There are a few things you can do to ensure that you are in prime health when you’re expecting, so that you give yourself the best chance at a natural delivery.
Nature intended for women to deliver their babies in the most painful way possible – but having a normal delivery is a rite of passage for both mother and child. As excruciating as the process is, a natural birth is a test of a mother’s love – and her overall fitness – as both she and her child battle to get through the birth and meet each other at last.
However, doctors insist on a medical intervention if the mother’s blood pressure spikes during labour, or if there is foetal distress or if the mother is not strong enough to push the baby out of her body. At times, doctors give the mother an epidural to ease the pain of the labour and to relax her.
It all boils down to how fit the mother is to proceed with childbirth the natural way. If you are one of those women who wish to have a normal delivery for your child, you must do the following:
* Exercise daily. The prime reason for most women being unfit to carry their babies to term or even push during labour is that their bodies are not in prime health. They may be overweight or underweight, their blood glucose levels and blood pressure may be off kilter, they may suffer from excruciating pain in their joints and muscles, and so on. Avoid a situation where your doctor is forced to carry out a C-section owing to your ill health – exercise daily with the doctor’s guidance, do yoga to strengthen your back, pelvis and abdomen, and keep yourself limber for the possibility of several hours of labour. You can also enrol for pre-natal exercise classes to learn squats and strength training to get fitter during your pregnancy.
* Eat well. Your diet plays a major role in the health and development of your baby. Your dietary habits and indeed, your entire lifestyle, will need a complete overhaul if you want to ensure good health for yourself and your baby. Do away with smoking, drinking and substance abuse, and eat as much fresh fruit and vegetable as you can. Though you will feel the urge to urinate often, make sure you sip on water, green tea and other fluids throughout the day. Limit your use of sugar, salt and oil in your food and have small meals every two hours to keep yourself satisfied. Do not try detoxes or junk food during this time.
* Rest enough. Resting well is key to a happy pregnancy and a fit body. As your pregnancy progresses, you might get increasingly uncomfortable and unable to sleep at night. Lack of sleep can make you restless and stressful, which can affect your health and appetite. Meditate every day, go for a walk, drink a glass of warm milk before bed and read a relaxing book just before sleeping. Adequate rest will strengthen your body and relax your baby, too.
* Give yourself a perineal massage. Not many women are aware of this, but massaging the perineum daily once the eighth month begins can actually prepare the birth canal for normal delivery. It stretches out the outer vagina the same way that the baby’s head does during birth. A perineal massage can also reduce the chances of tears during delivery – tears must be sutured after delivery and are quite painful. Besides, the massage relaxes the vaginal area and prepares it for delivery as the days progress.