How to feel strong, stable and ready for labour, birth and beyond

Getting ready for the birth of your baby is about so much more than having all the right

baby stuff...


And yes – most mothers want to learn more and try to attend classes or read books to

get more information about being pregnant and the process of birthing a baby. This is

wonderful and an important part of the journey. But it is not enough. Over the years

we’ve come to realize that mothers need more than just information - they also need an

understanding of their bodies with practical tools and tips on how to prepare for the

optimal birth experience.


There are many factors that influence your labour and birth and some of these you can't

control. Preparing your body and your mind ahead of time is you taking ownership - it will

increase your control and grow your confidence. Our AtoE guideposts for pregnancy will

make you feel stronger, more stable and ready for labour, birth and beyond.


All of it is connected.


Leaning into this concept will make you more aware of how your environment and

relationships impact you and how your response to it consists of an emotional, mental

and physical reaction. Growing in your understanding of your body as a continuous

system - whereby a change in one part of the body creates change in another part (Dr

Stephen Levin calls it Biotensegrity) - explains why we end up with aches and pains and

“creative” movement patterns as we go through our lives. Our bodies are great at

adapting in order to keep doing what is required. A good example of this is how a person

who wears high-heeled shoes daily over a period of time often experiences a shortening

of the posterior chain. This pulls the pelvis out of alignment which in turn creates a

reaction in the upper body and overall impact the way every muscle and ligament does

its job. Compensation patterns like this often become extremely obvious when pregnant

as it impacts the way the body carries the baby, the way labouring and birthing unfold

and eventually also the postpartum recovery.


Breathing is the foundation for life.


The way you breathe every day (whether you are pregnant or not) impacts your body's

overall functionality. There are three ways people normally breathe and only one of them

is an optimal strategy to get enough air into your lungs while not putting too much

pressure on your pelvic floor. You can check this out for yourself by lying on your back

with one hand on the belly and the other on the ribs and feel where the most movement

takes place when you breathe normally.

Optimal breathing happens when on the inhale your ribcage expands sideways as well

as to the back and front while your diaphragm goes down to create enough space in

your chest cavity. On the exhale every part returns to its normal position and the

abdominal pressure eases.

This will only be possible when your upper body is not too tight or wound up. The

responsiveness of your core (including the diaphragm and pelvic floor) also comes into

play.


Becoming aware of your breathing is the first step to a stronger connection with your

body and your baby.


Create more balance and space in your body and your life


As we learn more about birth it becomes clear that more balance and space during

pregnancy improve your chances for a better experience.

Tension on one side of the body influences your internal balance and implicates the

space baby has in the womb. It can eventually determine the position baby is in at the

onset of labour, which in turn can influence the length and manner the process unfolds.

There is so much you can do during the pregnancy to help create more space and

balance in your body – looking at your body's alignment and being more aware of your

posture during the day as you walk, stand, sit and lie down are a great start... since

everything is connected, both you and baby will feel the difference and the relief as you

start enjoying neutral ribs over neutral pelvis on the regular.

Being more balanced in terms of the way you fill your day, finding ways to release stress

and making choices that enhance connection with others in your home, are all good

ways to prepare for the transition into motherhood.


Distinguish between what’s labelled as “normal” and what is natural or

necessary


Pregnancy changes your body, but pregnancy does not have to change your alignment!

Although highly pregnant women often have a belly out/back curved look while waddling

instead of walking, it does not mean that it is necessary. In fact, you can use your

pregnancy to get that bum in shape. The secret lies in the alignment... and getting all the

parts to do their job well...


If you observe a change in your body and your care provider labels it as “normal” – be

suspicious… yes being pregnant does come with uncomfortable realities, but there is

always something you can do to relieve the discomfort if you explore the source of the

pain/ailment with a bit more curiosity. There are so many bodywork disciplines that you

can consult to help you find the root of your discomfort. Now is also the ideal time to dive

into better nutrition and healthier lifestyle choices. It helps to remember that pregnancy is

the great “revealer” – it’s the one time in your life when the different compensation

patterns you have adapted to show up with meaning. Don’t miss the opportunity that

pregnancy brings to find a new and healthier normal for you and your family.


Educate yourself about your body’s design and the mechanics of birthing


Are you one of the mothers who's been told that your pelvis is too small to birth your

baby? Or that the shape of your pelvis is problematic...?

If you understand how the body works, you will be able to see right through it...

Here are three things you can be sure of:

1) the pelvis is not a fixed structure. It has been designed to move and make space for

baby to find its way through.

2) The positioning of the baby during the last weeks of pregnancy and ultimately during

labour greatly determines how baby progresses into and through the pelvis.

3) Any form of intervention affects your labour and birth - it can be the reason why your

baby found it more difficult to move through the pelvis.


CPD (cephalopelvic disproportion), the phenomenon where baby’s head cannot fit

through the pelvis, happens much more rarely than it is diagnosed. In other words, most

babies can fit through their mothers’ pelvis – IF labour and birthing have the space to

unfold naturally.


This is only one of the many theories you might encounter in a conversation with your

care provider. If you have more knowledge, you can discern better about what is actually

true and relevant for you.


Based on these five guideposts and an approach called the BodyReadyMethod, we

guide women through pregnancy to prepare their bodies, minds and support teams

towards the optimal birth experience. It is possible and it is necessary because you and

your baby are worth the effort!


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