The due-date countdown can often seem a little hectic as we all try to prepare our minds and homes for the arrival of our precious bundles. While it’s important to begin nesting and to prepare our hospital bags during the third trimester, it’s a good idea to make time for physical preparation, too.
Pregnancy, labour and delivery all take their toll on the body. Getting familiar with exercises and techniques to prepare for childbirth can help relieve some pain and discomfort when it's baby's time to arrive.
One of the most well-known yoga poses, Child's pose helps lengthen pelvic floor muscles and ease discomfort.
Start by kneeling down and sit on your heels. Then lean forward slowly and walk your arms out long in front of you. Breathe deeply. You also can rest your elbows on the ground in front of you with your hands supporting your head.
As your belly grows, you may need to spread your knees farther apart to create space. Take care to not raise your hips above your heart - and please talk to your physical therapist for safe techniques specific to you!
Deep squats help relax and lengthen the pelvic floor muscles and stretch the perineum. Stand with your legs wider than hip width and slowly squat down as far as you can go with your hands pressed together in front of you.
Your physical therapist can talk with you about how often and how many deep squats you should do.
This is a great way to ease discomfort and lower back pain as pregnancy progresses. Get on your hands and knees, and exhale and round your back as you tuck your chin toward your chest.
Inhale and gently arch your back downward and look up at the sky.
Paced, Modified Paced and Transition/Pushing Breathing Techniques
Even if you're not planning on a natural childbirth, certain breathing techniques for childbirth can help you manage discomfort during labour and delivery and prepare your body for childbirth. Prenatal classes are useful for taking you through these - you can also check out this great article on Parents.com to start practicing.
These exercises aim to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles (which support the uterus, bladder, and bowels.) Toning them can help ease late pregnancy discomforts, including urine leaks and hemorrhoids.
When you're on the toilet, try to stop the flow of urine without tightening your abdominal, buttock, or thigh muscles. This is your pelvic floor muslce.
Try holding or quickly contracting the pelvic floor muscle, or do slow Kegel exercises by contracting the pelvic floor muscle and holding it for three to 10 seconds. Relax and repeat up to 10 times.
Speed the process up by quickly contracting and relaxing your pelvic floor muscle 25 to 50 times. Relax for 5 seconds and repeat the set up to four times.
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