38 Weeks Pregnant – Walking to Induce Labor

As you will already know – I’ve stayed REALLY active during my pregnancy. I’ve tried to go to the gym five to six times a week mixing resistance, stretching and cardio work. It’s definitely kept the weight gain under control and made me feel good inside and out. It really worries me seeing some pregnant women hardly able to walk with aches and pains all over their body. I know everyone is different and I am very lucky to not of suffered from any of this but I do think my exercise has helped this. Lots of people have questioned me in the gym saying ‘Are you sure you should be here?’ Of course I should. I know my limits and would never put myself or my baby in any danger. I think it would probably be more dangerous for me to stop training to be honest. I’ve been training for so long and my body physically and mentally relishes on it.

That said, since turning nine months pregnant, I know alternate my gym sessions with an hour walk – gym one day, walk the other. I can’t tell you how much I miss running so getting outdoors for a walk feels so good! I just stick my iPod on and go.

So what are the benefits of walking in late pregnancy?
Well apparently walking is a wonderful and natural way to induce labor at the end of pregnancy, infact the swaying motion of your hips may ease your baby’s head into your pelvis, giving you a leg up on labor.

Walking also utilises gravity to help  pull the baby down, which places gentle pressure on the cervix and encourages it to dilate. The rocking motion will also move the baby into the correct position for birth while helping to strengthen any contractions you may be having – and help them to become more regular.

Walking up and down the stairs can also be a great way to get some extra walking in, especially if you are worried about leaving the house. The action of lifting your lefts as you climb up can help the baby descent into the correct position for birth and put gentle pressure on the cervix in order to start the dilating process. Try walking on uneven surfaces, such as placing one foot on the curb and one foot on the street to. This can help rock the baby lower and encourage the cervix to dilate. Just be careful you don’t trip so hang on to your partner’s arm for safety,especially if you’ve noticed your balance has deteriorated since being pregnant. 

So make sure you keep active. I’m due for a walk tomorrow – it’s a 5km loop that takes me about an hour. Who’s with me? Just make sure you take your phone, some water, wear a sports bra and listen to your body. This isn’t the time to be breaking any records.

Have fun out there!

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Pregnancy Countdown – 34 days to go. The Low Down on Birthing Balls

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Ok so I’m now officially over 35 weeks pregnant – and coming up to being nine months pregnant – who would have thought time would fly so quickly?

This week is all over getting the most out of my birthing ball – something you may have heard a lot about in your NCT classes or from your midwife. I sit on it as much as I possibly can!

A birthing ball is essentially a gym ball/swiss ball. I find it comfortable to sit on especially if I am working or watching the TV in the evening – as its uncomfortable to sit of hard chairs at the moment and I find it effort having to get up from my low sofa.

It also
* helps me to keep my posture in the right position,
* will help my baby get in the right position for birth and
* helps me to build strength and flexibility in my spine and thigh muscles.

When you sit on the ball you’ll also find that the legs naturally drop to the sides, so therefore open in the pelvis to its widest diameter and adds optimal foetal positioning in preparation for labor.

You can take it to the hospital to help with labor too! My mid-wife defiantely advised me to take it as sitting on the ball encourages a natural swaying motion of the pelvis, which helps the baby descend into the birth canal.

I also like it because the sitting position assumed on the ball, is very similar to the squat – which opens the pelvis and helps the birthing process.
The ball also supports your entire weight making it easier to breath and take pressure of the back.

I will most ceratinly be taking mine with me! One piece of advise though – just make sure it fits in your car before you make the trip to the hospital – that could be pretty embarrassing! I know one lady who had to get a cab to the hospital but leave her ball by the side of the road because there wasn’t enough room for it!

Need a birthing ball? Here are my top three gym balls.

Physical Company – Physical Stability Ball
Pretty in pink – this ball is manufactured from flexton®, a burst resistant material that has undergone static compression testing. 
£14.99; www.physicalcompany.co.uk
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Reebok TWO TONE GYMBALL

The mid-wife won’t miss you in this! It’s suitable for users between 170cm and 185cm (5′ 7″ – 6′ 1″) in height and comes with a DVD for once the baby is born and you want to work on getting your pre-baby body back! 
£29.99; www.idealworld.tv

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Technogym Wellness Ball
O
k, not the cheapest option I know, BUT it is made with special materials that favor perfect stability, traction and cushion during exercises. It also comes with its own bag, Pump and gauge for inflation, so if you can’t fit it in the car already inflated, you can do it at the hospital. 
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