9 Steps to a Better Pregnancy, Birth and Recovery

The incredible changes of a women’s body in pregnancy takes enormous adjustments from hormonal activity to increased fluids and pressure that can cause significant strain.

Pregnancy is a great time to prepare to give your baby the best start to life with correct posture and pelvic balance. Preventing common pregnancy ailments and symptoms can go a long way to enhancing the outcomes for birth, bonding, breastfeeding and importantly maternal recovery.

From the hips and lower back often struggling to support the growing belly, internal shoulder rotation during side sleeping, pregnancy presents women with a whole range of challenges.

Our passion is helping mothers understand ways in which they can reduce and eliminate pain during such an important time in not only their lives, but for their babies.

Sleeping with the hips aligned

The first step to maintaining pelvic and hip balance in pregnancy is to get sleeping posture correct. Using a bolster or thick pillow under the knee while side sleeping. This will help keep the hips aligned to prevent much of the pain many women report during pregnancy.

Regular pregnancy treatments can prevent accumulated stress that can affect fetal development and ease of birth. We offer birth preparation & education to help prevent unnecessary need for medical interventions that require significant rehabilitation.

There are many things that can be explored to help prevent a stressful pregnancy and birth experience that we encourage women to consider. Here are 3 to start:

Pre-natal Exercise

Pregnancy specific “stability focused” exercise helps maintain balance and prevent injuries and pain before and after birth.  The hormones of pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding including oxytocin and relaxin, can cause incredible instability in and around the joints and muscles. This means it’s important to maintain strength especially around the hips, gluteal muscles and pelvis, to support the lower back during pregnancy…as well as increase birth recovery rate.

Helping to eliminate waste and toxins that accumulate as the bodily fluids increase, exercise not only keeps a mother stable, but also helps maintain a strong immune system, vital for the demands of pregnancy.

Reducing stress with sufficient and corrective movement, prepares the body for a more efficient labour and birth, particularly for the pelvis and perineum to prevent strain in labour.

Pre & post-natal treatment

The gravitational shift occurring in fetal development increases the likelihood of lower back pain. Sometimes morning sickness, dizziness and nausea reduces the ability to exercise and keep active, further aggravating lower back pain.

Pre-natal treatments maintain balance where blood stagnation occurs because of restricted mobility in the body. Regular treatment can mean the difference between a comfortable, relaxed pregnancy and one more defined by aches and pains.

Myotherapy can also decrease recovery time after giving birth, which often requires great physical endurance akin to athletic performance. Helping restore uterine muscle vitality, pelvic balance and postural realignment, Myotherapy supports new mothers in giving their baby the best possible start to life.

Swimming for optimal fetal positioning

Swimming offers a safe means of exercising as the water supports weight, decreasing the gravitational stress on the spine and limbs. Enhancing the ability to use oxygen, swimming helps encourage healthy fetal development for lasting benefits after birth.

Being buoyant in water helps baby assume the best position for birth. Swimming also more importantly prevents transverse or breech positioning during pregnancy, thereby lowering the risk of medical interventions during birth.

Learn your vitamins
Getting to know the most important vitamins and minerals for pregnancy is vital to prevent deficiency and depletion, but also to prevent potential problems in birth and recovery. Vitamin B is a very well known way to stabilise a woman’s hormones and energy during pregnancy, which is known to ease morning sickness for many.
Watching your iron levels and ensuring you get plenty during all stages of pregnancy is also vital for energy levels as is keeping a high protein diet, vital for building the all important muscle tissue for both mum and bub. Understanding the vital role of omega 3 fatty acids and healthy fats in general for brain development in babies and mothers with “baby brain” is another fantastic way to prevent fogginess while promoting a healthy pregnancy and fetal development.
Including plenty of seeds, nuts and other forms of fat in your diet is one of the best ways to prevent deficiency, as well as supplementation with the recommendation of a qualified practitioner.
With everything taken care of during pregnancy, it’s also incredibly important to understand the physiology of birth, when preparing your body for giving your baby the best start to life! Though life merely begins with birth, it certainly has a lasting impact and imprint on not only the mother and child, but the whole family! Here are 3 Tips for a Better Birth to begin…
 
Birth education
 
Labour positions have a great deal to do with pain intensity due to the opening of the space within the pelvic bones as well as it’s structure working with gravity. Lying on your back in labour works against gravity, increasing pressure on the sacrum, making birth more difficult. Labour is less stressful when able to move freely in different positions. Find Birth Education workshops in your area, to learn more about how to make birthing easier. Di Diddle’s Birth Education course in Fitzroy offers fantastic insight into how best to navigate natural labour and birth.
 
Natural pain relief
 
Pregnancy is the best time to learn about natural pain management to prevent unnecessary struggle during birth. Using hot showers or a bath (deep water immersion) during labour significantly reduces pain intensity. Having support people apply pressure on points in the lower back can help ease pressure during contractions, along with assuming an upright or forward leaning position.
 
Birth Preparation
 
Stretching and exercising regularly prepares for the endurance and surrender needed to labour as baby descends during birth. Fitness increases  cardiovascular health, to prevent the risk of high blood pressure in labour causing fetal distress.
Keeping motherhood and recovery in mind
It’s not ALL about the baby! A mother’s recovery is vital in order to be able to support a baby in transitioning from womb to world! Remember to look into enlisting all the help you can get, post birth! It’s vital to keep in mind who you want to be around you in the days and weeks after birth! Thinking ahead can save you a lot of stress in playing host and stressing about “being presentable” or having a tidy home for visitors.
Think ahead and be clear if you do not wish for visitors for a certain recovery period, or at least ask that anyone popping in can contribute to some light house duties or shopping, to save you the much needed time for rest in transitioning through new motherhood with little sleep! Two fantastic books we recommend for birth recovery are The Fourth Trimester and The First Fourty Days.
 
Recommended resources:
 
Birth with Confidence, Rhea Dempsey
Ina May Gaskin’s Guide to Childbirth
Gentle Birth Gentle Mothering, Dr Sarah Buckley
A Labour of Love, Gabrielle Targett
Down to Earth Birth, Jenny Blyth
Birth Bliss Guided Relaxation, Anna Urbanski
Undisturbed Birth DVD, Dr Sarah Buckley
I also share my first birth story and birth preparation in the last chapter of our most recent book Moving Beyond Pain available here.