Class #2952

Prenatal Endurance Prep

45 min - Class


Work on maintaining strong endurance during labor and birth with the exercises in this prenatal Mat workout with Leah Stewart. She teaches movements that you can do before you go into labor that will help prepare you for the endurance needed during labor. Strength and endurance are vital aspects for the labor and birth experience, whether it is a short or long process for you.
What You'll Need: Mat, Wall, Fitness Ball, Theraband

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This is our fourth class in a four part series about PyLadies birthing or um, experiencing labor and birth with a Palladio's perspective. And with the help of some of our plots, these tools that we know and love. So this is our, like I said, our fourth class and this is maintaining strong endurance. But before I dive into it, if you're joining me for the first time and you haven't experienced the other three classes, um, or you haven't listened to the introduction to this series, I want you to go back and watching the introductions just to kind of know what the intention is behind this series and you'll really kind of learn what these classes are all about, this four part series. But if you've already done that and you're ready to dive in, let's go ahead and get started. So maintaining strong endurance.

We've talked about our body position options. We've talked about calm and confidence, we talked about the mobility advantage, but there's no denying that strength and endurance are certainly vital aspects and important aspects in the labor and birth experience. Um, oftentimes people will say, uh, going through labor is you can, you can compare it to running a marathon, meaning it requires a lot of endurance inquires, a lot of focus. Inquiry requires a lot of preparation, a lot of determination. And those certainly are all very true elements. But we want to take a look at endurance and there's a couple of different reasons for that is some women have very short labors, some women have very long labors, some women have labors that are go on and off for a weeks time. Um, you know, everybody varies a lot.

And so the level of endurance is going to vary from woman to woman and circumstance, the circumstance. But endurance really has to do with kind of the exhaustive process of the body go through, goes through of the ups and downs of experiencing contractions. And then the culmination of that is after that exhausting experience of going through the ups and downs and contractions is that we have to push a baby out and then once the baby is pushed out, we still have to go through another process of birthing the placenta. So it's a very long process and one that requires a lot of endurance mentally, physically and emotionally. So we have in our prenatal PyLadies series and our practice in our classes, we have the opportunity to kind of maintain or even build in some situations the strength and the endurance that we can need. And then with this specific class, I want to just talk a little bit more about maybe some of the final things that you can do. Um, right before you go into labor, move those final weeks of pregnancy, kind of some small subtle exercises that you can practice the kind of hone in mentally on what endurance means. What I'm going to show you here, you're probably not going to be doing during your labor and pregnancy.

I'm doing like little pushups and little things like that. If you do push ups during your labor and pregnancy, please tell me about it. I'd love to hear about it. But my point is, is now I want to get your muscles prepared, um, to kind of know what that endurance is like. And the key thing about it, in my opinion, kind of some of the things that we're gonna talk about is holding things for 30 to 60 seconds because that's the time of a construction. And then you have a varying time in between your contractions. Um, is this gonna Mimic a contraction? Exactly. No, not at all. But the thing is, is kind of get new mentally in that mindset of what it kind of feels like and what it kind of looks like. So that's my goal. So again, how close I get you to that.

I'm not really sure how much that's going to happen, but I just want to get you mentally in the mind space that we're looking at for some of these endurance qualities. So we're gonna start with some of the upper body work a little bit with the pelvis and then work our way down into our legs. You're also gonna see in this class, um, a lot of the different body positions and body options that we spoke about. So everything kind of, you know, it cross translates and it, it cross references here. So hopefully you'll be able to, um, to re-experience some of those things that we talked about in our previous classes. So let's go ahead and get started. So I want you to come into what I kinda call like a semi kneeling position.

So we get to the hold aspects of it. Um, and I'm going to kind of, sometimes I'll hold for 30 seconds. Sometimes I'll hold for 60 seconds. I'm going to be counting in my head. You can count in your head. I'm going to be doing some breathing while I do that. You can do some breathing and then once IRH to 30 or 60 point, then I'll take you out of the position. So I want you to sit in this comfortable position where your knees are open and you're sitting on your bottom. If you're having issues with your knees, please put a towel or a cushion underneath your heels to give you a little bit more lift or a bolster or anything you have available to you.

