To Push or Not To Push… That is the question!

Rosemary (9 of 22)

What do you think of this article? No more pelvic floor muscles exercises during pregnancy
I love love love Pregnancy Exercise, think Lorriane does an AWESOME job of facilitating great fitness in both pregnancy and postnatally. And totally agree with the idea of relaxing the pelvic floor. But here's the key point of my story... Do you think women need strong Abs for birthing their babies? "The exercises I prescribe and teach during personal training, pregnancy group exercise sessions and on-line pregnancy programs include the exercises that strengthen the abdominal and PFM, strong abdominal muscles are vital for pushing your baby out." "We all want strong PFM but as exercising females we need to be educated in how to push our babies out by relaxing our PFM and using our Upper Abdominal muscles. Think you are a tube of toothpaste pushing and squeezing down from your upper abdominals relaxing at your pelvic floor muscles."

If you were giving birth in the situation and posture that Lorriane was in her story, then yes, I agree that you would need strong Abs. But I believe birth is actually an autonomic function, not unlike breathing! When women are able to give birth in an environment where they feel safe and secure, are upright/forward leaning, and have babies who are in an anterior position, most women will be able to breath their babies out and not need to engage their abdominal muscles in "pushing". This also protects the pelvic floor musculature by lifting it out of the way. That is why our precious great grandmothers and grandmothers were still able to give birth during the horrid 'twilight sleep' era, despite being completely out of their minds.

Jean Sutton (creator of Optimal Foetal Positioning) describes it perfectly with this picture:

If a mother is in a reclining position giving birth, such as semi reclining in bed with her legs up, then when baby is being birthed he/she not only as to go uphill against gravity, and navigate his/her way past a curled up coccyx, he/she meets a half closed door -the pelvic floor! If a women is upright and forward leaning, her coccyx is lifted back by her sacrum, baby is able to utilise gravity to be born, and hello -the door called the pelvic floor is wide open, as it has been lifted out of the way. Welcome baby!

Beautiful picture thanks to Bloom Birth Photography

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