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The Best Pregnancy Exercises
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 hyperemsis 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.
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 just to confirm the position of the baby. 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.
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 prevented.
The 10 Best Pregancy Exercises to Avoid a C-Section
Please view our medical disclaimer and ALWAYS consult your doctor before doing any exercises during pregnancy.
1. 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.
Here is a great example of how you want to lean on the ball from Diary of a Fit Mommy
2. 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.
3. 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. 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.
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4. 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.
5. 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 decend into the proper position for delivery. This is a great post from Healthline.com about how to do squats safely during pregnancy.
7. Revolved wide leg stance
This is a fantastic pose that helps to release the hips and lengthen the hamstrings. Yoga Instructor Mel Campbell, does an amazing job of describing how to do this pose on her site.
8. 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. Click here to view a great description: https://blog.ohbabyfitness.com
10. 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
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.
Once your baby is here be sure to check out our Baby Wearing Workout post!
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