Exercise in general is a good way to prepare for labor, since it will strengthen the body, increase circulation and flexibility, and improve endurance – all needed during labor. A few other exercises that can assist in the labor process:
- Squats help strengthen the legs and pelvic floor, opening up the pelvis. Many natural birth advocates believe this is the optimal position for giving birth, since it opens the birth canal and allows gravity to assist with delivery. Try Wall Squats with a Ball, Squats with an Overhead Press, or Plie Squats with a Baby Carrier.
- Tailor sitting & stretching involves sitting on the floor like the stereotypical tailor, with legs crossed. It is one of the most beneficial positions to sit in during pregnancy for many reasons: circulation to the pelvic muscles is increased, and the weight of the baby is supported on the pelvic bones, relieving the pelvic muscles of strain. Stretches the groin and hips, which helps in the second stage of labor (the pushing stage), and alleviates backaches, especially when done with your back against a wall.
- Sit and stretch with legs outstretched until you feel a stretch in the groin and hamstrings, then hold for a minute. With each breath, relax and release further into the stretch. Try the Seated Thigh Stretch or Partner Surrender Stretch.