Preparing Your Body for Labour: How Exercise, Rest and Acupuncture Helps
As a patient at our Dublin acupuncture clinic recently put it, there’s a reason it’s called ‘labour’ and not a ‘walk in the park’.
While it may be the shortest phase in the pregnancy, labour is likely to be the most significant. Nonetheless, it is possible, and easy, for a woman to minimise the effort and pain of natural childbirth.
Labour will normally begin only when the body is ready and prepared. But you can help nature on its course. Preparation should be begin prior to and throughout pregnancy, but especially in the last few weeks before the due date.
Here are a few tips and tricks.
Pelvic floor exercises: Delivering a baby uses a group of muscles called the pelvic floor muscles. Like most muscles, they can be strengthened through exercise. Pelvic floor exercise will help prepare your body to push your baby out. The most common pelvic floor exercise is called a kegel. Contact us for a free guide.
Be healthy and rested: Before beginning your labour you want to be as healthy and rested as possible. This means getting lots of sleep (this is essential to having the stamina to last through what could be a long labour). Also, eating correctly. In the last few weeks of your pregnancy, eat fresh pineapple for an enzyme that helps ripen the cervix for labour.
Acupressure for Pain Relief: In my clinic during pre-birth acupuncture treatments, I introduce women and their partners to easy to use and easy to find acupressure points. They can be applied by the woman or her partner to promote labour and for pain-relief.
Pre-birth Acupuncture: Acupuncture once a week from around Week 36 until labour will help to prepare the mother for childbirth, reducing the time spent in labour, and reducing the rate of medical intervention. The purpose of this gentle treatment is to prepare the body for the most efficient labour physically and emotionally, to help the baby become engaged in a favourable position within the pelvis and for the cervix to gradually soften and dilate.
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