Want to prepare for an easier labour? Research shows enjoying an active pregnancy will help when you give birth, read how to here!
Giving birth is probably the most physically demanding activity your body will ever undergo, requiring both strength and stamina – in the same way you would expect to train for a marathon it’s worth preparing your body for some of the challenges you’ll meet in the delivery room.
Cardio fitness for birth
Running during your pregnancy, spinning, cycling, swimming and walking will all help you maintain a positive level of cardio fitness, increasing your strength and stamina and making it easier to cope with the bprepare for giving birth!irth of your baby. Compare giving birth to an endurance event – and one that’s well worth training for!
Core strength training during pregnancy
Keeping your core muscles strong during pregnancy is a great benefit when it comes to pushing your baby out – there is no reason to abandon your abs! You will need to modify your workout routine (no lying on your back for stomach crunches) but don’t neglect your TVA!
Use your fit ball as often as you can during pregnancy, the balance and instability of the ball will improve your core strength and practise simple standing abs exercises on a daily basis to help maintain a strong core for labour.
Strong legs and bum
If you’ve enjoyed an active pregnancy, you’re unlikely to want to take to your bed at the onset of labour. Moving, walking, leaning over your fitball, kneeling or opting for other, more upright positions can encourage your babies descent through the birth canal. You’ll be glad of your strong legs to support you.
Yoga for labour
Whatever your preferred pregnancy exercise routine, include some prenatal yoga to prepare for labour. It will improve your flexibility, open up your hips and pelvis and teach you how to breathe effectively through your contractions
An active pregnancy decreases the risk of medical intervention during labour
Research has shown that women who exercise during pregnancy are more likely to have a normal delivery. A study led by Swansea University found women who didn’t exercise during pregnancy were twice as likely to need help with forceps (26% compared to 13%) and had a significantly higher rate of Caesarean sections (37% compared to 25%)
The findings were independent of a woman’s weight, meaning even those who were overweight or obese were more likely to have a normal birth if they kept active during pregnancy.
Kelly Morgan from Swansea University College of Medicine, who led the research, said: “Our findings provide positive news for pregnant women. Often women are apprehensive about the process of childbirth and the uncertainty of needing medical interventions. Our results suggest that maintaining an active lifestyle during pregnancy is an avenue for promoting an intervention free birth. This is something all women with complication-free pregnancies can take advantage of.”