If worst comes to worst and you're unable to sit on your knees, you can try this sitting on your bottom and putting your hands forward and that may work for you as well. So we're going to be reaching forward here and we're starting with our shoulders. So we're just going to have a little bit of a tiny, just kind of like a little tiny warm up if you will. So we're going to do a scapula glide. So as I'm pulling my scapula together and pulling them apart. So I'm just going to start here. I'm going to start to warm up those shoulders, activate those shoulders.

But I want you to intentionally in this class I have told you in the past classes in this little four part series to think less about muscle activation and more about just movement. And this class I actually want you to think a little bit more about muscle activation because we're gonna think about when those muscles get a little bit fatigued, how we can kind of embrace that fatigue and worked through that fatigue and not run away from it. I'm not going to push you so far where you're super uncomfortable, but we're just again to introduce this concept to you. So moving forward and back so you can start to feel those muscles warming up. Starting to get a little heat in there and starting to feel that reaction.

So from here we're going to do little tricep presses with the arms, so going down and up. So inhale and exhale. So I want the fingertips really nice and wide. I want the spine nice and strong. I want this mind supported by the abdominals and I really want you to feel that movement, that squeezing coming from the triceps here.

So up and down about three more times using your breath. So we're getting, we're starting to get those muscles a little fatigued and then wants you to hold here and do a little pumps, one, two. So just get those little pumps going, fill those triceps working shit. Start to feel the anterior shoulder working as well. So still doing your little bit of your pumps and do about 10 more keeping your focus and just feeling how those muscles are getting warmer and warmer. Maybe they're starting to fatigue a little bit and then holding here and I want you to hold for 30 seconds.

Use your breath, holding that position halfway there. Keep that holding, embracing that sense of endurance, using your breath to fill the sensation of the muscles and not feel like you want to run away from it. But just to fill that sensation. Three, two, one. Now come halfway up so you're not fully extended and hold there. [inaudible] keep your breaths halfway there. So quiet, good and extent. So there you should fill that little bit of that intro of that challenge of fatiguing those tricep muscles, a little bit of fatigue in those shoulder muscles. And then honing in on that. And when you're feeling fatigued, holding that position and breathing into that position and knowing that you are going to get through that. And that is what the endurance is about.

And that's kind of what I want to show you in this class in the kind of a more of a mild form. So coming back into that position for me. So you're going to take your right hand behind your head. You're going to do a tricep dip and you're going to rotate towards your left hand an extent. So we can do 10 of these. So we're going to continue to get those muscles a little bit more fatigued. And please forgive me if my account isn't exactly on or my or 60 seconds is in exactly on. So reach and reach to more beach and I want you to hold here and 10 pumps. One, two, three, four.

So again, trying to keep that calm. Use the rest of your body to keep that. So keep the shoulder in control. Keep the torso in control. Now hold here for 30 seconds. Yeah. Now this time you might feel a little bit more fatigued.

You might feel your arms starting to shake a little bit, might to start to fill that really that discomfort that you're like, okay, I want to be done with this right now and you'll almost star. They just got to hold a little bit longer. Okay, and does she use your breath? Use your calm. Think about that energy reaching out through your spine. Think about the pelvis being nice and open.

Think about your breasts circulating through your body. About five more seconds. Yeah. And at let's go the other side. 10 up and down and press. Yeah. So that's what it is.

It's about having something come on and having that, having to experience that endurance and that strength to experience that endurance that you near during and during your contractions in between your contractions and then through those hours where you experienced that up and down of those contractions. Last one, hold little pumps, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10 and hold it here for 30 seconds. So transferring your breath into your arm, into your shoulder, into your elbow, transfer it into your spine, into your pelvis, wherever you need to put it. So you can really feel that energy pulsing through pulsating rather through your body, not just focusing on that fatigue or that burning you're feeling in your shoulder or in your Chai, sapping your elbow, holding there. Hold it. Um, press now, reaching your arms forward here.

