The best thing that I did to prepare myself for labor was to be active during my pregnancy. Labor is HARD work. Nothing compares to it. You literally have to use everything within yourself during labor. With that being said, I wholeheartedly believe that I would not have been able to do it in the shape that I was in prior to getting pregnant. Here’s how it happened:
I would compare my activeness at this time as almost nonexistent. I was the type to workout for special occasions only. I categorize special occasions as: birthday, vacations, summer time… pretty much any time where I may have to wear a swimsuit or show a lot of skin. During those times I would attempt to make a goal of losing “x” amount of pounds in “x” amount of time by going to the gym “x” amount of times... Tina’s XXX Workout Plan. My workout plan consisted of ten minutes stretching, thirty minutes on the elliptical, thirty minutes of weight training, and a five-minute cool down. I would do this maybe about 2-5 times a week for maybe a month or so. I had great short term results, but nothing that really lasted. However, my summer 2015 body was lit!
Fast forward… summer is over and the school year has started. I began teaching at a school that is located within the neighborhood that I lived in. My job was literally a five-minute drive or twenty-minute walk away from my apartment. I started walking to work in mid-September. At this point, I did not know that I was pregnant yet although I was already about five or six weeks pregnant. In the beginning, it took me closer to thirty minutes than the Apple Maps estimate of twenty minutes to walk to work. I’m not sure if you have ever been to Washington, DC, but the hills were no joke! During the first couple of weeks I found myself wheezy and out of breath, sore, exhausted, and nauseous.
I didn’t let that stop me though. I kept walking…1.5 miles there and 1.5 miles back. I walked usually 4/5 days during the week. The more I walked, the less I felt wheezy, out of breath, sore, and exhausted. However, I did continue to still feel nauseous but it turned out to be a pregnancy symptom. You can read about how I relieved my symptoms here.
I walked throughout my pregnancy up until I went on maternity leave which was at 37 weeks. Not only was I in the best shape of my adult life (off of walking alone), but I looked damn good throughout my pregnancy as well!
Let’s fast-forward. It’s 2:45 AM ish on Tuesday, April 26, 2016. I’m 39 weeks pregnant, but the contractions start and BAM I’m in labor. It wasn't that bad until about 5 AM. I had to wake up Baby A's dad because at that point I started to feel like I was dying. No exaggeration. My back felt HORRIBLE. I could barely move without feeling a contraction. I can go on and on about my birth story, but instead you can read about it on a later post.
The point that I am making is this: I wholeheartedly believe that I would not have been able to labor naturally without being active during my labor. Labor requires so much of you and you should spend your 40 weeks preparing for it. I recommend any type of activity that gets you moving. In addition to walking, I also did a few yoga classes. All was equally beneficial for labor. How are you preparing your body for labor?