Pregnancy Exercises to Avoid C-Section
I never thought I would be the first woman in my family to have a C-Section. If you are hoping to avoid a C-Section due to breech presentation there are exercises that will help the baby move into the correct position for delivery and I am sharing those with you today!
The Best Pregnancy Exercises to Avoid a C-Section
As a little girl I never planned out the details of my wedding or dreamt of my Prince Charming. However, I did always want to deliver a baby naturally.
Super strange thing for a kid to think about – but it’s true.
When I finally became pregnant (and after I dealt with Hyperemesis Gravidarum for 5 months), my husband and I signed up for Bradley Method classes to help achieve our goal of a natural birth.
In the course, they promote healthy eating, breathing and pregnancy exercises to prepare for birth.
Due to my severe morning sickness for the first five months, we were not able to focus on nutrition or exercise until the hyperemesis ended.
Luckily, once I hit the 20-week mark, my morning sickness faded and I was able to focus on a healthy second half of the pregnancy.
How the Baby is Positioned
Since everything in the pregnancy was progressing normally after the 20th week, we declined our second sonogram.
Then at 36 weeks, we went through with what was going to be the last sonogram to confirm the baby’s position.
That is when we found out she was breech – and probably had been for a very long time.
Our Nurse Midwife was supportive and gave me a long list of pregnancy exercises I could try to do to get the baby to turn.
I did all of the pregnancy exercises on the list and many other suggestions. I even did handstands in a pool! (Please don’t do that without approval from your doctor).
Unfortunately it was too late. She was firmly planted and wasn’t moving. I even waited until labor to see if she would turn.
There was no luck. She was delivered via C-Section due to breech presentation.
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Must-Do Pregnancy Exercises to Avoid a C-Section
Since my C-Section I have learned there are many pregnancy exercises that I should have been doing earlier.
Your best bet is to do these activities early and often so the baby turns at the right time.
I feel very strongly that if I would have done these pregnancy exercises earlier I would not have had a C-Section.
My hope is to share these tips, strategies and exercises to help other moms avoid C-Sections that could have been
The 10 Best Exercises to Position the Baby for Birth
Please view our medical disclaimer and ALWAYS consult your doctor before doing any exercises during pregnancy.
1. Avoid reclined sitting positions
I know that this isn’t an exercise, but it’s very important! Looking back at my breech pregnancy this is where I think I went wrong.
I was so exhausted when I would get home from work, I would plop myself into the recliner and prop my feet up.
Now, I know that reclined positions prevent the baby from turning head down.
My suggestion to moms is that after mid-pregnancy you avoid recliners or any sitting position where your shoulders are behind your hips.
You always want to be leaning slightly forward so that your belly can act like a hammock for your baby.
2. Instead, sit with your knees lower than your hips
During my second pregnancy (which resulted in a natural VBAC delivery –yay!) this was my cardinal rule.
At the time my job required that I sit for the majority of the day. I purchased an ergonomic kneeling chair and I loved it.
If you have a job that requires sitting for long periods of time I suggest you swap out your rolling office chair for one of these as soon as possible.
My back felt SO much better than it did during my first pregnancy. Most importantly it helped ensure that my knees were always lower than my hips.
3. Walk everyday
Walking during pregnancy increases flexibility, range of motion, hip mobility and helps shimmy that baby into the correct position for delivery. Check out this post from momjunction.com that covers more benefits of walking during pregnancy.
4. Get up and move
If your job requires sitting. Be sure that you set an alarm so that you remember to get up and move every hour. Here are some great stretches you can do standing at your desk.
During pregnancy squats can open the pelvis. This allows the baby to easily descend into the proper position for delivery. This is a great post that covers how to do squats safely during pregnancy.
6. Revolved wide leg stance
This is a fantastic pose that helps to release the hips and lengthen the hamstrings.
You stand with your legs out wide and then bed forward.
Then reach your right hand toward your left ankle, shin or thigh so that your torso is slightly turned to the left.
Pause here, holding the position for a few breaths to allow your hips to relax.
Repeat, on the opposite side reaching your left hand toward your right ankle, shin or thigh.
7. Cat Cow Pose
This pregnancy exercise was suggested to use during our Bradley Method courses. Unfortunately, we were not able to start them until much later in our pregnancy because I had such severe morning sickness. This should be done daily to help release tension in the lower back, release the pelvic floor and open the hips.
Lunges are the perfect pregnancy exercise to open the hips while strengthing and lengthening the hamstings. Check out these 3 Lunge Workouts Custom-Built for Each Trimester.
9. Garland Pose
Garland pose is most easily explained as a very deep squat. It’s easy to see how this helps to open the hips. I like to use a yoga block to rest my sitz bones on so I can fully relax into the pose. Source: www.fittamamma.com
10. Lean forward over an exercise ball
Use this position any time you would normally be sitting in a chair or on the couch. Catching up on the latest episodes of The Real Housewives? This is the perfect position to be in.
The you have it, mama! 10 pregnancy exercises to help you avoid having a C-Section. As I mentioned above I was able to be pro-active with my second pregnancy. I incorporated these exercises in to my daily routine and had a successful VBAC delivery.
Related Post: Ab Workouts to Lose your Post Baby Belly
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We would love to hear from you! Please comment below.
These are great exercises for pregnancy! I did all these when I was and it helped tremendously. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks Mindy! I agree they are very helpful. I know that some C-Sections are avoidable, but anything to prevent surgery is a plus in my book 🙂