You're going to internally rotate your shoulders a bit, and we're going to go down for a little mini push up here. So you're going to go down. One, two, three, push up. One, two, three, down, two, three, one, two, three. So you're feeling your chest open and expand as you go down, up to three, five more. So now you can see how I'm having to have this endurance on my trunk here. So holding my abdominals and my spine and this beautiful coke contraction.

So really feel that I'm supporting my spine as I move my body up and down. Okay, you're going to feel the body heat rise. He might start this perspire a little bit and that's totally fine. Now this time start halfway up and little pumps one, two and hold here. Now breathe and hold for 30 seconds. So we're just tacking on. I'm going to excuse myself, but you see there, so we're tacking onto that energy and the tricep.

You can start to feel a little bit more in your chest and in the front of your shoulders here as well. So we're just building on that fatigue and acquiring more and more endurance here for that upper body. So about 15 more seconds to hold that they're filling that contraction, using that breath. Uh, now instead of coming up, you're going to go a little bit lower. You're going to almost put your chin or your nose down to the mat.

You're going to hold even a little bit more. Now push your arms or your hands rather into the mat. So you're engaging your test or engaging your pictorial muscles. You're engaging your anterior shoulders and you're still engaging those triceps and breathe through them. [inaudible] instead of counting down as fast as you can, use your breath knowing that you're almost there, remaining calm and present in your body d and then push yourself up. Do the pulses one more time.

And one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10, a whole low. Again, 30 seconds. Pushing your hands into the mat. Ah, so rebuilding into that fatigue, that muscle fatigue where we're using our breath to go through it. So this is kind of the closest that I can get, I can think to get through movement to what it feels like to work through those contractions, to work through the endurance required for them holding there. Yeah. And again, please forgive me if my account isn't exactly right, but let's do 10 more seconds and press up. So now reached your shoulders back or your arms back.

Pull your shoulders back, stretch out those elbows and relax here. Uh, take your hands to your knees and you can do some circling here. And this would be kind of an example of some of the movements you would maybe do in between your contractions to kind of soften your body, relax your body, restore that, uh, energy that you use on, on getting those contractions. Only to know that you're gonna probably have to go into another contraction very soon. So we're going to mimic that with some movements. So if you're an early labor, it might look like 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 20 minutes apart. If you're in later labor, it's going to look like a minute apart.

They're gonna come on hard and they're going to come on fast. So now we're going to go to the elbows here so much. Should he be parallel here with your hands? You can be parallel with your legs here. So again, more of these pushup kind of positions. So you're going to go here, you're going to push up, down, up, down, up, down. So again, I'm tapping into some of the same muscle groups here with slightly different variations because again, like I've said 20 times to just say it again is that we are tapping into some of the same muscles are going to be contracting and that we have to work through, um, with our endurance quality. So holding here, so we're gonna hold down low for 30. I know it burns, I know it feels uncomfortable, but you got to stay with it.

Let's go a little higher at 30 more for the 62nd contractions. You're a triceps will probably be sore tomorrow. Holding, they're using that breath, direct that breath through your entire body. Okay. Find an image that works through, you hear a strong statue.

I'm strength, endurance and press all the way up. So that's going to be some of our endorses that we're going to work through with our upper body. So now I want you to come down all the way forward, create some space for your belly with your knees being out to the side. So now another muscle group that needs some endurance as our upper or spinal muscles. So what we're gonna do here is we're going to lift up and down just a few times. This will be a short little sequence.

