5) How Can Prenatal Training Help Shorten The Pushing Phase of Labor? |
Strategic physical preparation by strengthening two keys muscle groups, the transverse abdominus of the abdominals and the pelvic floor muscles, can help shorten pushing time.
First, the transverse abdominus is used in labor and is directly responsible for pushing the baby out. It is the deepest layer of the abdominals and surrounds the waist like an internal corset. The stronger this muscle is, the greater the advantage in pushing.
Second, the muscles of the pelvic floor are aggressively conditioned. In labor, the goal is for these muscles to relax and open up. Surprisingly, the stronger a muscle is, the greater it can relax and lengthen. By strengthening these muscles, we enable them to relax and lengthen as the woman pushes.
Thus, by strengthening the transverse abdominus which pushes the baby out and conditioning the muscles of the pelvic floor so that they will be able to relax and lengthen while pushing, we can create the most conducive condition during labor to deliver the baby as quickly as possible.
Additionally, visualizations taught prenatally can help mothers tap into this concept of strength and relaxation to aid in pushing when the time finally comes. Mothers report greater feelings of confidence, a stronger sense of knowing what to do, and increased body awareness, all of which translate into quick and efficient pushing.
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