Prepare to Push
Birth is normal and natural—women have been doing it for centuries. But giving birth is like running a marathon, and you wouldn’t run a marathon without preparing for it, would you? While birth is natural and your body was designed for it, it can leave your body in an injured state. Unfortunately, because birth is ‘natural’, often times not enough emphasis is placed on preparing and recovering from birth. Also, we live in an unnatural world where your body has been accustomed to a lifestyle that involves a lot of sitting, and this means that it has developed some compensations that can interfere with the natural birthing process. Hence the need to prepare! Birth is a very physical event: it requires physical and mental stamina. Unfortunately, many women do not train for this big event, leaving them with discomfort in their pregnancies, prolonged and more difficult labours, and an after-baby body that leaves them feeling broken.
Fortunately, with the right information and awareness, you can minimize or eliminate these aches and pains, birth the way you want with more ease and less discomfort, and be confident in your after-baby body. By preparing to push, you are supporting your amazing body as it nurtures and grows your beautiful baby, and you are setting yourself up for a return to optimal function postpartum.
The missing link in childbirth education is the mother’s physical preparation for birth, as well as best practices for postpartum healing. Many pregnancy books give you valuable information about what is happening week by week, to both you and your baby, but a lot of critical pieces of information are left out, information that can have a big impact on your pregnancy, your birth experience, and your transition into motherhood. This critical information relates to your inner core—that is, your pelvic floor (actually, your pelvis in general) and your abdomen: the core’s two major players.
Your core is the most affected part of your body in pregnancy, during birth, and postpartum, yet it gets little or no attention. Generally, the only thing you may have heard with regards to the pelvic floor is to do your kegels—that’s it! No instruction on how to do them, no assessment to determine if kegels would even be right for you, no discussion of posture or breathing or alignment and how these affect your ability to do a kegel… just “Make sure you are doing your kegels.” You deserve better than that. Prevention is key, but many women find out only after the fact about core dysfunction and often think it’s normal to suffer from things like incontinence and mummy tummy after having kids. The truth is, many of the challenges new (and seasoned) moms face can be prevented or minimized with the right education and awareness about how to prepare and recover.
As I said earlier, giving birth is like running a marathon, but most women do not prepare for it. Preparation for a physical event such as a marathon involves strength training, stretching and release work, visualization and breathwork. Birth should be no different. The mindset of most is “Millions have done it before me—it can’t be that bad. I’ll just hope for the best.” Yet once the baby is born, the thinking becomes “I wish I had known that” or “I wish I had paid more attention to my core.” By adopting the guidelines in this book, you will follow a different path and make the choice to prepare for your marathon. Good for you!
Excerpted from “Prepare to Push”. Kim Vopni is known as The Fitness Doula. A mother of two, pre/postnatal fitness consultant and trained doula, she helps women prepare their bodies for the marathon of birth with prevention in mind. Kim is the owner of Pelvienne Wellness and co-founder of Bellies Inc. Book is available at www.preparetopush.com