Now this spinal endurance is going to come in when we really are thinking about some of the dispositions that we can use to see the position, a squatting position, some positions that are really going to require our spine to be nice and strong, our spine to maybe stay contracted versus in time. Then of course, you're practicing these 32nd holes to mimic some of the fatigue we feel during construct contractions. So we've kind of warmed up the spine a little bit here. So I want you to lift up and I want you to float your hands above your knees. You're going to start in this high position and I want you to hold here. Now, I feel a lot more than my spine working here. I feel my hips, I feel my abdominals. I pull my pelvis, but I'm focusing on that spine. Now notice I'm not straight here, but I'm actually holding a spinal extension or a spinal hyper extended position here and I'm holding.

Yeah, using that breath. Now it's attack on a little bit more time here of using that breath. Instead of going all the way down, I'm going to go halfway down and I'm going to extend up into a little bit more, so I'm creating more of a curve of that spine. I'm going to hold for 30 more seconds. Now notice here my hands are very lightly placed on my thighs.

I'm not pushing against the mat. I'm not using my arms here to help my spine, but I'm really just engaging that spine holding. Of course, I have some leg work going on. Here is my hips are up and I'm using my thighs as well, but I can really feel that work in my spine. So holding that position [inaudible] good. And then release it. And let's do a couple little movements through the spine. Just stretching out the spine. Breathing in for four.

Breathing out for four is they're incorporating some of that calming breath that we can do that we learned in our second class in this series, which is our common confidence. Some of that breath. So one more time. We're going to do that sequence. I wants you to hold here and breathe. Now let's practice breathing in for 10 and breathing out for 10 ah, go a little bit lower, but keep your back extension. Yeah, keep your breath. Feel a little bit more back. Extension 10 and 10 hours. [inaudible] one more. Really working into that back ascension. Feel those muscles working.

Okay. And calming breath. Four in four owl just to get us working through that calming breath and start your undulation here. Think originally had my hands on my thighs and moving in and out. So for the seated little seated series here, you're going to place your hands behind your head here. When do a little bit of pelvic work here. So I want you to come up with your hips, pulling your pelvis into a posterior tilt, getting the abdominals working, getting the pelvic floor working, and you're gonna fill your quads. So we're going to work here.

You're gonna reach the palace back and sit down. Now I'm coming a little past neutral and into an extended position here. So XL and down. Yeah, and down. [inaudible] and down. So using the breath here.

Notice how even though I'm getting a lot of energy into my pelvis and my legs, my glutes, I'm keeping my upper body fairly calm. Now this time you're going to hold. Yeah, use your 10 10 breath. If you can increase it to 1515 fine. Come a little bit lower. A little bit more intensity. Yeah.

[inaudible] one more time. [inaudible] and come out of it. Good. And I'll do some circles here. So just released it a little bit so you can start to see this theme, right? So we worked up into that fatigue. We find a hold into that, into that fatigue. We try to embrace that fatigue. We try to work through that. Protect with our breath. We come and we relax, we let the muscles respond with the muscles, relax.

We kind of recalibrate our bodies a little bit. Even though when we go into, again, our muscles are already fatigued, but that's okay. That's the way that Labor works as well. That's why so often when women get into that, those final stages of labor where the cervix is dilating, those final lesson centimeters is intense. You're already tired, you're already exhausted and it's getting more intense in the body and you just want to quit. You just want to quit. You just want to throw in the towel and be done with it. But you don't have that option cause that's not the way the body works.

So you can't shut down labor like that. So it's gonna keep going. So this is why this is so good to build on top of that layer on the fatigue, on the fatigue on, but Teague and work through that endurance as well. So let's do this series again. So we're going to go up and down [inaudible] and if you can start to work through it and something like this class that's just about a half hour long, you could start to build that and preparation that you have a good physical and mental understanding of what you're going to need during and birth. So a couple more and down and hold 10 and 10 out. Ah, go a little lower.

