ground. Now pull your hips in line with your stomach, hold and release. This exercise strengthens your back and helps in labor when back muscles need to work a lot
- Squats: Taking this classic toilet position will loosen your pelvic muscles and lower delivery pains. Contractions will not be very tough on you, as your thighs and pelvic area will get a good pressure with squats. You can do squatting with a gym ball and thus ease your labor and delivery pains
- Kegels: Much has been said about these amazing pelvic exercises which are not just good during pregnancy, but are good for almost every woman. You can do them anywhere with no assistance, whatsoever. Contract your pelvic muscles, just like you are trying to stop a string of pee, and release. Do not attempt Kegels when urinating, though. You can read more about Kegels in pregnancy here
- Downward Facing Dog: Adho Mukha Svanasana or downward facing dog can be practiced safely in all stages of a healthy pregnancy. Holding the forward leaning position can be beneficial to encourage a baby into an optimal birthing position. Hold the positions for 30 seconds or 5 breaths
- Pregnancy Yoga: Yoga during pregnancy is a dual blessing. Apart from strengthening your core muscles for labor and delivery, Yoga also relives stress and provides one mental nourishment. You will notice increase in your endurance and flexibility, plus your mind will be at peace. Read the best yoga exercises for women here
- Cobbler pose: Also known as a tailor pose, cobbler pose is an excellent way to open up you vaginal area and make it flexible. When labor comes, the pelvic muscles will be strained, and a flexible opening can assist the baby to pass through the birth canal with ease. Place some cushions below your back and thighs, and bring your feet together forming a closed V. Let your palms be open and facing upwards, rest them on the cushions as well. Alternatively, you can sit and bring your feet together as well
- Walking: Walking is such a simple thing to do and has amazing benefits. Pregnancy and walking share a beautiful relationship, where walking helps with pregnancy accompaniments like constipation and high blood pressure. This physical activity also helps to avoid gaining fat at odd body parts. Plus the relaxation it offers is a bonus. Read more about walking during pregnancy here
- Breathing Exercises: Breathing is crucial during pregnancy as it is oxygen that carries all nutrients to your baby. Your body needs adequate oxygen for the baby to develop and your body to function properly. Breathing exercises like deep breathing will help you calm and relax. Belly breathing can divert your attention from pain and assist you have a normal delivery
- Swimming: If you have an access to a pool and have an otherwise healthy pregnancy, then swimming can prove to be the best exercise for you in pregnancy. Not only will it boost your strength and improve circulation, it will also build your endurance levels to carry a delivery naturally
Though all the above listed exercises are pretty safe during pregnancy, yet we urge you to seek your doctor’s advice before starting any of them.
Remember:Any exercise that needs holding your breath, bouncing, too much stretching, deep knee bends, rapid movement should not be followed by you.