The miracle of life! To create, carry and delivery a baby is truly the greatest gift in the world, but it also requires a lot of hard work, dedication and sacrifice.
Every pregnancy is different, every birth is different and respectively every baby is different. There are no shortage of birth stories, some much more desirable than others. Epidurals and C-sections are indeed life saving procedures, and should be used when necessary. However, in some instances these invasive procedures can be avoided with increased knowledge of natural birth preparation among today’s expectant mothers. Here are 5 easy ways to improve labour:
1. Get Regular Chiropractic Treatments
Pregnancy and childbirth is all about the pelvis; the uterus is suspended within the boney pelvis (the two ilia and sacrum) and dysfunctions in the pelvic joints can directly influence the uterus. If the pelvis is either “twisted” or not moving properly it can create torsion within the uterus, which can effect conception, implantation and most importantly fetal positioning. Difficulties during labour can be greatly reduced if the baby is in an optimal position within the womb.
Prenatal chiropractic treatments are specialized to assess and treat the pelvic ligaments and joints. This allows for maximal space for the baby to grow, develop and prepare for birth. In addition, can decrease discomfort and difficulties for mommies during pregnancy and labour as well.
It has been reported that 50% of pregnant women experience low back pain during their term. Women who receive chiropractic care during their pregnancies, especially in the third trimester are able to carry and deliver their babies with less discomfort and trauma to both the mothers and the babies. Furthermore, chiropractic care can significantly reduce labor time in a large majority of women.
2. Stretching and Strengthening
As ligaments increase in laxity, the surrounding pelvic muscles need more strength to support the spine. It is most beneficial to strengthen the hip extensors and pelvic floor muscles. Some examples are, kegels, supine half bridges and squats. Not only does this help to maintain pelvic stability but it also builds strength and endurance in the squatting birth position used during labor. In addition, simple stretching of the hips can greatly reduce imbalances of the pelvis and help to maintain a healthy spine and uterus.
3. Regular Perineal Massage
The perineum is the space posterior to the vagina, between the vagina and the anus. Starting at 20-25 gestation expecting mothers should regularly massage and stretch the skin and musculature of the vaginal opening for 2-5 minutes daily using an edible oil such as coconut or jojoba (really stretch, this should be uncomfortable). Women who perform regular perineal massage have decreased tearing and need for episiotomies.
4. Crawl on Hands and Knees
As perviously mentioned, fetal position is possibly the most important determining factor when it comes to easing the difficulties of childbirth. Starting at about 27-30 weeks, crawling and stretching on all fours daily helps to set baby up in the perfect position (head down and baby’s face to mommy’s back). These exercises also help to increase strength and endurance in the shoulders and hips which again will benefit the mother during labor. This position “opens” the hips and will be the preferred position during contractions and pushing.
It is a large misconception among expecting mothers that doing vigorous activities will bring on labor. Of course in some instances this is true, however, a women’s body will instinctively wait for a calm and quite time to bring a baby into the world, (which is why most women go into labour over night). It is extremely important that full-term mothers rest and conserve their energy. Every woman would love to have a 4 hour labour, but it may not always happen that way. Child birth is a marathon, and nobody would work out the day before a 26 mile run. Women should be prepared to work hard, squatting, lunging, moving, walking and swaying for 24-48 hours. Women should modify their house chores, yard work, and vigorous exercise, and only do these types of activities a little bit at a time, so they are never over-expending their energy.
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