Uh, AH, one more. [inaudible] and release and circle. So again that some, some of our leg and some of our pelvis and we're going to do a little bit more with our shoulders with the theraband. So if you want to put me on pause for a second, go ahead and go grab a theraband out of resistance that feels comfortable for you. And we'll go ahead and move on to that series. So for this series, like I just said, you want to grab a theraband that's long enough and that's a comfortable resistance for you. You have two choices here. You can sit on your bottom, um, and place that there about under your bottoms. So you have equal, uh, length on both sides and if you're tired of being on your knees.

So that's probably what I'm going to do. Um, but or you can certainly mimic the same thing with your theraband under your knees here on what's actually feels kind of good too. But I think I'm going to, um, I'm going to do the seated position. Maybe I'll change it in between so you guys can see both, but sitting in your therabands. So again, here we go. We're going to work into some of that muscle fatigue and into some of that endurance. So make sure it's underneath you so it doesn't come fly up. So we're going to do both arms at the same time in the interest of time for this, while you take this series new start to practice this, I was encourage you to practice doing maybe one arm at a time and as you build up your, uh, your endurance, maybe do right arm, left arm, and then both arms and that's just going to intensify it a little bit more. But just kind of show you the series. So again, grasping what you feel is pretty equal on both sides.

Here we go. You Ready? So we're going to go up and down. I Dunno if I'm ready, but you know what? I'm six and a half weeks out from giving birth for my third time, for at the time of this filming. And these are things I need to start doing and I can feel it naturally and my body kind of like nesting, how women nest prior to labor and having their baby. So I can fill my body needing to work on strength and endurance in a, in a little bit more intentional way than I have been. Um, and preparation mentally and emotionally for what I'm going to have to do for Labor. And then we're gonna hold it. This is where you might start seeing these taken huff and puff.

So we're going to hold her for 30 seconds, 10 breaths, [inaudible] and hold. So I'll give you a little bit of background. What inspired me to really tap into this series as we move forward. So now we're going to kind of move through the shoulder, but instead of going laterally, we're going to go anteriorly. So we're gonna move our arms forward. So a little bit a different sensation. I in all of my research, um, for birthing and um, and just different breathing techniques and relaxation techniques and things like that. Sorry, holding up my shoulders.

I came across a woman who was trying to teach, um, pregnant women and their partners. What it meant to hold a contraction. And her approach was to have women hold an ice cube. I'm gonna stop for a second, an ice cube in their hands and hold their arm out to the side and they have to hold an ice cube in their hand for 30 to 60 seconds and not move. That sounds pretty simple, right? Try it. Okay. It's, it's, it's pretty uncomfortable to put an ice cube in the palm of your hand and hold it for a minute and then release it. But basically what she likened it to hold and breathe was to that contraction.

And I thought that's such a great idea to kind of in some way simulate what a contraction may feel like. Um, the intensity of a contraction by holding in the ice cube. So holding here about 15 seconds. So as we know though, contractions are about muscles. And so I thought what a great way to kind of be inspired by that idea by using some of our movement in PyLadies in some of our muscular contraction and having to hold release. Some of these isometric contractions that are renewed require us to be static in a moment and to breathe through it. Cause that's what a contraction feels like. It pops up and it's just like beer and it's very static for the time being.

And then it literally just releases. So kind of like when we hold a muscle and then we release it and we just feel that muscle release, that contraction and that's going to be similar to what we're going to feel like with what the contraction during Labor. So it's just really nice to kind of be able to, to understand that. So we're going to go through one more time, side and front, and we're going to work through that endurance one more time. Yeah.

Together. And again, if you can work your way up to practicing this right arm, left arm, then both arms and doing that series two or three times you're golden. And plus you'll have really nice looking deal fell out. And now hold your breath here. Fill those arms strong. Feel those muscles like rocks, holding them up, reach your energy out through your arms, use your breath and release. You can go ahead and shake your shoulders out. We're gonna do it one more time to the front.

And then I'm just going to demonstrate real briefly a couple of other positions you can do, but we're not going to actually go through them in the interest of time. So up and down. So I'm really relying on you ladies as you learn this. You can absolutely go through these series with me, but I want you to take some of these simple things like this arm series and start practicing them on your own as well. Okay?

