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How To Exercise Prenatally To Help With Labor And Facilitate Vaginal Delivery We all want and hope for an uneventful pregnancy, “easy” labor and a vaginal delivery and exercises can help with this.

Exercises have many benefits for pregnant women and their babies: • Improve sleep • Reduce stress and anxiety • Increase the strength, flexibility and endurance of muscles needed for childbirth • Decrease lower back pain • Can sometimes help to rotate the baby’s head to an anterior position, the optimum position for childbirth Here are some safe and easy-to-do exercises that you can do prenatally to help you along.

Cat/Cow Tilt Benefits: relieve back pain and help rotate baby’s head to anterior position

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Get on your hands and knees, arms shoulder-width apart and knees hipwidth apart, keeping your arms straight, but not locking elbows. Point your toes so that the tops of your feet are on the floor. Breathe in, slowly lift your head, face and chest forward and lift your buttocks up into the air. Relax your back into a neutral position as your breathe out. Breathe in. tuck your buttocks under and round your back. Relax your back into a neutral position as your breathe out. Swing your buttocks sideways slowly when you are in a neutral position. Repeat at your own pace 3-5 times

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Back Exercise

Benefit: reduce low back pain • • • • • • •

Lie flat. Bend your knees. Wrap your arms just under the knees. Breathe in and slowly lift your head and shoulders up. Hold for 3 -5 seconds. Breathe out and relax. Repeat 3-5 times.

Pelvis Exercise Benefit: reduce back pain • •

Lie flat with hands by your side. Bend your knees.

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Keep your knees together but your feet apart. (about hip-width) Contract the muscles around your buttocks and slowly lift your buttocks up, then your back. Swing your buttocks sideways Open your knees, then breathe out, lower your back and relax. Repeat 3-5 times

Tummy Exercise • • • • • •

Lie flat. Bend your knees. Put both hands in the small of your back. Contract your tummy muscles and buttocks until you can feel your back pressing down on your hands. Hold for 5 seconds. Count to 5 then lower your legs and relax. Repeat 3-5 times.

Squatting Benefits: relax and open the pelvis and strengthen your upper legs

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Stand facing the back of a chair with your feet slightly wider than hip-width. Toes pointing outward. Hold the back of the chair for support. Contract your abdominal muscles, lift your chest and relax your shoulders. Lower your buttocks as though you were going to sit down. Find your balance – your heels should be bearing most of the weight. Take a deep breath and slowly push yourself up to a standing position while exhaling.

Note: when you are bending down, the outside of the knees should not be

more than the toes of your feet otherwise you may loose your balance.

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Alice To

How to exercise prenatally to help with labor and facilitate vaginal delivery