Personal Training for a Positive Childbirth Experience
Perhaps, I am the most shocked at just how well, like clockwork, my first pregnancy and experience of childbirth was and maybe why I can't stop reflecting on it and talking about it-mostly with myself (and to supportive friends who don't mind my detailed ranting).
Against some odds (examples include being 39 years old, not really believing I would ever have a baby because I was scared of childbirth, family not understanding why I didn't have a doctor at my side at every moment throughout the entire pregnancy - thankfully, I didn't need one), I gave birth to my daughter in a birthing pool in a hospital without any drugs or intervention. (I was open to having drugs had there been a medical necessity).
I was fit going into my pregnancy. I had been training 4-6 days a week, nothing crazy, just keeping up my fitness levels by doing functional training, pilates, running, walking and yoga. I had been doing this for a good ten years. During my pregnancy I tried to keep up my fitness levels but I was only able to do a bit of swimming, yoga, pilates and gratefully, a lot of walking. My body was telling me not to do anything else. And I listened.
I prepared too by reading a lot around pregnancy and childbirth. I was particularly interested to find out why if we as a species are meant to survive, was it so painful to give birth? (This is another topic but apparently it is to do with our brains, i.e. the size of the baby's head on its way out!) It was during all this reading that I learned more tips then I had previous knowledge or awareness of being a personal trainer and pilates instructor by profession.
As a personal trainer, my top five tips in preparation for a positive birth experience (not in any specific order) are:
1/ Drinking a lot of water (5-7 Litres per day)
2/ Walking a lot (one to three hours every day that you can)
3/ Always leaning forward (as opposed to leaning back on a sofa or chair)
4/ Pelvic floor exercises (at least twice a day but as often as you remember and as soon as you know you are pregnant)
5/ Remembering that the pain WILL end and that it is pain that you are meant to feel. What would be worrying is if you weren't feeling this kind of - dare I say - natural pain.
These points are important to keep you hydrated (tip 1), position your baby's head deep in your cervix (tips 2, 3 and 4) and acknowledge that it is ok to feel pain (tip 5).
If luck came into it at all for me, it was that I am a personal trainer/pilates instructor by profession and I have a good understanding of my own body. Further luck was that I had an incredibly supportive midwife, assistant midwife and husband who all let me listen to my body and get on with it on the day. The pain was excruciating, but it was bearable because I learnt and understood that the pain I am meant to feel, will end. And it did after every contraction (plenty of time for drinking more ice cold water) and as soon as my baby's head was out. The fact that I didn't have any drugs meant a fast (1.5 hour) labour and that I could be up standing and walking around within a few hours after the birth.
Following my positive experience, I have devised a 12 week online programme for expecting mom's who feel they would like the support of personal training throughout their pregnancy to prepare for a positive childbirth experience and beyond. Visit our website here www.chelseapersonaltraining.co.uk for more information and contact us today!
I have chosen to share my story because I feel delighted to be able to share that it is possible to have a happy birth story. Selfishly, I also want to feel able to share it - out loud. Furthermore, I want to help expecting mothers via our specific online personal training programme who are just as scared of childbirth as I was!