And up and holds here. And release. So a couple of other arms that I like to incorporate into this series is take your theraband out from your knees and kind of, um, wrap it or excuse me, off from your bother and rudder, rather in rapid, kind of underneath your knees here and hold out to the side here. And then you're going to pull your arms back and forward and back. So you're getting the scapula closing and opening and closing and opening and back and forward.

And then their final one is you're going to hold back and you're going to draw the scapula together. You're going to activate the rhomboids and the upper back. So that really creates kind of some muscular balance in this series, but it, um, it just adds another dimension. So again, build up with this again, I'll reiterate, you can practice right arm, left arm, both arms, right arm, left arm, both arms, right arm, left arm, both arms. And you can work up to doing that series one time, two times, three times, building that endurance building on top of that fatigue. So that's going to be some of our arms and our soldiers that we can do to, to really, um, help maintain that strong endurance. Okay. So we've gone through some of our shoulder endurance, our an arm endurance, our spinal endurance are a little bit of our leg and our pelvis.

So we kind of worked through some of these. Now the next thing I want to do is kind of mimic a little bit of what I call like a reclined squat or a seated squat position and kind of some of the endurance that's required that because that is a common position, especially in a hospital environment, that women are going to be laboring in and birthing in. So I'm not, I don't have access to getting to a wall at this point, um, to push my legs against. So this is my wall, right? My long boxes, my wall. So I just want you to imagine a wall. If you can practice this by pushing into something that's not going to move a wall, maybe you have a dresser or something accessible to you, um, that you can push your feet into with all of your strains. That's what I want you to look for right now for this really short little series. Um, I'm gonna talk you through this.

I'm not going to be pushing as hard as I can obviously, because I just don't have the stability a provided by the long box here. But I want you to do is I want you to get into a nice seated position with your feet at, against the box, and your, um, are the balls of your feet. Really. Your heels are going to be a little bit away and you're going to be walking your hips forward, holding behind your thighs, and you're gonna use your arms to pull your spine up and a straight up a position as you can. Now in this position, we're going to hold and we're going to start with just activating our hamstrings. You might feel a little bit of your quads as well, just depending on how you engage. But I really want you to think about activating your hamstrings and pushing your feet, pushing your legs as hard as you can into your wall or whatever you're pushing up against. So here we go.

And you're gonna Press and then release. So you're not going to see much movement from me. But as you can see, as I push my body responds by going back a little bit, my knees like extend a tiny, tiny bit. But that's what I want. And then when I release my body comes back in. So push and release. So let's go five more like that. So the reason I'm doing this again is to fill that fatigue in those hamstrings filled with fatigue in the legs, but also to just work on, again, the said, this really common position that women are going to be laboring in and birthing in.

So this summer I want you to hold and I want you to push with all of your might and push and push for 30 seconds. So here's the thing. So you might feel your legs start to shake a little bit. So let's do to hold that. If you're giving birth in a hospital, uh, environment, about 10 more seconds. You might be in this position or some sort of version of this position, most likely reclined a little bit back and go ahead and release it when your legs are going to be up. You might be holding your legs or your birth partner or nurse might be holding your legs for you as you're instructed to push, you're going to be pressing forward with your legs simultaneously.

That's just how the body responds. So you're going to have to, and you're going to be holding that push for a certain amount of time. They usually count down maybe from 10 to one, a little bit shorter. But we want again, be just be prepared mentally for what our body's going to have to endorse. So this requires obviously a lot of flexibility and mobility in your hip joint, but a lot of pressing through your legs as well. So now I want you to lean back a little bit and come into a little bit of a Tuck. I want you to do that again. Push in and release just five this time. Push in and release. Push in. [inaudible] I'm saying push in, but it's really pushed out, isn't it?

