Birth and Your Perineum
Tearing during a vaginal birth is a fear many mothers have. As a mother myself who had two large babies over ten pounds each at birth – this is certainly something that has crossed my mind too! Whether you actually tear or not, all moms experience swelling and trauma to the perineum as the baby pushes against your pelvic floor in birth. The good news is that there are things we can do to prepare your pelvic floor.
The Dance of Birth Between Mom and Baby
You may not be thinking too much about it now while still pregnant, but think of it this way: every ounce of preventative care you put into to strengthening your pelvic floor is worth a pound of cure. Meaning – even little efforts go a long way! The care you put in now will dramatically help reduce the trauma that birth will put on your pelvic area.
During labor, movement is critical. It helps the mom to dance in tune with her baby coming down the birth canal. It helps to ease the baby out without tearing and even fewer tears. Mom and baby become in sync and strengthening the pelvic floor is a tremendous help so the mom can choreograph this beautiful dance she will do with her baby while in labor!
Ideal Position for Birth
We all know that breech is not ideal at all and the majority will end up with a C-Section if their baby is breech. However, there are other positions that are not so great either. Does the baby’s position while head down really matter though?
An occiput posterior or otherwise known as “sunny side up” when the baby is facing away from the spine – can cause many more complications such as back labor or cause prodromal labor in the weeks leading up to birth. Hands and knees is the best position if the baby is in this position during labor.
The ideal position is called occiput anterior or with baby head down and facing spine. This position encourages your baby to tuck his or her chin to his chest, so the smallest part of his head pushes on the cervix for a quicker exit.
Affirmation of the Week: – I see my baby in the perfect position for birthing. I am in complete control of my body and mind.
Pelvic Floor Strengtheners and Positioning
There are ways that you can get your baby to settle into a good position and strengthen your pelvic floor, hips, and thighs for labor.
To encourage proper alignment, make sure to not recline too much in the third trimester (which is all a pregnant mom wants to do – sit back and snooze!). This compresses the pelvis whereas leaning forward helps the baby to rest his or her back against your spine. Leaning forward keeps you from getting dizzy from laying too much on your back too!
Grab a birthing ball (large exercise ball) and while watching T.V. at night – spend ten minutes bouncing, rocking side to side and tilting your pelvis forward.
Next, to keep things loose – exercise!
Even just simple walking 20 to 30 minutes a day will keep things warm and loosened up rather than tight. After walking, sit on the floor in “butterfly” pose with knees open. This helps to open up your pelvis and keeps your lower back flexible. Pulse your legs up and down as you sit in this pose and stretch by gently leaning forward. Follow with getting on all fours, in the “cat and cow” pose and tuck your chin and hold – then release and look up.
If exercise feels good – you can always add more a few days a week with lunges and squats to strengthen your thighs and legs. This area is heavily needed in birth!
Doing these things will help to ensure a more positive experience during labor.
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Lindsay is an author, motivational speaker, birth psychology and maternity health specialist & natural mommy blogger for Our Green House.