Not only is the duration of pregnancy tough on a woman’s body, so is the delivery. One way to make your pregnancy and labor easier on you is to start training and strengthening your body prior to your due date. The lower body plays a large part in giving birth so targeting this area with the right exercise can not only keep you in shape but make delivery much easier and less uncomfortable. What expectant mother wouldn’t want that?

Building strong pelvic muscles will play a large role in having an easy birth. From your fourth month of pregnancy till your due date, you can practice Kegel exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. The Kegal muscle is the one you use to stop your flow during urination and is the same muscle used to push the baby out. This is one of the easiest exercises to do anywhere, anytime. It can be slightly embarrassing at first but once you get used to it – and the fact that no one else can tell when you are doing it – you’ll be fine.

Simply clench your Kegel muscle and hold it for a count of 10. Repeat this 10 times a day and your body will be more than ready to push your baby out during delivery. As a result of your Kegel muscle being in shape, you will also tone a muscle called the pubococcygeus, also known as the PC muscle. The PC muscle aids in pushing and can effectively reduce delivery time, as well as give you the ability to control your bladder.

For more structured exercise, just 30 minutes of exercise three times a week throughout your pregnancy can aid in easing your labor. Try stretching exercises that involve sitting on the floor with your legs flexed. Yoga also comes in handy for flexibility and is a low impact type of exercise you can safely do at the gym or in the privacy of your own home. To strengthen your abdominal wall, do leg raises and abdominal crunches.

As simple as it is, walking also does its part. Brisk walking helps build endurance and exercises your body overall. To get out of the house, join a local gym and participate in aerobics classes for pregnant women. Swimming is one exercise that can be done anytime throughout your pregnancy up until it’s time to deliver. Swimming works several different muscle groups at once in a way that is safe for both you and your baby.

One of the most tried and true forms of exercise to help your body prepare for giving birth is the squat. This exercise effectively strengthens your thighs and helps your pelvis open wider. As easy way to do squats at home is to stand facing the back of a chair, while keeping your feet slightly more than hip-width apart and toes pointed outwards. While holding onto the chair for support, contract your abdominal muscles, lift your chest and relax your shoulders. Now lower your butt towards the floor as you would do if you were about to sit down on a chair. Keep the majority of your weight toward your heels. Make sure your bottom does not touch the ground. Take in a deep breath and then exhale, while pushing your body upwards using your legs until you are back in standing position.

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