Push out and release. Now this time I want you to hold, hold that position and push as hard as you can and breathing here. So do your 10 10 breath or even fever to stuff up to 1515 or 2020 just breathe and fill those muscles. Contracting, filling that breath, not letting go, pushing with the all your might, keeping calming your shoulders calm with your breath. Common Focus, but filling that energy pulsating through your legs. Press, press and press and then we lease and come up. So wants you to go ahead and start to practice that a little bit more. We just did two cycles of that and it's, it's not quite as intense as some of the other ones that we feel, but it's certainly one that I wanted to draw in.

So you can kind of just relay of what that feels like. Um, you can also do one leg at a time, so push the right leg out and push the left leg out. And then you can push both of them and you can do a couple of different variations, but I want you to feel how you tack on to that building on again to that muscle fatigue in the legs. So we're going to go ahead and do one more sequence, kind of a squatting sequence, and we're going to be using a ball. Or if you don't have access to a ball at this point, go grab a chair and you can use a chair as well. So you should have a ball here. If you don't have a ball, you can certainly practice this with a chair, a dining room chair, anything you have accessible to you. Um, I suggest that you may be turned to chair. So the back is facing you so you can hold onto the top of the chair so you can find your support there. So the ball is going to act like a, a support mechanism for us, and we're going to work through some of these squats.

So we all have different capabilities in the flexibility of and the range of motion and our, and our ankle joints and our knee joints and our hip joints. So our squats may look a little bit different. Some of you might be really deep with a vertical spine. If you're like me, I'm kind of somewhere in between with my spine kind of forward. So it really just depends, but I want you to feel the deepest articulation that you can get in those joints. Um, and also just working through some of this, the benefits of some of these squat positions here. So we're going to start in kind of a, a higher position.

So I'm using the ball for that support here. No, if I had a chair, I'd probably be a little bit higher. So we're gonna go three levels here. So we're gonna go one, two, three. Okay. Up, up, up. Oh, so you can see them kind of through this whole class. I've kind of done this similar sequence where I kind of work through a range of motion to kind of get the muscles activated, Kinda to start that process of muscle activation and fatigue.

And then we go ahead and hold into, yeah, so again, this is for, if you think you're going to be adopting any sort of squat position in your labor and birth and you need to practice, excuse me, the squat position. So when you come halfway up and pulse, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10, straighten the legs all the way and come back into the half squat impulse again. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, straighten all the way. You're going to come back into your half Pauls or your half squat and you're going to hold for 30 seconds using your breath and press up all the way. So go ahead and come in, roll your back in and reach out. So we're just going to kind of release the legs, straighten and bend the knees, flex and round the spine. You can do some circles here just finding any sort of natural movement that works for you.

Just to kind of calm your energy down a little bit through the intensity of that. So calm your energy down with some movement circles swinging. I'm just going to kind of leave it up to you using your breath. You can feel that trembling through your body, that pulsating of your energy. And we're going to go into it again. So hold, tear 30 seconds.

[inaudible] uh, press up and come through so you can feel just that soaring energy. And I'm hoping that you feel as you work through those 30 seconds that you're just, you find yourself counting and you find yourself almost hoping it's over and this over sooner than later. And that's totally fine to feel. But at the same time, you start to feel those emotions that you grab into your breath a little bit more. You grab into your physical capability. The more you grab into your focus and your imagery a little bit more. And you hone in on that, use that to get through you. So for example, in the squat position, as you're going up and down, thinking about that pelvis opening wide thing, but that spine being really nice and strong and thinking about holding it there and really honing in on that groundedness that you feel through your body rather than just focusing on the burning sensation that you're feeling in your hips or the burning sensation that you're feeling in your knees or your thighs or your back, all of that. So you're really honing in on that.

