Birth is probably the most physical event a woman (and quite possibly human) can go through. I wholeheartedly believe birth and labor training should go beyond a few classes where they show you pictures or a video of what to expect. Of course, the videos and educational classes offer great information, but I believe it’s just as important to do something mental and physical to prepare and practice for the act of giving birth. Just as an athlete prepares for an optimal result at their big event with physical and mental drills, as well as proper recovery, birthing people should consider training in a similar way.
Even if you have never been the “athletic” type - that is ok! There are still many steps you can take to move well and move often to achieve the same result. And if you are the dedicated athlete, there are many safe and practical ways to still train for birth without sacrificing the intensity of what you are used to. It all comes down to the intent - what is the event you are preparing for and what practices will help you get there safely and efficiently?
I’m not saying this is the holy grail - life factors are still in play and even the perfect pregnancy can have a complicated birth. However, doing all that you can to give yourself the best chance for the best outcome with less risk of complications ultimately saves you in the long run.
Much of what I offer women through their pregnancy and into postpartum are the tools to prepare for birth. The ability to connect to their breath and body. To make them the most stable and efficient through the curveballs and physical changes that come with pregnancy.
This all starts with understanding functionally how humans move. We all learn to move using our breath. If you consider the fact every single one of us came into this world with a breath. That is the first movement we learn as humans. What a better way to take those innate reflexes we once practiced every day for the first 365 days of life and incorporate them into training for pregnancy.
Almost all the movements I teach women are noninvasive, low load movements. In doing so, you connect brain to body. All of our movement starts between the coordination of our breath and motor control area of our brain. We start from the ground up. Much of the process in learning to stabilize our trunk starts on the ground. We learn to go from lying on your back, to rolling to your side, to crawling, to pushing yourself up to eventually become upright and standing on two feet.
A session with me entails a thorough discussion of your pain, discomforts, fears and anxiety, and goals when it comes to your body. I ask questions about movement patterns, habits, and numerous others to help assess the best avenue of assistance. Some questions one might expect are: How did this start? Why do you think it started? What makes it better or worse? What else have you tried? How are you sleeping, eating? What are your stress levels? What do you do for work? What do you do for exercise? What are your short and long term goals when it comes to this issue? Etc.
This is followed by an exam of how your musculoskeletal system is functioning - by watching you move and then challenging the system to see how you react and bring out any imbalances you may have. I also do a protocol of muscle testing to test dysfunctions and make connections between areas of the body from head to toe. I palpate and feel around for what areas of the body jump out to me in terms of tension and tightness. Tightness is a sign that your brain is creating a compensation or imbalance in the body.
For my pregnant patients
A large part of the first visit is education and explaining what the core really entails, how it should function, and why it is so important for a sustainable pregnancy and less complicated birth. It is also the basis for postpartum recovery as well.
I’ll go over a lot of the basics in the first visit. Each consecutive visit will improve on those basic fundamentals and then challenge the system more and more so that your body becomes better at adapting and better at not over protecting itself, so you become more functional, stronger, and more resilient.
The focus is not to “get to our pre-baby body.” The goal isn’t to go backward, but to move forward and accept the fact that your body ultimately will never be the “same”. I’ll help you with the tools you’ll need to feel more comfortable, strong, and well in your new body.
Dr. Connelly specializes in functional movement and pregnancy preparation and postpartum rehab. To learn more about Dr. Connelly's services and offerings, check her out on the Be Her Village partner page.