The best exercise according to traditional cultures to open up the pelvis and encourage a fast, natural birth. This simple movement can be done in as little as two minutes per day.
I’ve been an athlete all my life, enjoying a wide variety of sports on land, water, and snow. When I got pregnant, however, I suddenly and unexpectedly became very much averse to anything that was at all strenuous. I know a lot of women who run, lift weights and otherwise do not change their exercise routine during pregnancy, but this was not for me.
Oh no. My body wasn’t having any of that!
I knew that I needed to keep fit while I was pregnant in order to give myself the best odds for a natural birth, however. My Mother had wisely told me that giving birth is like running a marathon and you need to not only pace yourself but have the wind and endurance to make it past the finish line if a natural birth was the goal.
As a result, I figured out an exercise plan that kept me fit but still honored my body’s desire for minimal athletics during my pregnancy months.
This fitness routine involved a lot of walking and prenatal yoga several times a week.
That was pretty much it.
Yoga and walking was all the exercise I attempted postpartum as well and even though it might seem like a wimpy fitness regimen compared with some gals, it was incredibly effective and produced excellent results as I lost every pregnancy pound I gained by the time each child turned two. Maybe not the fastest way to take off the weight, but it was gradual and stress-free and suited me just fine.
During my prenatal yoga classes recommended by my birth center, my instructor emphasized one particular yoga position above all others as the best exercise for a natural birth and nothing short of invaluable for preparing a woman’s body for the rigors of labor and delivery.
That position is malasana – the Sanskrit word for squat – specifically a yogic squat. Mala in Sanskrit (with a short “a”, not a long “ah” sound) translates as impurities and relates to the pose’s encouragement of healthy digestion. Indeed, squatting toilets are typical in Asian homes and I have written before about the increasing popularity of squatty stools in the United States.
Besides helping digestion, a yogic squat gently and effectively prepares the pelvic area for a natural birth with little risk of harm. As with any pregnancy exercise, however, women need to be very careful as the hormone relaxin produced during pregnancy relaxes pelvic ligaments and can increase the risk of injury.
In this video, I demonstrate a yogic squat as I was encouraged to do every single day of my pregnancies by my yoga instructor. Did the exercise do its job? I believe it did as I was fortunate to experience three fairly brief and complication-free natural births.
I continue to incorporate malasana into my yoga routine today whenever it seems appropriate. As a basic movement that has been performed for hundreds if not thousands of years by traditional cultures (and is still vital to everyday life in Asia today), squatting is an exercise that can potentially benefit not only pregnant women but the general population as well.
Video How-to: The Best Exercise for Natural Birth
The video below demonstrates the simple squat that you should start as early in your pregnancy as possible.
Keep doing it every day and it won’t be hard even once you are very top-heavy in the third trimester!
Then, once labor begins, you will be delighted how strong and easy it is to push that baby out 🙂
I started acupuncture at 35 weeks when this baby was still frank breech. I am almost 37 weeks and today I found out the baby is head down!!!! My acupuncturist told me that most people wait too long and she can’t help them because the baby runs out of room, so the trick is to come in as early as you know there is an issue!
That totally worked for me!
Is the reason some people need to hold onto something because of weakness in those shin muscles? I fall backwards immediately because I don’t had enough strength there to keep me upright and don’t see that developing in a matter of weeks. Is there something I’m missing here?
Jennifer Ann Schintz via Facebook
Worked for me! I highly recommend this exercise:)
Malorie Hacker via Facebook
Did this my whole 2&3rd trimester! Gave birth on a squatting stool too! VBAC and no tear!
Hatem Kamal via Facebook
Really Sharon? and you too Helen? Is that who you think I am? what do you expect me to do? just keep silent? suppress myself and not say a word? not at least bring it up so that no one is misled in the future?
She not only did not take down the videos that she no longer believes in (or even write an update in a bold color on the page where she put the video), but she made a new video to share information that she does not believe is true.
I changed the picture of my profile for whoever wants to see how I adapted my life. I bought brown rice in large quantity, but now I discovered another post that she actually, contrary to her video, says that white rice is better. I grew up in a family eating white rice every day but I switched myself to brown rice and stopped enjoying the white rice because of the videos. In the picture, there is a large bag of dry wheat berries bought in wholesale and colander with wet berries which were in the process of sprouting. I abruptly stored them in the refrigerator to stop the sprouting process after I discovered a post of hers telling she actually does not believe that sprouting berries will significantly lessen phytic acid. But her video is still up informing people of exactly the opposite information.
Aurora Seeker via Facebook
now thats what I call a freshly laid baby!!! awesome:-)
Sharon Roark via Facebook
If this were my page, I’d kick the trolls off, but I guess others have more patience with them then I do!