The Mechanics of Pregnancy and Labor

If you decided to run a marathon, would you train your body? If someone asked you to carry around a 30 pound ball for months, would you prepare your body?  If you were going to do handsprings in a gymnastics routine, would you practice prior to the day of your performance?

Of course you would!

Ironically, would you have the same answer if you became pregnant? Would you prepare your body for pregnancy and labor to the same extent as training for a marathon? Probably not….. ? Why is that…..?

Although vaginal birth is a completely natural process, many of our daily activities and lifestyles have altered the natural alignment of our bodies, which increases the stresses placed on our bodies during pregnancy and labor.  Sitting for hours, wearing shoes with a positive heel (even a little one), sucking in your belly, tucking your bottom under you, and the stresses of life all make the uterine forces less than they could be and increase the resistive forces (pelvic floor tension, hip tightness and psoas hypertonicity) more than they should be.  When met with chronic tension of the psoas, adductors, quadriceps, hamstrings and pelvic floor, the uterus is less effective.  In addition, these postural adaptations decrease the head cervix alignment (that is your baby’s head aligned with your cervix), which is necessary for dilation, progression of labor and ultimately delivery of baby.  Many pushing techniques are utilized that are less than optimal for your body because pushing becomes fighting against the resistance of your tight muscles and non optimal alignment of baby over your pelvic space.  The uterus can only produce the force that it is biologically made to produce, so the more relaxed and stretched your muscles are and the better skeletal alignment you have before you go into labor, the more effective your natural birthing process will be.

Your body is naturally made for pregnancy and delivery!  But it requires natural movements, appropriate skeletal alignment and flexibility of hip and pelvic floor muscles.

So what should you do?

1. Get your body into appropriate alignment with rib cage over pelvis.
2. Decrease the tension of your hip and pelvic floor muscles.
3. Get yourself a standing work station (decrease your sitting time).
4. Get out of your high heels.
5. Learn how to activate the deep stomach muscles (transverse abdominis) to utilize during the pushing stage of labor.
6. Learn how to relax your pelvic floor muscles to allow baby to come out.
7. Move, squat, walk.

Don’t wait until labor to try to learn these things! !! (Would you hope to succeed on the parallel bars if you have never done them before?)

By the way….  I am excited to expand my services to both the Ashland (@258A Street) and Medford (@Wise Women Care Associates/Trillium birth center) communities!