My Labor and Delivery Preparation 

attachment parenting, Women's Health

I have personally seen an increase in mom shaming, especially those who shame expecting new mothers for maintaining an exercise routine. They are accused of being vain and neglecting the well being of their child. This is a far reach from the realities of exercising during pregnancy. Maintaining a regular exercise routine (if approved by your doctor) is very beneficial to you and baby, even more so if you intend on having a natural birth. I am a firm believer in the female bodies naturally ability to give birth without any significant exercise routine, but if you have been sedentary and unhealthy throughout your pregnancy you may have a particular difficult time compared to those who are active and eat better. After speaking to women who have delivered multiple children, it has become pretty clear that there is big difference between going into your birth physically and mentally fit and just winging it.
One of the things that made the greatest impact on my pregnancy was maintaining my activity level through the beginning of my pregnancy and adjusting my activity level as needed through the rest of it. Luckily I was able to maintain my running schedule up until I was 30 weeks, even after that I was still able to squats and other exercises using only my weight for resistance. I also participated in pregnancy PT because I was in the Army, I understand every program isn’t the same but the one at Ft.Huachuca was AMAZING! We did zumba, yoga, pool aerobics, weight lifting, and running. They also included a classroom portion every Tuesday. This time around running hasn’t been on my side because I’ve been having some crazy round ligament pain but I have been able to do some strength training. I haven’t put any focus on increasing strength but more so on toning and endurance. I think of exercising during pregnancy as training for a major athletic event, which my first pregnancy actually was. I felt this urge to be mobile during labor, there was nothing natural about laying on my back during labor. It also improved how I dealt with pain by significantly increasing my pain threshold and changing how I viewed the pain of childbirth itself. Engaging my abdominal muscles with strength training as well as my pelvic floor during workouts also mad my pushing process much more productive. I only pushed twice while on all fours, and that was enough to get my little guy out.
Another way I prepped for labor… research, research, and more research. Knowing what to expect from my body put my mind at ease before labor and made it easier to relax during labor. Not only did I read (I’ll actually provide a list of books that I found insanely beneficial) but I took classes, watched movies, and watched youtube videos. I obviously wasn’t a birthing pro and there were things that didn’t go as planned but it made a huge difference in my birthing experience.
I genuinely hope that this inspires you to get a sweat in a few times a week in order to prepare for birth experience(remember only if your doctor says it’s ok!), it will make a big difference. If you’ve already been exercising I commend you! Don’t let anyone shame or discourage you from doing so. I don’t know where we developed this mind set that caring for your body and baby is somehow vain.

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