Know Before You Go - Practice Labor Movements Before Birth

iStock_000004345455Large.jpgMoving your body throughout labor and birth has so many benefits. It can reduce your time in labor, reduce your pain, and reduce your risk of unwanted interventions. We've talked at length about the best strategies for maintaining freedom of movement during labor and birth. But how will you know what to do when it's time? What if you forget that perfect position that's supposed to reduce back labor? And, will you remember the way you're supposed to squat to increase the opening of your pelvis? Ah, the pressure! 


Relax. This post is not meant to stress you out, but rather give you some practical and easy strategies for remembering your options for moving during labor. Let's take a look. 


1. Take a childbirth class. First and foremost, get the foundation you need to learn some of the best options for movement during labor and birth. A good childbirth class will provide this foundation and give you ample opportunities during class to rehearse moving in labor.  


2. Listen to your body. Your body is incredible intuitive. Usually, your unconscious kicks in and guides you to do things that your "thinking brain" doesn't always understand. When in labor, it's not uncommon for women to move and change positions according to what their body feels is most comfortable. Don't ignore your body's intuition! 


3. Practice movements during pregnancy. Beginning in the third trimester, start practicing ways you think you'll want to move during labor. Come up with a daily routine (think of it like a "7 minute abs" routine) and spend a few minutes each morning (you likely won't have the energy at night) running through the movements. Check out these key movements for ideas. 


4. Make or print a cheat sheet. This is the go-to-guide that you'd want to have with you during labor. Many childbirth classes offer handouts like this. You can also make your own from resources online. Pack this Cliffs notes in your labor bag and be sure to share it -- in advance -- with your birth partner, spouse, or birth support team. 


5. Hire a doula. The best thing about a doula is that she does all of the remembering for you! A doula is trained to know and offer suggestions on different positions and movements that help during labor and birth. 


6. Ask for help. Many labor and delivery nurses are knowledgeable on offering help with position changes, too. If you're stuck, call for your nurse and see what she (or another nurse on duty) suggests.

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