Walking isn't a very exciting subject. I have two sisters who run full marathons. I have an active family; two sons who play basketball, surf, snowboard, etc. Now that's exciting!
Me? I walk.
But today's post is not about me. You guessed it, this is about pregnancy. I would like to encourage you pregnant mommies to walk. Not go to the gym. Not go to yoga. Just walk. Let's look at the benefits of walking.
1. You don't have to get in a car. The postures one uses sitting in a car and driving a car are not conducive to optimal fetal positioning.
2. It's free - No gym memberships, no babysitters needed, no special clothing to purchase!
3. It's safe - unless you are walking to your bungee jump location.
4. Fun for everyone - You can take your young children, elderly parents, friends (even your partner!)
There are countless wonderful things about walking. Honestly for being such a wonderful city, for having such wonderful weather, San Diegans don't walk as much as New Yorkers and others. Europeans walk much more (flights of stairs even). I am guilty, although not pregnant I am guilty of falling out of my walking routine too easily. But when I was pregnant I walked. I regularly walked up the Rocky Mountains, Mt. Yale to be exact, in Colorado! That labor was 3 hours long. Hmm. I know from where I speak.
Today I see many babies start labor in a presentation that does not make it easy on Mommy. Or I see babies whose labor does not start before 42 weeks. I also see babies who's labors are long, on again off again, type labors. In many of these cases I believe that our life style is the culprit. Please read Breech Babies: Is There Anything You Can Do? even if you are not carrying a breech baby (only 3-4% of babies will be born breech), you should read this. Especially page two, #3, where we learn that "Sitting results in tight psoas muscles, which in turn prevent the pelvis
and uterus from maintaining biomechanical neutral. Reducing sitting
time is crucial during that last trimester...." and "Really active women who get their exercise every day still tend to sit
quite a bit. So we want to make sure that even active ladies reduce
their sitting time. The only way to reduce your sitting time is walking. There are other suggestions like if you work in an office put in a standing work station.
Optimal Foetal Positioning
If I am your doula you know about OFP. I give a quick course on how to encourage your baby in utero (in the womb) to position in a LOA (left occiput anterior) position. I recently had a client with a baby who was persistent LOP (left occiput posterior), causing mom a very painful labor and ultimately a cesarean section. There is a reason baby's choose the position they do. Even beyond doing lots of position changes and spinning babies moves, there are other muscles and ligaments that may play into a baby's position, even when pelvis is aligned and "generous" (doctor talk). That 'other' thing is called our psoas (pronounced so-as).
What? Wow just when I thought I knew something about something psoas gets thrown at me. Until recently I had never heard of my psoas muscles. I am grateful to my ever expanding family of professional birth workers who keep me on my toes. As it turns out, the information I found out about psoas is good for life, men, women, young and old! The Psoas is a large pair of muscles from the spine between the pelvis and the
ribs that wrap like cradling wings around to the front of the pelvis and
drop down to attach at the lower end to the top of the thigh bone. They
help us walk upright, support our abdominal organs. Here's a picture (below)
There is more about how to release any tension stored in the psoas on Gail Tully's website, http://www.spinningbabies.com/techniques/activities-for-fetal-positioning/psoas-muscle-release (LOVE YOU GAIL!!). Gail shares a video by Liz Koch. This video is waaaay out there even for me! But read the last paragraph at the end of this page and see if this catches your attention. It's time to become familiar with our psoas!
"The Psoas holds the key for accessing instinctual wisdom so essential for a resilient natural birth process." -Liz Koch
Another way to help ourselves during pregnancy is going to Craniosacral Therapy. If you are not familiar with Craniosacral Therapy read Carol Gray's work, http://www.carolgray.com/carolgray/Craniosacral_Therapy.html
Chiropractors are great too, especially ones that are Webster Certified.
For Craniosacral Therapist and Webster Certified Chiropractors in San Diego please refer to my friend Carol Yeh-Garner's resource list. She is listed in my resources here on my blog. Her website is called A Well Lived Life! How cool is that?!
Happy Birthing, Rosie