From the moment you are pregnant, you will get a lot of advice on how to look after yourself in pregnancy, and what to prepare for the new baby. But you may feel there is little information available or accessible on how to prepare your body for labour.
Here are a few tips from MAMA Midwife, Kelly Langford, to prepare your body for birth.
Prenatal yoga classes often include some discussion of labour and birth, and how to prepare your body and mind for this big event. Yoga itself focuses on softening and strengthening different areas of your body, which is extremely beneficial for labour. Breathing techniques that are practiced in yoga can also be applied to labour, and assist your body to prepare for birth.
Perineal massage has been found to decrease the chance of tearing from a normal vaginal delivery. The intention of perineal massage is not only to soften the perineum (the tissue between the vagina and anus), but to release any muscles that are holding tension in the area. This in turn allows the soft tissue to stretch, and reduces the chance of tearing. There are some great YouTube tutorials on how to perform perineal massage on yourself, or have your partner do it.
Pelvic floor checkup
Your pelvic floor is put under a significant amount of additional stress in the pregnancy, and to varying degrees depending on the type of birth you have. It is important that it functions well to avoid incontinence and prolapse, and a women’s health physiotherapist is the expert to guide you.
Have a pelvic floor assessment with a Women’s Health physiotherapist, who can assess how your pelvic floor is coping with pregnancy, and guide you on how to strengthen it for future.
Keep active, where possible
As long as your body permits it (not recommended in certain situations like pelvic instability), keeping active throughout pregnancy helps your body prepare for labour. Swimming and walking are both generally very safe in pregnancy, and swimming has the added benefit of allowing your tummy to hang forwards and assisting in optimal positioning of your baby.
MAMA Says; Your body is preparing for labour from the moment it is pregnant, without you even being aware!
For more information or to talk to a MAMA Midwife, visit www.midwivesandmothers.com.au or phone on (03) 9376 7474.