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Learn to Relax Muscles for Labor & Delivery

When you are doing pelvic floor exercises, you need to learn how to relax the ab muscles while engaging the pelvic floor, or the PC. And conversely, when doing abdominal exercises, you must learn how to relax the pelvic muscles and work your transverse. It is a little like patting your head and rubbing your belly at the same time—women start out wanting to engage them both at once. But with time and practice, controlling your muscles individually is much easier and more intuitive.

 Some healthcare professionals claim that strengthening your PC muscles during pregnancy will make a woman too tight to deliver easily, but that is not the case. A muscle can be strong and be able to contract effectively without losing its ability to relax completely. For instance, think about strengthening your arm muscles: even if your toned biceps are the envy of the gym, you can still make your arms go limp, right?

Preparing Muscles for Labor

To prepare the pelvic floor muscles for labor you must,

  1. Strengthen
  2. Stretch, and
  3. Learn how to relax them.

Katie Bowman, a physiotherapist with a background in engineering, states, “Tension does not equal strength.” In other words, what makes a muscle strong is its ability not only to contract but to also stretch and lengthen. Without these opposing forces, you are left with short, tight, dysfunctional musculature.

Whether you strengthen the pelvic floor muscles or not, when the baby’s head is crowning, it is a natural impulse to tighten those muscles unless you know how to relax them. That is a skill you must practice doing! Tightening the pelvic floor muscles make it harder for, the baby to come. Out. The cue to relaxing the pelvic floor muscles is “open like a flower.”

Try to become aware of the feeling of releasing before they urinate.

Muscles which have a good blood supply Stretch Better.

Strengthening Muscles Brings Blood Flow to the area, and muscles that have a good blood supply stretch better.

A toned muscle with memory will stretch back behind a baby’s head with much greater ease, like a turtleneck sweater. An untoned muscle may get pulled along with the baby’s head, possibly incurring some damage along the way. Therefore, training your PC muscles in Advance is particularly good for delivery.

If you cannot feel anything and your body does not know how to control those muscles reflexively’ it is going to be a much harder process to get the baby out vaginally.

Adapted from: Together Tummy by Julie Tupler, R.N.

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