Having heard so many stories of recovery problems and other side effects of a caesarian, that when I conceived, I had started collecting all the information that would help me to a natural delivery.
Although, it is a known fact, that whatever we do, nick of the moment things may take a different turn and alter what you had planned. Well, in my case, things worked out well and I could avoid a caesarian. Also, a lot depends on the doctor as to how s/he is handling the case.
In earlier days, women were so active and used to do most of the household chores, that they never required these special exercises as they were doing as part of the chores! But with today's sedentary lifestyles, we need to make extra effort to do these exercises if we aspire for a natural delivery.
Following are few things that I used to do to tone my body for a natural delivery and for a healthy post-delivery recovery:
a) Pelvic Exercises
I used to do pelvic floor exercises very regularly. Few sites that helped me besides the birth classes that I joined in my hospital are listed below.
Pelvic floor exercises will prove beneficial pre and post delivery.
Pre-delivery - it will tone and strengthen the muscles giving flexibility required for natural birth.
Post-delivery - it helps in regulating the blood flow to the muscles helping in the healing process of the area between the anus and the vagina. It also helps in avoiding urine stress incontinence, i.e. urine leakage when you sneeze or cough. This happens as the hormones during pregnancy stretch these muscles and lead to such leakages.
If not done, then it may lead to haemorrhoids at times. I was pretty regular with my exercises post-delivery for the first 2 weeks and later on, just could not continue due to the stress taking a toll on me. I suffered later (nearly after a month)with external piles for 1 month. I took homoeopathy treatment for the piles and have recovered. Well, the point is to avoid them, be regular with the pelvic floor exercises, no matter how tired you are during the day.
Praanayam helped me in regulating my breathing patterns, helps you during contractions.
Besides the breathing exercises, do stretching exercises of your arms and and legs. Also, back exercises to cope with the stress on the back.
This formed the most important and regular exercise during my pregnancy. I would go for atleast 30 minutes walk daily, twice a day. Generally evening and at night. I was too lazy for morning walks.
It helped me in many ways:
a) perfect exercise for hips and thigh muscles.
b) kept me fit mentally
c) gravity helps in baby moving down.
d) best time for my husband and myself to have heart-to-heart talks, as he used to be busy during the day.
Post-delivery - I am still going for walks as it is a form of outing for my son and excellent form of exercise for me to keep a check on my weight gain.
My mom is an ardent believer of acupressure thus, she had already got all information about it when she came to hyderabad to stay with us. She showed my husband too and they both used to take turns to stimulate those points for natural induction of labor. I do not know whether they can assist in natural delivery. Even in the hospital while I would get tired of walking and take rest, she would either take a comb, or a pen with a broad edge or use her thumb and press the pressure points.
In fact, after delivery, she used to softly activate pressure points of my son in order to induce sleep when he is cranky. It used to work many times!! :)
This is the most important thing. Remember, mind is the strongest tool in our body and that the body reacts based on signals sent by the mind. Therefore, give yourself positive inputs that your body is healthy enough to go through the delivery naturally. The effect is so powerful, yet intangible that one does not really perceive it to appreciate it much.
Just sit calmly in a silent place in your house or a park, in general a peaceful location. Close your eyes and tell yourself that you have the power to do it. You do not have to focus on any idol of God or in between the eyebrows and all, just sit with your eyes closed. If nothing else your nerves will calm down and that itself is good enough. You do not have to time it as well. Sit or lie down for as long as you can and then gradually open your eyes.
Infact, if you can go one step further, then visualise yourself successfully delivering a healthy baby normally, on a regular basis and that itself will act as a positive input.
Well, it can be done in many ways, choose what suits you the best.
These are few things that I used to do religiously and proved to be beneficial, thus, thought of sharing with you all.
All the best to all those expecting and wish you a happy motherhood!! :)