Tailor Sitting and/or Kegel
Tailor sitting is a great position in which to practice the "secret" exercise - the contraction of the pelvic floor.
A great position for labor and birth.
Pelvic Rock - Start
Relieves lower back pressure, among other benefits.
Pelvic Rock - Engaged
This feels so good at the end of a long day!
Coaches can help by adding resistance only as mom stretches her legs open.
Usually practiced on the left side to reduce pressure on the vena cava. Moms need to be comfortable in this position so that they can practice relaxation and use it for labor.
A safe way for mom to build up her stamina while being careful of her balance.
Pre-natal yoga practice is a great option for both stamina and strength.
One the reasons I believe in The Bradley Method® is that it
a holistic approach to pregnancy and labor, recognizing that two people were
involved in wanting and/or making this new life, and together, two people
prepare to welcome this new life into the world. To truly educate
pregnant couples desirous of a natural birth you must teach beyond the basics
of pregnancy and labor education and I think The Bradley Method® does
I had to come up with a way to remember what the aspects of
our series were about when I was a new teacher, so I came up with a way to
remember by using my hand. The
palm of the hand is Relaxation – the key to the Bradley Method. Then there are five fingers – Exercise,
Nutrition, Communication, Consumerism and Education.
By focusing on relaxation every day, the couple is setting
themselves up for success during labor – they will have a full toolbox of
techniques encompassing physical, mental and emotional relaxation to navigate
their labor. The rest of the
components also count – by practicing them, a healthy foundation is built that
lets a couple fully relax and enjoy their labor as they work to welcome their
child into this world.
The one thing we don’t know when our students walk through
the door is how long or what kind of labor they are going to have. What any of us childbirth educators
wouldn’t pay for a light-up sign that we could hang over our door that would
display that information when a mom walked under it for the first time:
“Eight hours – easy”
“Five hours – sprint”
“Three hours – mental”
“48 hours – emotional”
That would certainly help us tailor our classes just for
Since that little light-up device doesn’t exist, we must do
our best to prepare all our students to build strong healthy mommas and
babies. The mom-coach team needs
to be prepared as well. If mom and
baby are strong, and the coach is well prepared, they will be able to manage
the variations in labor using their strength and their ability to relax.
Today I am going to write about the Exercise component of our classes. It’s actually one of the reasons The
Bradley Method® class series are designed to be a full twelve-week series. An athlete would not participate in a
competitive event with less than three months of training. The Bradley Method® teaches that since
birth is an athletic event, a mom needs the same kind of preparation for their
event: three months – one trimester – to prepare for the ultimate athletic
event in my book: birth.
Why is being physically ready so important? As I mentioned above, a mom doesn’t
know until it is over how long her event is going to last. The accepted “average length” of labor
for a first-time mom is 12-14 hours, measuring from the early active phase to
the birth of the child. This is
not always the case, nor does it take into account pre-labor, the time when the
body is having contractions that don’t stop with a change of activity, but they
continue without establishing a regular pattern.
In the event that a first time mom has a sprint for her
first labor – as in 3-5 hours of active labor – she needs to be ready for a
full-out sprint. It sounds like welcoming your baby within a few hours would be a dream;
however most moms who have had this kind of labor will say it is a lot of hard
In this type of labor, the contractions could start to
establish a pattern as close together as 5-8 minutes apart within half an hour
of realizing that mom is in labor. From that point, there is no “break” for mom to rest physically or
emotionally. The contractions get
closer quickly, and there is less rest between contractions. In order for the body to accomplish
this, strong regular contractions are part of the deal. This mom won’t have time to ease into
her labor – she is literally thrown into it and the words “brace yourself” come
A strong physical body is an advantage to this type of
birth. The muscles needed for
birth will be conditioned for the work they are gong to do. They will be okay being pushed to
exhaustion like a sprinter needs to do: a burst of speed to finish without injury and then the ability to
Some of us have marathons – long, winding affairs that can
last more than 14 hours, and sometimes they last a few days. Again, this requires a body that has
the stamina and the strength to endure the labor.
The stamina will help mom see her baby through to the finish
line. Her body needs to be able to
work for an extended period of time without giving into exhaustion. She also needs the strength to get into
the physical positions like various squat positions, all fours, dangling –
whatever she needs to do to help baby get into the right position, work with
gravity, and be able to comfortably stay in a position as long as needed. All these things can only be done well over
an extended period of time if the mom is already in good shape.
The day you go into labor is not the day to realize, “Oh,
wow – I guess I should have been exercising!” This preparation starts at least three months in
advance. Most Bradley Method®
students begin to take classes between weeks 20-26 of their pregnancy.
The goal is to give moms at least twelve good weeks of
preparation and motivation to follow through on their daily exercise plan. The
good news is that it does build up incrementally. Whether this is the first time a mom has done regular
exercise or an addition to her regular exercise plan, for at least twelve weeks
before baby is born, the muscles needed for childbirth are strengthened and
toned for the very specific job they are going to do.
I personally noticed a great difference between our first
pregnancy when I barely exercised at all because everything I did seemed to
cause spotting, and our third pregnancy when I exercised everyday. I felt stronger for our 46-hour marathon
than I did for our 24-hour puttering-around birth.
By then, I had learned to rest early in labor so that I
could conserve energy for the pushing phase, and I had also been able to
strengthen all the muscles I needed to help Bryan along when labor finally got
to the last stages.
Realistically, we all know that the course of labor takes
deviations, and sometimes these deviations land the parents in the operating
How will exercise and a
prepared body going to benefit these moms?
Why exercise "if you might” have a cesarean section?
Exercise serves these moms because it will help them
withstand the physical traumas that a body suffers when it is cut open. Have you heard that a person can’t have
an operation unless they pass certain criteria and their doctor signs off on
their physical condition? When most moms end up in the operating room, they are
their for complications or life-saving measures for her and/or her baby, so their isn’t time to
evaluate “if” they can withstand the operation. They “must” withstand the operation for them to have a good
A Bradley Method® mom who has been exercising will have a
strong heart, good circulation, and muscles that are toned and will recover
more quickly from an operation than a mom who has had little or no
preparation. As a matter of fact,
one of our c-section moms was back to her pre-pregnancy size by the time she
went to the doctor for her six-week follow-up exam. She had been athletic before she got pregnant, continued on
with regular exercise and added the pregnancy exercises after she started our
classes, and despite her very difficult recovery, she had gotten back into a
routine after baby their baby was born. Exercise!
Although we can’t force our students to do anything, we can
hope and pray that the narratives we share in class will encourage them and
motivate them to exercise every day. It’s a great chance to spend precious time together that they will
treasure after they have welcomed their baby. The team will have a sense of accomplishment they can share
when they have a birth experience that was enhanced by an athlete performing at
the peak of “her game” – their baby’s birthday.
material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical
advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to
determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation. This blog contains information about our classes available in
Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy
of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.