Exercising during pregnancy is incredibly beneficial as it can not only keep you fit and healthy but also help you prepare for one of the most important events in your life - labor. The thing about labor is that you never know how it’s going to go. Despite all the preparation and a lot of advice, it’s a lot of stress for your body. Thanks to the plenty of exercises that you can do throughout your pregnancy, you can help your body prepare for labor, making the process go more quickly and smoothly. Pregnancy exercises can help open your pelvis and position your baby in the “left occiput anterior”, or LOA, position, which is the optimal fetal position for childbirth. To help you out, we’ve come up with a variety of exercises that will calm and relax your body and hopefully make things go as smooth as possible.
Squats can train your body to start opening your pelvis while building muscles in your thighs. Start building a simple routine of squats or practicing the “Garland Pose”. You can start this exercise early in your pregnancy and continue right up until labor!
Regular physical activities and a regular exercise routine are extremely important when it comes to being healthy, especially during pregnancy. This is why practicing low-impact cardio like walking not only enriches your body with some fresh air but also helps train your muscles and keep your body in balance as you approach your big day. Aim for at least 30 minutes a day, preferably outdoors for the fresh air, sunlight, and natural surroundings.
3. Perform Lunges
Lunges help stretch the hips and open the pelvis, which helps the baby move into the ideal birthing position. Don’t push too hard on these, just do them nice and smooth, as you would do any normal exercise. Here is how to do them correctly: Stand up straight, then take a big step forward with one leg, keeping your knee over your ankle. The other leg should drop so it’s parallel to the ground. Push back up to starting position, then repeat with the other leg.
4. Pelvic Rocks
This simple pregnancy exercise helps the pelvis loose and lower back limber. Also known as the “Cat-Cow” exercise in yoga, practicing this one during pregnancy is extremely beneficial, especially if you’re very close to your due date. If after 30 weeks you want to try to flip a posterior baby to an anterior position, these pelvic rocks will help you out. Once you’re in the third trimester, do them 3 times a day for up to 20 minutes total each day.
5. The Butterfly Pose
The butterfly pose is another very great exercise to help open the hips - which is a vital step that needs to happen through labor and delivery. Besides that, it can increase flexibility in your pelvic joints, improve blood flow, and make childbirth easier. To get into the pose, sit upright on the floor, and bring the sole of your feet together while bending the knees. Pull your feet toward your body to feel a stretch in your hips and inner thighs, and don’t forget to breathe into it.
6. Parallel Your Feet
“A lot of pregnant women splay their feet wide, but bringing their toes parallel can help separate the sitz bones,” says Brichter. This finds more space in their lower back, which makes labor and delivery easier.
How About YOU?
What exercises or positions did you practice before giving birth?