Most doctors recommend occasional - albeit moderate - exercise for pregnant women. Not only does regular exercise help keep mother’s fit and healthy for their pregnancy, but it benefits the developing baby too. Alongside these more obvious benefits, however, there are other potential benefits of prenatal exercise. Did you know, for instance, that there are certain exercises that can help ease the pain of labour on your big day? Want to find out more?

 

In this week’s article, we’re going to take a look at four exercises recommended by medical professionals to help ease pain during labour. We hope these help. Take a look.*


Let’s explore these exercises in turn.


-Kegel Exercises


In the late stages of pregnancy, many women report issues like urine leakage and hemorrhoids. One effective way to prevent such complaints is to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. That’s where kegels come in.


The great thing about kegel exercises is that they are low-intensity and can be done anywhere. You can do them at home, in your office, or in your car.


How to do the exercise:


There are two ways to do kegel exercises: by holding the pelvic floor muscle for 5-10 seconds at a time or rapidly contracting the pelvic muscles, in quick succession.


For slow kegels, contract the pelvic floor muscle and hold for about 5-10 seconds. Now relax. Repeat this about 10 times.


For faster kegels, contact your pelvic muscles quickly and relax them, 25-50 times. Do not pause for an extended period between contractions. After each set of 25-50, rest for 5 seconds. Repeat this up to 4 times.


-Tailor Sitting


Tailor sitting - also known as the ‘tailor pose’ - is an exercise commonly performed in yoga. Performing this position on a regular basis will help loosen up the pelvis and prepare you for the act of childbirth. It can also strengthen your muscles in your back, thighs and pelvis and improve your posture.


How to do the exercise:


To do this exercise, find a comfortable spot on the floor and sit with your back straight. Put your legs in the ‘butterfly’ position, by having the soles of your feet touching one another. Loosen your knees and legs so you find the position comfortable.


Now, gently press both knees towards the floor. You should feel this exercise in your inner thighs. Hold this stretch for about 10-15 seconds and release. Repeat the stretch about 5 - 10 times. Note: don’t rock your knees up and down in rapid succession. Take your time with this.


-Pelvic Tilt


The pelvic tilt is a great exercise for strengthening abdominal muscles and helping reduce pregnancy-related back pain. Performing this exercise on a regular basis can help make your delivery easier and ease labour pain.


How to do the exercise:


There are different ways to do the pelvic tilt. One can do it standing - or in other ways - but the best way for pregnant women is as follows: position yourself on all fours, with your arms shoulder-width apart and your knees hip-width apart. Keep your arms straight but don’t lock your elbows.


Next, tighten your abdominal muscles and arch your back upward. Stay in this position for several seconds. Relax your stomach and back. Repeat this 3-5 times. Aim for about 10 repetitions.

 

-Squatting


Squats are great for strengthening your legs and thighs, and can help improve your ability to open your pelvis, on the big day.


How to do the exercise:


Although squats can be done in different ways, one of the safest and most effective ways - for pregnant women - is to use a chair to help provide support.


Stand facing a chair and place your hands on the back, to provide support. Keep your face looking forward and your feet positioned about hip-width apart. Next, relax your shoulders, while tightening your abdominal muscles at the same time.


Now, lower yourself to the floor, as though you were trying to sit in a chair. Inhale deeply and exhale. Now, return to your original position.


Do this up 4 or 5 times. Pace yourself with these, however, as they are more strenuous than you think. If you can only manage 1 or 2 at first, don’t push yourself.


*Always discuss any new exercises or activities with your healthcare professional. Some activities might not be suitable for women at certain stages in their pregnancy. Caution, for that reason, is advised.


Sources:


http://www.parents.com/pregnancy/giving-birth/preparing-for-labor/exercises-to-help-you-prepare-for-childbirth/


http://www.babycenter.com/0_four-exercises-to-ease-aches-and-help-with-labor_1332762.bc


http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/multimedia/pregnancy/sls-20076930