Would you go out and run a marathon tomorrow without training for it? Just lace up your sneakers and be like, “alright, let’s see how this goes!”
Because personally, I would not (plus I hate running 😅).
And yet I see soooo many people approach labor and birth this way.
Here’s the thing - the female body was made to birth babies. We know this. However, our modern lifestyles are not conducive to birthing anymore.
We spend the majority of our time sedentary in some way.
Hospitals favor pushing positions that are beneficial for the medical providers over what’s best for the person actually pushing a baby out of their vagina. And education about what is happening to the body during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum is not widely available (or always accurate).
So in today’s post, we’ll talk about why preparing for labor and childbirth is just like training for a marathon. Remember this - labor is a marathon, and birth is the finish line.
If we are meeting for the first time - Hi! Welcome to Vibrant Mama Wellness! My name is Megan, and I am a pre and postnatal personal trainer. I am certified through the National Academy of Sports Medicine, with a specialization in pre+postnatal fitness through Pronatal fitness. I am a mom to a toddler, and pregnant with my second baby!
(Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and this is not medical advice. This blog is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or condition. This blog post is based on my own research and experience - please consult a medical professional before starting or making any changes to your exercise program).
So let’s think back to running a marathon for a second…
When you start out, you’re feeling pretty good! You’re getting into a good rhythm, and your breathing is even, but you hit that 5-mile marker and you might start to feel a little crampy. You hit 10 miles and your quads might be burning....basically the further along you get THE HARDER IT BECOMES. This is why you’ve spent months and months training for it - so that your body and mind can tap into that muscle memory, stamina, and grit and you can reach that finish line.
Now I’m not going to sugarcoat this - the process of labor is very strenuous. It can be long (sometimes days) and requires endurance and strength (just like that marathon!) to make it to the finish line (i.e. pushing a baby out of your body).
So how the heck do we train for labor and birth? 👇
The combination of physical exercise and mental toughness.
Let’s take a squat for example:
You’re getting up to 10-12 reps, you’re starting to get tired, your heart rate is up, and your muscles are burning….Then you get a period of rest. During this period of rest, you want to bring your heart rate down, focus on steadying your breath, and conserve energy before heading into the next set.
Now let’s think about how that compares to contractions!
The further you get into labor, the more intense and longer the contractions become. But you get small breaks in between the contractions where you want to conserve your energy and steady your breathing before you head into the next one.
THIS is how we train for birth. Labor is just like a marathon, and we want our workouts to mimic these periods of work and rest, while simultaneously building strength, to both physically and mentally prepare you for the demands of labor.
We also want to think about how you can get the body into a variety of different positions that are going to be optimal for helping the baby move through the pelvis, as well as relaxing the pelvic floor to reduce the risk of severe tearing and damage to the pelvic floor.
Our bodies are made to birth, but the way we prepare can make a huge difference.
Need help? I gotchu covered.
In my Vibrantly You™ Pregnancy Program, you can expect:
making it to the end of the day with less low back and pelvic girdle pain
easily able to walk up the stairs and around the block without feeling winded
having the ability to bend down to pick the keys that you dropped on the ground, lift your toddler, and get up off the floor without fear of throwing your back out
having a complete understanding of the role your anatomy plays in childbirth so you know the best positions to labor and push in
decreasing the severity of perineal tearing as well as reducing the risk of interventions during birth (such as c-section)
lowering your risk of developing injury-based Diastasis Recti and pelvic floor dysfunction after birth
having a quicker and easier postpartum recovery
This program includes over 30 full-length follow-along workouts, video educational modules on core, pelvic floor and birth mechanics, how to adjust your workouts for common aches and pains, 30 recipes for all trimesters, and nutrition education on how to properly fuel your body!
Learn more about the program HERE.
While we can’t control how birth will play out, we can control how we mentally and physically prepare our bodies. Working out during pregnancy has been associated with positive birth outcomes such as fewer medical interventions and a shorter labor overall!
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Disclaimer: This blog does not serve as medical advice. Please consult your medical provider before starting a new fitness routine. This blog is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or condition.