Prenatal Exercises

Keeping active and fit during pregnancy not only makes you feel better in the long run but also prepares your body for the birthing experience. Engaging in these exercises will assist you in (1) adopting positions useful during labor and birth and (2) enhancing flexibility and length in your muscles and ligaments.

Start building your daily routine

When you see something often you remember it better - so we can only encourage you to print the exercises, and hang them in a place you come often to start building your daily routine. You can get your poster + instructions below.

4 Elements that help to take ownership over your birth experience

Giving birth is a natural process in which body and mind are combined. Your hormones work together to open up your body and welcome your baby into the world. Birth is an impactful experience and keeping a positive mindset can be a challenge. Understanding what influences your experience through the following 4 elements can help you create ownership: 

 

1. KNOWLEDGE

Investing in knowledge works in two ways: (1) It helps to start feeling confident and trust your ability to give birth and (2) It allows you to make informed decisions in relation to interventions during your pregnancy and birth experience. When you feel in control you are more likely to look back at the experience positively. 


Influencing your perception of pain

Your mindset and emotions towards birth can actually influence the process. All of us fear birth at some point in our lives after hearing stories about the process or being worried about becoming a parent. It's normal, but it can get in the way during labor. Therefore, The Booklet & Card Deck explore concepts that help you become familiar such as:

  • How your hormones regulate birth 
  • How your body works 
  • How to influence your perception of pain
  • How relaxation helps your birth forward 
  • What type of interventions might occur in your experience
  • How to make empowered choices

2. MOVEMENT

Pregnant lady doing lungesMovement can support your body during pregnancy and assist with birthing positions to assist your baby's alignment.
Keeping active and fit during pregnancy not only makes you feel better in the long run, but it also prepares your body for birth. The process of giving birth will have a great impact on your body, and you can help your body and baby align for birth by exercising. 

 

 

Movement helps to move through stages of labor

Birthing positions are not commonly used in everyday life. Therefore you can start preparing your body in your third trimester with exercises that help labor positions. 

Giving birth is a physiological process that happens in stages; Early Labor, Active Labor and Giving Birth. Every stage has a different function and different positions help to align your baby during the experience. 

You can learn more about exercises and birthing positions in our articles.

 

3. RELAXATION

Create your own vibe

Giving birth is a private and raw experience. The most important thing is to create an atmosphere that makes you feel safe, comfortable, and at ease, regardless of where you're giving birth. For your body to open, the right hormones need to flow through you. When you feel safe, secure, warm, and undisturbed, your oxytocin hormone works best, which is crucial in moving the birth process forward. 

In contrast, adrenaline blocks labor. It can happen when you don't feel safe in the environment you are in, or when people who assist with your birth are influencing you in a negative way. In both home and hospital settings, it's important to put together your ideal team and think ahead about how to create a safe and loving environment. Obviously, you can’t control or account for everything during birth, but this is a practical way to take control.  The Booklet & Card Deck explore how to create the ideal ambiance in more detail with practical tips. 

relaxation moves forward

There are body relaxation tools to support your flow during labor. Practicing these techniques from the third trimester onwards will help you become more confident. By repeating techniques often, you will enter a deeper state of relaxation more easily.  Your ability to relax supports your birthing experience in a positive way by letting oxytocin flow in an optimal way.  

Tools to flow through labor 

  • Practice different breathing techniques for each stage of labor
  • Engage in (guided) meditation to relax the body and mind
  • When you practice hypnosis, you learn to relax deeper with every session
  • Visualization helps you imagine your birthing story, or how you wish to handle specific situations
  • Listening and repeating positive words that you believe in is a powerful tool to implement
  • Hydrotherapy is effective in the sense that the heat helps your muscles relax; being in the shower or bath helps you relax between surges. 

4. POSITIVE THINKING

Influencing your perception of pain

Your perception of the pain influences how you experience it. By conditioning our mind and emotions, we can replace our negative perceptions with positive ones. This way you stimulate natural coping mechanisms for pain. 

The mind is influenced by stories we hear, fears we have, and the unknown. What you hear often becomes your reality. Therefore, repeat affirmations that you want to believe in, listen to positive birth stories, and invest in courses or information that empower you with knowledge and trust regarding your body. 

The more loved and safe you feel, the less pain you experience. Create a safe and comfortable environment surrounded by people who bring positive energy. Hold hands, get physical with your (birth) partner, and listen to positive encouragement. 

AFFIRMATIONS

Affirmation

Some might find affirmations vague, but there are benefits to using them during birth. See them as a positivity strategy that focuses on a desired outcome. Top athletes often use these strategies to help them focus on a future goal. When you repeat something often, you teach your brain new ways to think about the world. Affirmations should be specific, positive, and provide clear instructions about what you wish to achieve. 

Birth affirmations are meant to encourage and motivate you before and during your labor. By using affirmations, you can develop an attitude of trusting yourself and knowing that you can handle anything that comes your way. Find affirmations that speak to you and read them out loud often or listen to recordings to start believing in them. You can place cards of your affirmations in places you see every day, such as the bathroom, kitchen, or toilet. 


THE ROLE OF PARTNERS 

Positive encouragement by partners

You are in this experience together. A well-prepared role as a partner will benefit both parties. Seeing the woman you love go through the birth process can be challenging, especially when you aren't sure how to support her. You will feel empowered as a partner when you take charge and take ownership. 

 

 


Making decisions with BRAIN (benefits, risks, alternatives, intuition, doing nothing)

Learn the basics of birth and practice different relaxation techniques with your partner. In case of (medical) interventions, be prepared to take ownership of the choices you have made together in your birth plan. Read more about interventions in the Booklet or Card Deck and how to use the BRAIN method to make decisions. 



 

IN SUMMARY

Knowledge is power - learn about your body, the birthing process, and interventions 

Relax - support your hormones optimally for a smoother experience

Get moving - support your body during pregnancy and assist with birthing positions to assist your baby's alignment

Positive thinking - listen to birthing stories and affirmations that encourage you to trust your body

 

DISCLAIMER

The purpose of Birth Guides is to serve as a directory for exploring topics around giving birth, not as a source of medical advice. Always check with your medical team or midwife what is most appropriate for your situation. Birth Guides can not be held responsible for potential inaccuracies or incompleteness in this article. We are always looking to optimise our content > feedback@birthguides.com

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