What are your plans for how you will be spending time in labor?
Do you have a mental image of yourself in a hospital gown, lying on your back on the hospital bed, holding on to your belly in agony and hyperventilating as your contractions come and go?
Well, this post is about to change that because I’m not only going to tell you WHY it’s so important to MOVE during labor but also HOW you can do that! So let’s get out of the bed and get moving!
Multiple studies have shown that staying active in the first stage of labor has tons of benefits for both you and baby – it helps labor progress faster (at least one hour and twenty minutes shorter for women who move and who wouldn’t want that right – I know you do!) and has lesser chances of cesarean surgeries for mothers.
You are also less likely to ask for an epidural as a pain relief measure and are more likely to rely on finding positions and movement to be comfortable. While this may not seem like a big deal – it is important for pregnant Mamas to know that epidurals do come with their share of risks and disadvantages and if you’re looking to labor without pain relief drugs, making sure you’re active from the get go will ensure that your body copes well and performs as it needs to.
There are lots of different ways you can do this and what you choose to do depends on what your body asks for instinctively (tune in and listen to your Mama’s instinct always) as well as the stage of labor you are at and your energy levels.
Movement can be as basic and simple as walking (but let’s not dismiss it because it is AMAZING for labor progress), sitting on a birth ball and rocking your pelvis, fun and uplifting like dancing (never say no to an endorphin high!) or something that you come up with on the spot that just feels oh-so-good to do!
Here are 10 ways you can move in the first stage of labor as you wait to dilate from 0 cm to 10 cms and give your pelvis a much needed workout
1. Walking – Walk around in your laboring room or step out into the hallway outside to go for a nice, easy, gentle walk.
2. Rocking your pelvis in circles – Imagine that your tailbone were a pencil and that you were drawing circles on the ground. Nice, easy gentle swirls as you stand with hands on your hips for additional support or lean against your partner or a wall
3. Rocking your pelvis in 8s – Now imagine you’re drawing figures of 8 on the floor. This asymmetrical movement is so good for to help pelvis open up and make space for the baby
4. Slow dancing with your partner – Who says labor can’t be romantic and a time to connect? Hold on to your partner and move your hips in rhythm to not only benefit from all the rocking and swaying but to also get an oxytocin boost from all the touching and hugging. Oxytocin is a hormone that plays a vital role in helping labor progress and the more there is flowing in you, the better!
5. Lunges – Prop your leg up on a low stool or lower the bed to the right height and put your leg up for support. This helps pelvis open up and you can even add in a swaying, rocking or circling motion to it for added movement
6. Rocking on the birth ball – The birth ball is a must have labor prop. It is versatile as well as comfortable and allows for a range of motion. If you get tired of standing and rocking your pelvis, you can continue to draw imaginary circle and 8s with your tailbone while sitting on a birth ball. Make sure you get one that is the right height for you and feels comfortable when you sit.
7. All 4s leaning on the birth ball – The birth ball continues to be an awesome prop – hang your arms over the birth ball and rest your head on it as you get the rest of your body supported on your knees in a semi-on all 4s position. Continue to draw imaginary circles with your pelvis.
8. Resting on a wall – Use the wall or anything that feels at the right height to rest against between walking or dancing so you can still remain in an upright position while conserving or regaining energy
9. Resting against the side of the bed – The side or the foot of the bed can also be a great resting place when you need a break while still helping you remain upright and open at your pelvis
10. Crab walk – And for the final one, I present to you the crab walk. Essentially, you walk sidewards to help open the pelvis and take wide steps. You can have your partner walk along with you for additional physical support.
Tell me in the comments which one is your favorite way to stay active in labor.