For those of you out there who are expecting, there are a number of different physical exercises you can do to prepare your body for labour and delivery. As much as possible, I tried to continue life as usual during my pregnancy despite protests from the people around me. My dad insisted that I shouldn’t lift my arms above my head. Others seem quite concerned when they saw me in jumping poses from the Carribean cruise we took in my second trimester. To keep my body in shape, I walked a lot, took prenatal yoga classes and tried out other prenatal classes such as aquafit, pilates and cardiofit. Of course you have to listen to your body but I feel that staying active really helped me to have a good labour and delivery.
I also practiced various relaxation exercises that I read about in the book Natural Childbirth The Bradley Way in order to prepare for the big day. When watching TV, I would “tailor sit” (basically sitting on the floor with your soles together instead of sinking into the couch) in order to stretch and strengthen my pelvis and inner thighs. My husband Clayton and I practiced head-to-toe relaxation exercises together: I would like on the floor on in bed on my side, while he talked me through relaxing every part of my body from the top of my head to the tip of my toes. The second time we practiced this exercise I fell asleep! I tried to do kegel exercises on a regular basis and my doula showed me various labour positions on the ball, on the couch and supported by a partner.
Although I can’t be sure how much these activities helped me to have a great first birth experience, I am glad that I invested the time to practice them. I encourage you to do the same!