Have you thought about the ideal way to birth a baby? Yes, this could mean whether you want scented candles or your favorite soundtrack playing in the background. But I mean even bigger picture -- such as the universal desire for a delivery that is kind to our bodies and a robust recovery. YES! So how do we do that?
Let's begin by talking about how we actually get the baby out. Did you know that the healthiest way to birth a baby is not by using the core to push the baby out? That's the job of our powerful uterus. It knows how to contract to coax the baby out. And baby helps too! Did you know that baby actually pushes his/her way out as well?
The job of the core and pelvic floor is to yield, open and relax to allow the baby through. This requires opening, relaxing, and letting go. That's the opposite of tightening, gripping and kegeling. The absolute opposite.
The pelvic floor opens or relaxes for these other daily activities:
- Bowel movements
- Penetration with intercourse.
The pelvic floor muscles tighten, contract or kegel for the following daily activities:
- orgasm (a rhythmic tightening and releasing)
- continence (keeping urine and bowel movements in)
- supporting our internal organs.
When preparing for your birth, whether you participate in a birth class, take yoga or are an avid spin class attendee, remember that tension and tightening our pelvic floors is not what helps our babies out.
Instead, focus on opening and relaxing your pelvic floor (perhaps next time you use the bathroom -- ask yourself how do I pee? Do I contract or squeeze out my pee or do I let it go? ) Just as many people contract or squeeze to pee (which actually discourages complete elimination), many people tighten or close their pelvic floors in birth. So I suggest practicing with daily activities as a form of rehearsal for your pelvic floor for the big day.
Yes, birth is a one time event, but it's implications on the body (and mind!) are enormous.
Mental rehearsal can be so helpful. Yes, our bodies know how to birth our babies but we all know that practicing for an athletic event is always a good idea.