I have had a few people ask me what I am doing to prepare for Peanut's birth.
I have started practicing HypnoBirthing by listening to recordings, I have actually made my own 'safe place' recording (stay tuned for a downloadable version soon), using both calm and surge breathing pretty much daily - I have been getting Braxton-Hicks (Practice Labor) since 12 weeks, they are not painful at all; my belly feels like a ball and then just releases.
I have recently gotten in touch with Chantal Traub and took her 'Pushing Power' workshop.
I already do bring a lot of awareness to the pelvic floor in my HypnoBirthing Classes and when I teach birth breathing. All too often, women are told to do Kegels and that is it... Personally I never thought Kegels were helpful to prepare for birth.
In my doula work, what I have noticed over the years is that a lot of women who have a 'strong' pelvic floor, yoga teachers, pilates instructors, Barre and Spinning instructors, actually have a harder time with that part of the birth. I find that a lot of women do not know how to release the pelvic and push by tightening the sphincters rather than allowing them to release.
Years ago, I organized a workshop with Lindsey Vestal from the Functional Pelvis. At the time she was the only one bringing awareness to the pelvic floor recovery after birth in NYC. As you might know, in France every woman who has given birth will have around 6 sessions with a midwife or pelvic floor specialist after the birth in order to reacquaint herself with her pelvic floor and make sure she is healing well. Here, just like before birth, you are left to your own devices post-partum. And there are too few childbirth ed classes who offer concrete tools and information
Chantal's workshop is great because it links the breath to the pelvic floor. She invites us to connect to the breath and to become aware of how the pelvic floor responds to each inhale and each exhale. And just with this you can already tell how you are connecting to your pelvic floor. For some women the learning starts here
Then she teaches us how to do a 3 level Kegel with great visualisations and most importantly how to keep your pelvic floor in a neutral position. We then go over the rotation of the baby on the pelvic floor (again great visualisation) and connect this to the breath. Finally we go over pushing positions and how to use a Peanut ball. She brings a lot of props and it is great to try them all!
Whether you are planning for a medicated or unmedicated birth, I cannot emphasize enough the preparation for that phase of labor and I highly recommend Chantal's workshop!