We all know that exercise is great for your body and mind with its ability to relieve stress, improve mood, help you sleep and up your energy levels! But did you know that getting up and moving during pregnancy and labor can bring you all of these benefits PLUS more?

Studies show that exercising by regularly walking, swimming, doing yoga and/or doing low-impact aerobics during pregnancy can prepare you for labor by increasing your body’s fitness, stamina and circulation, as well as helping you not to gain excess weight¹. Another benefit is that utilizing specific exercises can help your baby get into an optimal position for birth. Spinning Babies offers various weekly activities you can do, such as the “Pelvic Jiggle” and the “Standing Sacral Release,” to help with body balancing and baby positioning. Often, excessive discomfort during pregnancy, a history of difficulty with conception or irregularity with the menstrual cycle, previous births that were overly challenging, and breech or wrongly-positioned babies are all due to a lack of body balance².

Not only can moving during pregnancy help you; evidence suggests that moving during labor and not solely lying on your back, benefits both mom and baby. While most movies show birthing mothers lying on their backs, the position actually makes your pelvis outlet smaller than if you were, for example, on your hands and knees. Being on your back also places a lot of  weight and pressure on your tailbone. MRIs have shown that squatting, kneeling and resting on your hands-and-knees during labor frees up more space for your baby to pass through your pelvis³!

Gravity is also your friend during birth; when you are in an upright position, your baby will automatically experience more pull down towards your cervix, helping your baby to better maneuver through the birth canal. An upright position may also help your body in delivering additional oxygen to your baby. Changing positions during labor will also help keep your mind moving and perceived pain levels lower. Even if you are planning on having an epidural as early as possible, which will likely mean that you will deliver your baby lying on your back, moving until your epidural is administered is greatly beneficial to you and your baby.

Being aware of the benefits and options you have during pregnancy and labor is important so you can decide what may be most helpful for you during labor. Discuss with your provider how you can move during labor at your chosen birth location, including walking the halls, and what positions may be options for you when pushing. Many providers today will allow their patients to decide in what position they want to deliver the baby instead of insisting on lying on your back, if they have not had an epidural. Having an epidural will limit your choices since you will have limited or no feeling in your legs which makes moving around not only difficult but dangerous to you and baby if you were to fall.

Of course, you will likely also have discussed your thoughts with your doula who will support you during birth, and who will suggest positions that may help you in different ways during each stage of labor.

*Disclaimer: Any content provided by doulasmilwaukee.com is intended for informational and educational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for personalized medical advice by your doctor, midwife, or other healthcare professional. Click return to homepage.

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