I’ve posted a lot before about Pre & Post Natal Fitness, but I haven’t really talked about the Labor/Delivery benefits for mom & for baby. Of course it’s good for your cardiovascular health and maintaining a good weight, but there’s so much more to it than that. Core work – even just stabilization – prepares your baby for contractions. As the core pulls towards the spine it hugs the baby in the womb (like a hug) and pushes them towards the birth canal. It can help get the baby in the right position for delivery as well as get them use the the idea of your core contracting and pressing against them. It also can help prevent Diastasis Recti by pulling your core to the center, avoiding twisting, and doing safe movements that strengthen your center column.
Some of my favorite pregnancy core moves include: Elevated or Reverse Plank, Bird Dogs, Side plank, Side breaths (laying on elbow and then super tightly compress each section of your core using your breath), and beast (bent knee plank). With Everett my delivery was 7 pushes. 7. I know – crazy. Part of it was the second kid is easier and the other part was just core strength and how low he had dropped.
Upper body workouts prepare you for…your baby & carrier! Sounds like a joke but those things get HEAVY quick. The better in shape your upper body is the more you can lift baby up, hold them in the right position to breast feed, carry them to the car, etc. Upper body is also something that is easy to do after baby. During your 4-8 week recovery period you can do light upper body work to stay active.
Cardio workouts are so important! So many women avoid high intensity or cardiovascular workouts out of fear but its so good for you! It prevents swelling and potential blood clots, it keeps your weight at a healthy level, it improves you & babies blood circulation, improves your cardiovascular/heart health, and its a great stress reliever. Labor is hard/exhausting/tiring and the better in shape you are, the better you can regulate your breathing, and the stronger your heart the better. Do what you can, consult a doctor, but for me cardio was a really integral part of my prenatal regimen.
Last but not least – stretching. You have to be REALLY careful stretching while pregnant. Avoiding twisting deeply, listen to your body and don’t push it too far, and listen to your hips. That being said, you have more relaxin in your body during pregnancy that makes your muscles and joints a bit more flexible so they can rotate and turn to open for delivery. Stretching can help avoid tightness and cramping as well as give you some “mommy time” to relax. Don’t compress the belly or move in any way uncomfortable but take some time to work them muscles and joints.
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