Page 1

section 1


Preparing for the work of Childbirth



Let’s review:

Once the meeting starts, welcome everyone and ask the participants: • Who can help us remember what we talked about in our last meeting? • Who was able to do the activity at home that we asked you to do at the end of the meeting? How did it go? • Does anyone have questions or concerns after doing the activity?

What are we going to learn?

Exercises that help with circulation and strengthen the mother for childbirth. LET’S TALK ABOUT IT! We are going to look at some pictures so we can talk about this subject. What pre-natal exercises did you do when you were pregnant? Why do you think it’s important to do pre-natal exercises?

What pre-natal exercises would you like to practice in your home?

section 1 / pre-natal • meeting 5



“Exercises for childbirth” We are going to practice a few exercises that will make us stronger and more prepared for the moment of childbirth.

What we’ll need: • Mats to lie on • The pre-natal exercise sheet

WHAT WE’LL DO: Ask the pregnant mothers to divide into pairs to practice some exercises. Give each pair a mattress or bedroll and an exercise sheet. • Demonstrate the exercises on the sheet and then tell the pairs of women to take turns doing the exercises and helping their partner. • Show them deep breathing exercises and ask them all to practice breathing for a while. • Finally ask all the participants to reflect on how they felt doing the exercise, if it was hard, if it felt good or if they need to practice some more to get it right. A few suggestions: Ideally the couple (husband and wife) would practice the exercises together so that the husband could help his wife do the exercises at home.

Summing Up:

What did we learn today? Now, we’ll review what we discussed today. • How do you feel after this meeting? Why? • What are the two most important things you’ve learned today? • What will you do differently based on what you learned during the meeting? • What did you like the most? Are there things you didn’t like? • Do you have any remaining concerns or questions about what we talked about? To finish, what would you recommend to improve today’s meeting when we do it again with another group. (Explain that answering this question will help the meeting be even better in the future for parents with small children.)

To do at home:

• Pregnant mothers should do exercises every day to strengthen their bodies for the moment of childbirth. • Husbands should learn to help their wives with breathing exercises so the mother-to-be can get more oxygen during labor.

Facilitator’s Manual


Basic information for the facilitator: Learning more about preparing for the work of childbirth: 1- The role of exercise in preparation for labor:

Appropriate exercises can: • Relieve backaches and improve pregnant women’s posture by strengthening and toning the muscles in the back, buttocks, and thighs. • Reduce constipation by accelerating the movement of the (intestine) bowels. • Prevent wear and tear on joints by activating the lubricating fluid in the joints. Joints become loosened during pregnancy due to hormonal changes. • Help pregnant women sleep well by relieving the stress and anxiety that might make them restless at night. • Prepare the mother’s body for birth. Strong muscles and a fit heart can greatly ease labor and delivery. Gaining control over breathing can help mothers manage pain. In case labor is prolonged, the exercises increase the ability to endure prolonged labor. • Regain the pre-pregnancy body more quickly. During pregnancy, the body accumulates a lot of fat. Women gain less fat during their pregnancy if they continue to exercise (assuming they exercised before becoming pregnant). But women should not expect or try to lose weight by exercising while pregnant. For most women, the goal is to maintain their fitness level throughout pregnancy.

2- Types of exercises:

Walking is good exercise. Before walking, allow at least a few minutes to warm up, and at the end of the walk, allow a few minutes to cool down or rest. Walk for at least 30 minutes three times a week. • Contracting the leg muscles helps the circulation of the blood from them back to the lungs decreasing the risk of varicose veins. • Stretching arms and breathing to allow further expansion of the chest facilitates breathing which will be important during labor. It also improves the posture while strengthening the lower back muscles. • Contracting and strengthening the muscles below the urinary bladder and the uterus prevent these organs from ‘falling’ (support these organs).

3- You should limit or avoid exercise if you have: • • • •

regnancy-induced high blood pressure P Early contractions Bleeding from the vagina A sudden gush of warm fluid from the vagina due to early (premature) rupture of the membranes enveloping the fetus (the fetus “swims” in these fluid while inside your womb)

section 1/ pre-natal • meeting 5


4- Exercises to avoid:

• All pregnant women should avoid exercises after the first trimester that require them to lie flat on their backs. • It is wise to avoid any activities that include lots of movement: bouncing, jumping, up and down movement, a sudden change of direction or the risk of injuring your abdomen.

5- It is important for all pregnant women to avoid smoking and drinking alcohol:

Alcohol and tobacco affect the health of the mother and the infant and can cause serious problems like undersized babies, low birth weight and miscarriages.

Facilitator’s Manual


meetingsection1 Let’s review: LET’S TALK ABOUT IT! We are going to look at some pictures so we can talk about this subject. Once the meeting...