Exercise makes labor easier!

Apart from raising your energy levels, help with those common pregnant mood swings and bring you some clarity of mind, exercising can actually help with your labor. The good news is you can take advantage of this whether you’re a fitness junkie or if you don’t even own a pair of running shoes. You can spend the next nine months slowly working out according to your physical condition and reap the rewards when your baby finally arrives.

In case you didn’t already know or are still wrapping your mind around it, labor is hard work. Pregnant women who stay in shape and have strong muscles tend to have shorter and “easier” labors. Exercise and an active lifestyle constantly challenges and improves your endurance and, without you knowing, is building you up for some good old-fashion pushing.  If you work on the right muscles you can significantly lower the risk of tears and complications during labor. The common theory is that if you can voluntarily relax the pelvic floor muscles (if they’re strong enough) you can make it easier for your baby to be born.

There are several key exercises that you can integrate into your workout and get the most benefits of:
• Squats
• Cat/cow stretch (on your hands and knees, arch your back and look up, then curve your back and look down)
• Butterfly sitting (join the soles of your feet when sitting)
• Sit on the air with your back pressed against the wall
• Kegel exercises
• Yoga sequences

Most of these exercises focus on strengthening your pelvic floor muscles which support the rectum, vagina, bladder and urethra. By strengthening these muscles, you will start preparing your body for birth and may avoid leaking urine during and after your pregnancy. The importance of yoga sequences lies in teaching you to control your breathing and learn some pain management techniques which will do wonders on your endurance and mental focus during birth.

Give it a try and include these simple exercises in your workout routine! Prepare your mind and body to welcome your baby without setbacks that could have been avoided and don’t forget to enjoy the ride!

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