CHIRO FOR MOMS Labor Prep Guide! We share our favorite biomechanical techniques that help mama’s prepare their body for labor. Typically there isn't ONE thing that moves your body into labor, rather it's a combination of MANY. Read on to learn ALL THE WAYS you can help your body progress into labor + delivery naturally.
Top 6 Tips to Prepare Your Body For Labor
There isn't one magic exercise or technique that will make your labor go 'perfectly'...whatever your 'perfect labor' might look like. However, there are some tips that can be helpful in getting your body ready. Some of these body prep techniques take place throughout pregnancy, while others can be saved for the tail end of your pregnancy journey!
The Webster Technique during Pregnancy
The Webster Technique is a pregnancy specific chiropractic technique. This technique is used to optimize the natural physiology of the woman's pelvis during the end stages of pregnancy. It's a great way to prep for labor! The Webster technique focuses on:
- your sacrum (tailbone)
- surrounding ligaments (round ligament + sacrotuberous ligament)
- hip flexors (Iliopsoas)
- pelvis (low back)
- pubic symphysis (crotch bone).
The technique involves muscle and ligament work in conjunction with pregnancy specific chiropractic adjustments. This does a few things to prep for labor and delivery. It assists with pelvic opening and alignment, since muscles and ligaments are able to relax as they should. This reduces any uterine tension and allows baby to get into optimal birthing position— because they have room to do so! Addressing any spinal misalignments helps nervous system function, so the mind and body can better communicate. Keep in mind that this is a technique prepares the body for labor. That's why we recommend care throughout pregnancy, regardless of pain symptoms.
Muscle Activation and Stretching to Prep Your Body for Labor
Strengthening & lengthening the muscles surrounding the pelvis can make all the difference when it comes to labor! We recommend practicing strength and stretching exercises that target key muscles throughout your pregnancy, especially during the third trimester. The video below is from our Pregnancy Pain Program and focuses on labor and delivery prep!
Exercise Ball Techniques for Labor Prep
Pelvic mobility is ALWAYS important… but especially during pregnancy. In the clinic we use manual adjustments to help gap joints and increase mobility in the pelvis. Using an exercise ball at home is also a key tool for optimal pelvic mobility! Use the ball to create mobility by tilting your pelvis forwards & backwards, rocking side to side, and practicing figure 8’s. This will make for a more adaptable pelvis during labor. You can find some of these tips in the video above!
During labor, you can also use the ball! Many women find it more comfortable than a chair, since there is less pressure on the tailbone. If you aren’t laying down for your birth, you can use it up until delivery for both mothers comfort, pelvic mobility/balance, and better baby positioning [gravity helps!]
Work the Adductors to Prep for Labor
The thigh adductors are the inner thigh muscles that are responsible for pulling your thighs together. They begin at the pelvic rim, which is close to your crotch and insert to the middle part of the thigh, knee, and lower leg. Pelvic floor tension and adductor tension go hand in hand! The adductors help the pelvic floor muscles when they are weak…taking some of the tension and load off. This is helps explain why adductor tightens and tenderness is so common during pregnancy, and why it relates to many pain conditions that occur [like SPD].
Massaging [stripping] the adductors involves applying pressure in the direction of the muscle fibers. Stimulating the adductors influences the pelvic floor and releases any unilateral tension. It also restores normal muscle length and promotes local circulation. Strengthening these muscles can also have benefits to overall pelvic floor function. We recommend both massaging and strengthening for labor prep! Some exercise example are demo'ed in the video above.
Partner Techniques to Prep Your Body For Labor
Grab a partner!! Recruit help to prep your body for labor. There are some hands on techniques that are simple enough for almost any one to do. Similar to the solo mobility work, these partner techniques focus on relieving pain, optimal baby positioning, and prepping the body for labor.
Side Lying Release Technique
Side Lying Release is an incredible technique that we use ALL THE TIME for labor prep & breech baby presentations. Essentially, we are gapping the back of the pelvis [the sacroiliac joints] by compressing downward in a side lying position. The downward pressure flares the wings of the pelvis and opens the sacral area. By creating space, we can baby move down and open the birth canal, making it a great first step for labor prep! Make sure to do both sides & have mama breathe through the stretch. See this demonstrated in the video at the end of this post!
Belly Sifting to Prep for Labor
Belly sifting, also known as Rebozo sifting [from Spinning Babies] is traditionally a Mexican birthing technique. It is commonly used by doulas and midwives today for labor prep and breech baby presentations. This technique is effective in relaxing the uterine ligaments and abdominal muscles, so it can help get baby properly positioned for birth. Bonus… it also provides pain relief for mama by taking pressure off the low back! Its one of our favorite ways to prepare the body for labor!
If you want more, contact your doula or midwife!
*** IMPORTANT NOTE: belly sifting is not a safe option for women with anterior placentas [placenta is in the front]. If this is you, try glute sifting!
Sacral rocking is another hands-on technique to prepare for labor. Similar to side-lying compression, the goal of this is maneuver is to open up the pelvis and the birth canal for baby. Using a broad hand contact, place one hand on the front of mama, right above the crotch bone and the other hand on mamas back side, right above the tailbone, Visualize this as a rocking motion, as you lift with your front hand and push with the back hand. Mama can either be sitting backwards on the toilet or a chair, or in a standing position facing the wall.
Medical Disclaimer: All information, content, and material of this website is for informational purposes only and are not intended to serve as a substitute for the consultation, diagnosis, and/or medical treatment of a qualified physician or healthcare provider.
Labor Prep with a Partner Video:
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