For some expectant mums though, there may be a medical reason which restricts them from having a vaginal birth, and baby has to be delivered via caesarean section.
The conversations I have with new mums in my postnatal classes who’ve delivered both ways: eg a) one baby naturally, and b) their second baby via c-section, always comment that their rate of recovery post c-section is harder and slower following a c-section.
Women who give birth naturally recover quicker postnatally. The scenario is even more noticeable if they made a commitment to exercise and maintained their fitness levels during pregnancy too.
I can’t categorically sit here and tell you how you can lessen your chances of having a c-section, because when the time comes, well, you just never know what will happen, and you may have to have a non-vaginal birth.
Below are my top tips for keeping active, with a focus on how to lessen your chances of delivering via c-section:
- Exercise your cardiovascular system – Put simply, if you stay active and regularly train your cardiovascular system through aerobic-type activity, the better chance you have of sustaining the physical demands of labour, for longer. You wouldn’t go out and run a marathon having done NO training beforehand, and the same rule applies for childbirth.
- Keep your abs strong – Doing Pilates/core-based exercise to the deep, internal abdominal muscles will also help you during labour too. It’s your abdominals that help “push” baby out, and the more strength you have in these, the easier labour will be during that pushing stage. Couple this with aerobic fitness above, and your chances of needing a c-section or medical intervention are lower.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle – It’s obvious, isn’t it? If you eat healthy food, keep active and avoid excessive weight gain during pregnancy which weakens your abdominals and leads to you being de-conditioned, then you will, categorically find labour hard going.
- Do your pelvic floor exercises – Contrary to belief, your pelvic floor has a major role in childbirth. Along with your abdominals, your pelvic floor muscles help guide baby out through the birth canal. And, with 30% of postnatal women suffering with some form of stress incontinence after birth, I don’t need to remind you of the important of working these muscles as often as you lift something,/move/change position.
- Strengthen your arms and legs – If you’re used to doing weight training t your arms at the gym, continue to do so is the advice. You’d actually be very surprised at the effort required in both your arms and your legs during labour. And, once baby’s entered the world and wants your constant attention, you’ll be forever lifting and carrying him/her which also requires arm and leg strength too!
To do what’s right for you and your unborn baby, click here to find out more about my Bump to Babe Pregnancy Fitness Classes. The more active you are during pregnancy, the quicker you’ll feel your old self again postnatally.