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Childbirth and fitness

(18 Posts)
StyleManual Tue 16-Apr-13 11:42:29

Do you think how fit you are is refelcted in your labour/birth? The last 2 people I know to have babies have been super fit, and both have had very short labours with no intervention or drugs and both had water births. Do you think being very fit has something to do with that or is it just coincidence?
I am panicking now about whether I should take up an exercise regime before I have DC2, as my standards have slipped since having DD!

gaggiagirl Tue 16-Apr-13 14:11:42

my midwife suggested I keep as fit as possible as it makes for an easier labour and birth but she told me to focus on pelvic floor excercises and increasing my core strength. I tried as best as I could and did have a short labour and DD was out in no time but I did have some gas and air. I still think it was just luck and everyone will be different.

MyNameIsAnAnagram Tue 16-Apr-13 15:27:23

I found it helped me mentally as I was used to physical effort, and I think it probably helped recovery, bit it certainly didn't stop interventions as ds was stuck so needed a ventouse.

StyleManual Tue 16-Apr-13 15:42:43

It's down to luck isn't it. You can't help it if your baby is positioned badly or your pelvis is a funny shape or something. I had useless pushing contractions that didn't want to budge baby for ages. I don't think any kind of training could have helped me with that. In fact I don't remember feeling tired, just like my body wasn't really ready to push.

(I shall try and stop feeling inadequate for not having a quick and easy water birth.)

ISpyPlumPie Tue 16-Apr-13 15:58:26

Although I'm not overweight, I'm really not that fit (would literally struggle to run for the bus and there are absolutely no mobility/health issues to blame for this) and rarely exercise. I did do some aquanatal and occassionally used the Davina workout DVD with DS2 but that's about it. Labours as follows:-

DS1 - straightforward vb, labour 8 hours from first twinge to delivery, 4 hours 'active', gas and air, 9lb 2oz baby.

DS2 - straightforward vb, labour 3 hours 25 mins in total,3 push second stage, no drugs, 7lb 10oz baby.

I realise I am very, very lucky and am in no way advocating my 'relaxed' approach to exercise -it's something I'm determined to work on as I know it'll get me eventually if I don't - but yes, ime it really is down to chance.

MiaowTheCat Tue 16-Apr-13 20:04:34

Hideously unfit by the point of delivery both times (I'd been housebound for 2 months with SPD and a cancelled bus service by that point) - DD1 got stuck, in distress, needed forceps and an episiotomy. DD2 - flew out in a sub 15 minute labour - dad to be was outside the room ringing people to advise my waters had just gone so I was now officially "in labour" and had to be bodily hoiked back in to make sure he didn't miss it!

I think you can increase the odds in your favour a bit - but what's going to happen in terms of birth arkwardness on the part of the baby is going to happen regardless.

QTPie Tue 16-Apr-13 20:55:07

I stayed fit (gym in the first 20 weeks, swimming the second 19 weeks, plus prenatal yoga from 16 weeks). Didn't help with the birth (DS was breech and had an ELCS), but an sure it really helped with recovery and loosing all of the baby weight so quickly (two weeks after birth). But BFing a hungry Horace probably helped with the latter too...

TuttiFrutti Tue 16-Apr-13 22:18:27

No, I think it makes no difference at all. The only muscles you need to be in shape are your uterine ones, and you can only exercise those through childbirth - which is why second births are usually easier.

Paula Radcliffe ran all through her first pregnancy and still had a long difficult labour.

PoppyWearer Tue 16-Apr-13 22:21:44

My midwife for the birth of DC1 asked me (after the birth) if it was Yoga or Pilates I did (it was Pilates). I hadn't said anything to her, she said she could tell, as I was able to move around and hold positions well in labour and birth.

The midwife during the pregnancy also commented on my stomach tone.

I do think it helped.

mercibucket Tue 16-Apr-13 22:23:53

Horseriding makes it harder, so I heard, toughens up the perineum too much

mercibucket Tue 16-Apr-13 22:23:53

Horseriding makes it harder, so I heard, toughens up the perineum too much

Phineyj Tue 16-Apr-13 22:28:54

Yes I do think it helps because labour is very hard work, so obviously it helps if you are reasonably fit, and means you recover more quickly (although as PPs have said it may make no difference to the actual birth). Also what is not often mentioned is that lugging a baby about, lifting a pram/car seat etc takes quite a bit of upper body strength and building muscles might be a good idea. I also think the NHS should say something to expectant mothers about good lifting and handling techniques as nearly every newish mum (myself included) seems to develop back and wrist issues. I also wish someone had pointed me in the direction of this product for baby lifting post c-section:
www.snugglebundl.co.uk/

gwenniebee Tue 16-Apr-13 22:29:05

I think it helped me both mentally and physically. I was used to physical exertion and just "getting on with it". I had a straightforward and swift delivery. It certainly helped me to get back into shape afterwards.

However, I have friends who are as fit or fitter and they didn't have as easy a time as I had, so it's probably just in my mind!

NaturalBaby Tue 16-Apr-13 22:31:38

I think it helps. I've heard the phrase 'you wouldn't run a marathon without training for it' applied to preparing for labour but think it's mental as well as physical training.

I'm pretty fit and active and had good labours but still felt like I'd been hit by a bus in the days afterwards, and wasn't impressed that I couldn't manage a 5min walk the day after giving birth to ds1 (naive 1st time mum!).

BooCanary Tue 16-Apr-13 22:33:26

I'm not that fit at all. Rarely do any formal exercise and am bordering on overweight.

I had two easy births, hardly any pain relief. One water birth and one too-quick-to-fill-the-pool birth.

That said, I have got stretch marks, which I understand can be worse in people who don't exercise much.

MrsBungle Tue 16-Apr-13 22:35:18

I am not very fit. First birth was horrendous and long (52 hours) and I needed loads of stamina which I found. Recovered fine apart from infected stitches.

I was probably more unfit for number 2 - less than 2 hours, 5 very easy pushes and he was out. Easiest birth ever. Felt like I hadn't really even given birth!

I have a range of friends - some are super fit and had crap births.

Personally, I think it's mostly luck.

Sunnysummer Thu 18-Apr-13 08:29:57

When I asked my doctor if it was ok to keep running and doing intense exercise as well as the traditional preg yoga and pilates (after an mc last pregnancy) he strongly encouraged it - apparently fitter women will generally have shorter labours and lower risks of intervention, as you are less likely to get exhausted and need section/ forceps. That said, I know some gym bunnies who had really hard deliveries and some couch potatoes who didn't, so am sure that there's a lot else at play also!

3MenAndMe Thu 18-Apr-13 08:39:57

Boo strech marks are not an indication of lack of exercise/massaging etc.It is purely genetical or unexplained.I am very active and realatively fit,used lotions and potions but cold not avoid having them.

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