to help you Prepare for Childbirth
for the big day with four simple exercises.
body ready for childbirth with the following exercises from
the Mayo Clinic. Check with your doctor to make sure you don't
have any limitations before you attempt any of these exercises.
*What is it? This is an exercise that strengthens and stretches
muscles in your back, thighs, and pelvis, and improves your
posture. It also keeps your pelvic joints flexible, improves
blood flow to your lower body, and eases delivery.
*How do I do it? Sit on the floor with your back straight
in the "butterfly position" (the bottoms of your
feet together and your knees dropped comfortably). As you
press both knees gently toward the floor using your elbows,
you should feel a stretch in your inner thighs. Don't bounce
your knees up and down rapidly. If you find it difficult at
first to keep your back straight, use a wall to support your
back. Hold the position for 10 or 15 seconds and repeat the
stretch five or 10 times.
You'll find this exercise is not difficult to do, and it feels
great. Your body is more flexible during pregnancy, and this
exercise capitalizes on your newfound flexibility.
*What is it? The pelvic floor muscles help support the pelvic
organs: the uterus, bladder, and bowels. If you tone them
you'll ease many discomforts of late pregnancy such as hemorrhoids
and leakage of urine.
*How do I do it? Try to stop the flow of urine when you are
sitting on the toilet without tightening your abdominal, buttock,
or thigh muscles. When you're able to successfully start and
stop urinating, or you feel the vaginal muscle contract, you
are using your pelvic floor muscle, the muscle you should
be contracting during Kegel exercises.
do Kegel exercises two ways: either by holding or quickly
contracting the pelvic floor muscle. To do slow Kegels, contract
the pelvic floor muscle and hold for three to 10 seconds.
Then relax and repeat up to 10 times. To do fast Kegels, quickly
contract and relax your pelvic floor muscle 25 to 50 times.
Relax for 5 seconds and repeat the set up to four times.
*What is it? Squatting is helpful during labour because it
opens the pelvic outlet an extra quarter to half inch, allowing
more room for the baby to descend. But squatting is tiring,
so you should practice it frequently during pregnancy to strengthen
the muscles needed.
*How do I do it? An exercise called a wall slide is especially
helpful. Stand with your back straight against a wall, place
your feet shoulder width apart and about six inches from the
wall, and keep your arms relaxed at your sides. Slowly and
gently slide down the wall to a squatting position (keeping
your back straight) until your thighs are parallel to the
floor. Hold the position for five to 10 seconds, slowly slide
back to a standing position. Repeat five or 10 times.
*What is it? Pelvic tilts strengthen abdominal muscles, help
relieve backache during pregnancy and labor, and ease delivery.
This exercise can also improve the flexibility of your back,
and ward off back pain.
*How do I do it? You can do pelvic tilts in various positions,
but down on your hands and knees is the easiest way to learn
it. Get comfortably on your hands and knees, keeping your
head in line with your back. Pull in your stomach and arch
your back upward. Hold this position for several seconds.
Then relax your stomach and back, keeping your back flat and
not allowing your stomach to sag. Repeat this exercise three
to five times. Gradually work your way up to 10 repetitions.
exercises can yield great benefits with minimal effort. The
exercises require no special equipment except comfortable
clothes, and a little space to do them.
The Mayo Clinic (taken from www.americanbaby.com)
(R) thedailystar.net 2005