Embracing your strengths and embracing your endurance, filling your heart rate up as you work through that, using your breath to help you stay calm. And again, in between all of that, you're really using those kind of calming, undulating motions of your body to help your body recuperate. Because what it feels like for that endurance is when the end of labor, you feel that calm and between your contractions and then you can feel the next contraction starting to come on. Then you change your mindset again. You go into that energizing breath focused breath. You go into that imagery, you brace yourself for that journey of that contraction, then you start to feel that contraction release and then you'd go ahead and go back into your calming mode. And it's just this on off, on off cycle the entire time. But again, you know that cycle is so important for the successful birthing of your baby and you know that you've used all of your resources physically, mentally and emotionally that you've gained from Palladia is to help you get through that because you are strong, you do have the strength and you do have the endurance and we can't just rely on, you know, white knuckling through it. We want to prepare our body and the best way that we can so that we can get through that with confidence and with calm. And we know that we've built that strength and that endurance and our body to be able to do that. So again, this class is, could definitely be longer.

We could go through these series more and more. So once you to do this class with me a couple of times, here are my explanations. But then if you really, really want to embrace, says, I would encourage you to start to practice some these sequences on your own. And think of some of the breathing. Think of some of the queuing that I said and use your own internal queuing, your own internal focus. Because when you get in the labor and birthing situation, you're gonna have your birth partner there, of course.

But it's also going to be the messages that you tell yourself in your own mind using your own breath, using your own resolve to help you really embrace the journey that you're going through of labor and birth. Your [inaudible] just aren't going to be there at your burden and teachers aren't going to be there. You're going to have hopefully a breathing partner, but mostly you're going to have yourself and your own confidence. So I hope that you use this class to help you learn how endurance is such a great key for you to get through your labor and birth experience. Thank you so much. And of course, ask me any questions if you have them.

Related Content

Prenatal Pilates: Pilates Birthing Series


2 people like this.
Definitely not a fun class, but that's not labor either. I am preparing for my fourth labor. I feel like Leah has some valuable pointers here. Although labor is anything but fun, a successful birth has given me a huger sense of accomplishment than anything else that i have ever accomplished physically.
1 person likes this.
Totally agree... such a hard class! So much harder than some of the other normal Pilates classes. Really helpful to feel the fatigue and knowing I need to be able to breath through these positions to find my zen. Thanks for all the amazing classes Leah. This has been so helpful!
1 person likes this.
Thanks for this great class. Question would you recomend a 39week's lady to through this type of contraction mimmics techniques ?
Ladies, I know this class is a challenge, and I am so pleased that you all understand the intention of the challenge and the important role it plays in using Pilates as a labor preparation tool. Marcela, to answer your question, it completely depends on the woman and want her state of pre-labor has been like. At 39 weeks some of this may be too much, but on the other hand, some of the exercises may be helpful. To be extremely general, I would say that these exercises are best started several weeks before a woman's due date, but can be done up to the date if the woman feels energetic, safe and able to do them.
Jennifer Dene
At 31 weeks I'm so glad that I've started your birthing series! You're making me feel stronger physically and mentally for labor, and I so appreciate your attention to detail, the explanations behind your moves, and your sunny outlook! Thank you!
6 weeks out from giving birth to my fifth child and this class was challenging, grimacing and amazing! Thank you Leah! :)
1 person likes this.
I’m always so thrilled to have your classes to take, retake, offer and learn from! You’re my go to resource for pre/post natal fitness. My clients sign up for Pilates anytime just so they can benefit from your work. Thanks again!
1 person likes this.
Thank you, Leah! I’m 35 weeks and loving your prenatal classes. The muscular “holds” in this class make so much more sense than the
“Ice hold” they had us practice in my birth class, ha! You are such a wonderful teacher, and helping me feel empowered for my upcoming first birth.
1 person likes this.
Thank you Leah Stewart for the great class. good tips for straightening and endurance.  
1 person likes this.
Leah, I can't thank you enough for your prenatal courses and this series in particular. I'm preparing for the arrival of my first baby in as little as five weeks, I'm learning hypnobirthing, gentle birthing, active birthing and attending British National Childbirthing Trust classes (phew), but as a longtime Pilates enthusiast, nothing matches the preparation from you. Thank you so much! Charlotte
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