7 Great Lamaze Practices to Try Before Giving Birth

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lamaze practices

I remember being pregnant and wondering how my baby was going to make the great escape out of my body.  I knew what was supposed to happen and the stages of labor, but I was scared and in disbelief that the little human being that I was carrying could make her way to the outside world.  Each labor is going to be different, but one thing that we know for sure is that there are exercises and breathing techniques that you can do ahead of time to help speed up labor and make it go easier when the time comes.  I’m going to go over some Lamaze practices that you can start doing now in preparation for the big day.

Kegel Exercises

The pelvic floor muscles help support the pelvic organs, which are the uterus, bladder, and bowels.  When you work these muscles, you might not deal with as many late pregnancy discomforts, such as hemorrhoids and leakage of urine.

How to Do It:

Kegel exercises can be done in two different ways.  You can either hold the pelvic floor muscles or quickly contract them.  For the slow Kegels, contract the pelvic floor muscle and hold for 10 seconds.  Then relax, and repeat ten times.  For fast Kegels, quickly contract and relax your pelvic floor muscle 50 times.  Relax for 5 seconds and repeat up to 4 times.

Tailor Sitting

Tailor sitting is an exercise that will strengthen and stretch your back, thighs, and pelvis, as well as improve your posture.  It will also improve your blood flow in your lower body. Tailor sitting done ahead of time can help make labor go easier.

How to do it:

Sit on the floor in a butterfly position, with the bottoms of your feet pressed together and your knees dropped comfortably.  Make sure your back is straight.  If you need to, have your back be against a wall.  As you drop your knees towards the floor, you should feel a stretch in the inner thighs.  Make sure to keep your knees still, since bouncing them up and down may cause injuries.  Hold this position for 15 seconds, and repeat ten times.

Squats

Doing squats can be helpful during labor because it opens the pelvic outlet, which makes more room for the baby to descend.  Since squatting can be hard to do, you will want to try this move throughout pregnancy so that you strengthen your muscles.

How to do it:

If you are new to squats, you may want to start by doing an exercise called the wall slide.  To do the wall slide, stand with your back against the wall.  Keep your feet shoulder width apart, and 6 inches away from the wall.  Keep your arms relaxed by your sides.  Gently slide down the wall, until you come into a squatting position.  Stay in this position for 10 seconds, then slowly slide back up.  Repeat this move ten times.  As you get better at this exercise, you may want to try it without the wall.

Standing Swan

This exercise is a great way to gain core strength, lower body endurance, spinal mobility, and pelvic floor stretching.

How to do it:

Stand with your legs apart and externally rotated.  Place a physioball in front of you.  Inhale through your nose, and roll down.  As you roll down, place your hands on the ball and start pushing on it.  Exhale through your mouth, and push the ball until your arms are straight.  Once your body is parallel to the mat, hold this position.  Hold this position as long as you can, then release and roll back up.

Pelvic Tilts

Pelvic tilts, also known as cat and cow, can be done early on in pregnancy, all the way to through labor.  This exercise helps keep the pelvis loose and keeps your lower back flexible.

How to do it:

Place your hands and knees on the floor.  Keep your knees under the hips, and your wrists under your shoulders.  Start in a neutral spine position.  As you exhale, round your spine, tuck your chin towards your chest, and release your neck.  This is your cat pose.  Next, you are going to inhale and arch your back.  This is your cow pose.  Continue to go back and forth from cat to cow for at least ten rounds.

Before birth, you may want to try some breathing exercises.  This will help you prepare for labor, and give you some knowledge on how to breathe while giving birth.  Although breathing exercises are great to try, most studies are now showing that you should breathe naturally during labor.  Also, many moms have stated that once they went into labor, they forgot the whole breathing plan and instead breathed naturally.  However, with these things in mind, breathing exercises can still help you understand a little about how you should breathe during labor.

How to do it:

Once in labor, your breathing should make a sound like “hee hee hooooo,” making the last breath be released from the mouth.  Another labor breathing option is to inhale for five seconds and then exhale for five seconds.  If you want to breathe naturally during labor, it may help to find out ahead of time how you naturally breathe.  Some found it helpful to pay attention to how they breathed during stressful situations.  That way, you can practice returning to normal breathing.

Leaning

During pregnancy, and even during labor, it can be beneficial to lean against a ball or counter.  Since you may spend a lot of time leaning back, such as on a couch, it is important to lean forward too.

How to do it:

Drape your arms and upper body over the exercise ball.  Allow your pelvis to move around while in the air.  This exercise will help you prepare for labor since you are working your lower body.

Final Thoughts

I hope that these simple Lamaze exercises and moves have inspired you to do some of them starting today.  It’s important to be consistent and do them every day.  You don’t have to do long sessions of these techniques, just so long as you do them on a daily basis.  I wish you the best as you prepare for your baby’s great escape, also known as labor and birth.

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