It is an exciting time but child birth is physically exhausting and mentally draining. It is a roller coaster of emotions that, for many new mothers, can be a frightening experience.
As well as wondering if they can emotionally cope and trying to find answers to the question how painful is childbirth, really?, your body also needs to be in great shape to deal with the birth.
This means living a healthy life style with an active pregnancy, combined with plenty of rest. It also means becoming aware of a muscle group that you may not have bothered exercising pre-pregnancy – and that is the pelvic floor muscles. As a leading company specialising in incontinence supplies, HARTMANN Direct are aware of the need for high quality products for pregnant women suffering incontinence during pregnancy, but also the need to prepare the body for the birth itself.
This is why they continually look to pass on good practice and research results to customers so that they too, can benefit from scientific thinking and suggestion for getting your body ready for child birth.
Please note: always check with your doctor or midwife before you start a new exercise regime. And take things easy – you are training for child birth, not the Olympics…
I. Tailor sitting
Good for – as an exercise, tailor sitting strengthens and stretches the muscles in your back, thighs and pelvis, helping to improve your posture. The extra weight you are carrying on the front of your body often causes your shoulders to ‘round’ meaning your posture falls out of line, resulting in back ache.
This exercise promotes suppleness and flexibility in the pelvic joints, important during the birth, and helps to improve blood flow to the lower body. Many women find this eases delivery too.
How to do it – get on the floor with your back straight, the palms of your feet together and your knees comfortably dropped on either side of you. GENTLY push your knees with your hands, toward the floor; you will feel your inner thighs stretch and become taught. Keep your back straight and hold this position for 10 to 15 seconds, repeating it five to 10 times.
II. Pelvic floor exercises
Good for – strengthening and conditioning the pelvic floor muscles that support the uterus, bladder and the bowel. Toning this set of muscles is a great way to relieve the discomfort of late pregnancy, as well as preventing accidental leaks of urine.
How to do it – locate your pelvic floor muscles by stopping the flow of urine without contracting your abdomen, bottom of thigh muscles. When you can successfully stop and start urinating using these muscles, you have located your pelvic floor.
Experts suggest contracting your pelvic floor muscles, holding it for 10 seconds breathing in throughout and then releasing the muscles, as well as exhaling deeply. You can repeat this clench and release exercise ten times per set, with around two to three sets every day.
Good for – labour, as the action of squatting opens the pelvic outlet and extra half inch or so, allowing more room for the baby to descend. However, squatting is tiring so practicing it regularly during pregnancy is a great way of strengthening the muscles needed.
How to do it – the exercise known as a wall slide is helpful as it provides support for your back. Stand with your back straight against the wall and place your feet shoulder width apart. Your feet should also be about six inches from the wall, and have your arms relaxed by your side.
Slowly and gently slide down the wall to the squatting position, keeping your back straight. When your thighs are parallel to the floor, hold the position for five to 10 seconds. Slowly slide back up the wall.
Perform this exercise about five to 10 times.
IV. Pelvic tilt
Good for – strengthening the abdominal muscles and helping to relieve back ache during pregnancy and labour. It also increases the flexibility of your back and is great for warding off back pain.
How to do it – get on the floor on your hands and knees. Keep your head in line with your back, relaxing your stomach and back. Now, pull in your stomach and arch your back, then relax your tummy and your back, but not allowing your stomach to sag.
Repeat this three to five times, gradually working up to 10 repetitions of the exercise. Minimal effort with these pregnancy exercises can yield fantastic results. Why not give them a try?
HARMANN Direct supply incontinence products for both men and women. With a range suitable for pregnant women, managing pregnancy and post-birth incontinence is so much easier with pads and exercises.