All labors are unique – you don’t know if you’ll go into labor at home, at work, if it will proceed quickly or slowly, or if your bag of waters will break or not. Taking time to visualize all of the ways that your labor might begin will help you emotionally prepare for your labor and delivery.
This episode of Happy Healthy Human Radio discusses all of the ways that labor can start and why it’s important to visualize it before it happens.
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The closer you get to the full-term, 37 weeks of pregnancy, the more excitement there is about when the baby will be born. Your doctor feels the same way, but they’re working against a deadline: if you go past 41 weeks of pregnancy, most doctors will recommend inducing.
If your doctor is considering inducing labor, talk with them about your Bishop’s Score. This score aggregates different measures of labor progress, and can tell you how close (or far) you are from going into labor spontaneously, as well as how likely it is that an induction will be successful.
No, this isn’t some random word association game. These practices and symptoms are all related.
Let’s start at the beginning: Kegals, or more accurately, kegal exercises. These exercises have almost mythic adoration in our culture. To perform a kegal exercise, people with a uterus contract their vagina and anal sphincter (the instruction is often to “feel like you’re picking a marble up off the floor with your vagina”). People with a penis create a movement that feels like lifting their penis up. The benefits of a kegal exercise? Better tone of the pelvic floor, which can prevent urinary and incontinence issues in later life. For women, the other major benefit of the kegal is toning the pelvic floor so it better returns to it’s natural shape after giving birth.
Kegal exercises are the most often recommended exercise for pregnant women (and they’re even encouraged to do “super kegals” – holding the contraction of the muscles for up to a minute!).
Kegals also show up under another name that you might be familiar with: mula bandha. In our yoga asana practice, there are three bandhas, or locks, that concentrate energy in specific areas. The lowest of the bandhas is “mula bandha” which is essentially doing and holding a Kegal.
This sounds great, right? Kegals are good for us, and more is better, so yogis should be in the best shape!
Not always the case. Big surprise, there’s such a thing as doing too many kegals, and it can result in major health issues. Let me explain.