Expectant mothers often wonder about their baby's delivery—how long it will take, how much pain will be involved and how the recovery process will go. Many physicians recommend exercises that can help to make the labor process go as smoothly as possible. These exercises, performed during pregnancy, can prepare the body for the physical event of labor and delivery. They also can speed recovery time for the mother.
To perform a Kegel exercise, practice stopping your flow of urination in mid-stream. The muscles that you use to do this are the muscles that you need to contract during Kegel exercises. When performing the exercises, contract these muscles that are located in the area of your vagina and rectum. Hold the contraction for about five seconds and release. Repeat for a set of eight to 10 contractions. Follow this set with a rapid set of quick contract-and-release exercises in the same area. Perform 20 quick Kegels for this set. Work up to multiple sets of each kind of Kegel exercise. By doing this, you will strengthen the muscles in and around your vagina, uterus, bladder and rectum. This can make labor go more smoothly, reduce your chance of having hemorrhoids and speed up your recovery time after delivery.
Labor is a physically demanding event. Regularly practicing cardiovascular exercises before it's time to deliver builds stamina and helps your body to prepare for the delivery process. Cardiovascular exercises, sometimes called aerobic exercises, increase heartbeat and respiration. Choose low-impact exercises during pregnancy to reduce the risk of injury. Some of these recommended activities include walking, swimming and stationary biking. Consult your doctor to make sure an exercise program is safe for you and your baby before you begin.
Yoga increases flexibility and aids in relaxation. Various yoga positions and stretches can help pregnant women specifically by working parts of the body that will be taxed during labor and delivery. Some of these positions include squats and pelvic tilts. You can perform a stretch called the "cobbler pose" that will help to open up and loosen your pelvic area. Sit with your back against a wall and your legs flat on the floor. Bring your feet in toward each other until they are touching. Your knees should be bent. Hold this position and use your hands to gently push your knees toward the floor. Don't force them; just use light movements and stop if you feel pain or discomfort. If possible, stay in this pose for five to 10 minutes each day.