Thursday, May 30, 2013

Be Specific- Prepare Your Body for Labour and Train For the Birth You Want

Exercise For Labour Part 2

In the first article I explained why you need to train specifically for birth and showed you 3 must do exercises to prepare for labour and birth: Specificity is the Key

In this blog I am going to show you the BEST exercises to  prepare you for labour and the natural birth you want!

Watch the video to see how using suspension trainers can prepare you 100% specifically for labour and birth. These fantastic exercising tools allow you to practice better suited labour positions before the onset of labour so you are much better prepared when the day arrives.

Don't worry if you don't have a suspension trainer you can use a bar at the local park or gym a cable machine with the full weight stack on or even a large towel wrapped around a post will all work.

Allow Gravity to Assist for a Faster Birth

Any position that you can hold during labour that allows gravity to assist will naturally reduce the time of your labour and by up to 90 minutes!
The only challenge for you is that to hold these positions and then give birth you really do need to be physically fit and strong as they are not easy! 

Yes it may be easier for your Dr./Health Care Provider if you lie on your back but its not natural and is of no real benefit. If you try to birth on your back your pelvis opening is much smaller and you stand a much higher chance of requiring interventions and having stitches.

A little bit of exercise for just 30 minutes, 3 times a week is all that is needed to help you prepare better for labour. Another couple of benefits that lead on from this type of training is that you will end up with strong toned legs and a great looking butt, sounds good?

You will also recover much quicker from a natural birth than from one with  interventions and that  I do know!
So there are many benefits of exercising specifically during the last 10 weeks of your pregnancy!

If you are fit and strong you will recover faster post birth.

Side Lunge

This exercise helps to position baby deeper in to your pelvis and strengthens both upper and lower body muscles if performed on a suspension trainer.

You should not do this exercises if you are suffering from lower back pain.

Think about your breathing during the exercise and take your time. Good technique is essential. Perform 12-20 reps depending on your fitness level, rest as and when you need to. This exercise works well when performed in a circuit with Tricep dips. Do 2-3 sets

Support Squat

I love this exercise and my clients do too.  When you are in labour to cope with contractions you can hold this position and hang on a couch, chairs or a bench which is what I did at the beach with number 2. Oh and definitely don't forget your partners neck which is how we both endured labour for hours with number 1! This photo was taken when I was having a contraction just 1 hour before my 3rd baby was born! See how the exercise relates.
The Support Squat is a challenging exercise which you need to do slowly, concentrate again on your breathing. Maintain good upright posture and push your knees out over your toes, avoid rolling your knees in. Try to relax your pelvic floor muscle at the end range of the squat, close your eyes and focus on baby descending down deeper in to your pelvis. Place your body weight in your heels, contract your glute (butt) and abdominal muscles and push upwards using your leg muscles, exhaling out. Do 6-10 reps and 2-3 sets
Do not Squat past 90 degrees from 30 weeks if your baby is not in optimal fetal position.

You can circuit this exercise with a hip flexor (psoas) stretch holding for 30 seconds to 1 minute

Incline Hold

This position mirrors exactly how I gave birth to two of my babies so it is a very specific exercise to prepare for birth. As you can see in the photo below I would grab and hold the top of the hospital bed whilst I pushed. I was trying to use gas in this photo before I could push!

I would suggest you hold the position on the' trainer' for 4-5 deep breaths in and out and then relax back in to a lower back stretch position repeating 2-4 times. When you try this exercise you will realize just how physical this position is to give birth in.

Include the above exercises in your current exercise program from 30+ weeks. Have a look at the pre and post pregnancy exercise and health programs that are available to you on my website

Remember be Specific and  Prepare for your Births just as you would any other event.  Please comment if you would like any further information or assistance with your pregnancy exercise program. 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Pregnancy Nutrition: What to have for Breakfast

The best breakfasts to have during your pregnancy are ones that are not full of preservatives and sugar. It is best to include a combination of Protein, fat and carbohydrates for optimal nutritional requirements for both you and baby.

I would suggest the first thing you consume when you wake up is a large glass of warm water and include some fresh lemon in that if you can. Your aim is to drink 2-3 litres of water a day. If you enjoy a coffee try to leave until mid morning as this will ensure that you are full hydrated first.

It is also best to reduce the amount of wheat you eat during the day and it is easy to start with a low or wheat free breakfast. Wheat is full of phytates and these phytates can block the absorption of vital minerals required during your pregnancy iron, magnesium and calcium. If you are low in iron you should have a look at reducing wheat or avoiding it completely.

Better Breakfast Choices:
  • 2 Scrambled or Hard Boiled eggs with 1/4 avocado on 1 x wheat free toast or sour bread
  • 2 Egg Omelette with mushrooms, spinach and cheese
  • Berry and Banana Smoothie:  Mix 1 glass of 1/2 Milk and 1/2 coconut Milk with 1 x banana, handful of berries (can use frozen) and a large spoonful of chia seeds can also have with a boiled egg- Smoothies are great during your late trimester when you don't feel like eating much
  • Coconut Porridge: 1/2 Cup of Oats (I soak in 1 cup of water overnight) add 1/2 cup of coconut milk 5-6 dates and cook slowly. I add more coconut and a large spoonful of full fat yoghurt just before I eat- this is delicious! 
My Berry Smoothies in a wine glass for breakfast during pregnancy, love it! 

Follow Pregnancy Exercise on facebook and Pinterest. Hope you enjoy my breakfast recipes, if you would like a Pre or Post pregnancy exercise and health program have a look at my website and the Fit2BirthMum and Birth2FitMum programs

The information included in this article has been written by Lorraine She is not able to provide you with medical advice and the information is used as guidelines. You cannot hold Lorraine Scapens or Pregnancy Exercise ltd liable in any way for any injuries that may occur whilst training.