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How To Prepare Your Body For Pregnancy

Preparing our bodies for birth is like getting ready for a marathon meets Tough Mudder, and every birthing experience is different and unique. In our experience, a healthy fit mother feels better during pregnancy and will have the strength and flexibility to push her baby out like a pro.  At our clinic we understand every mother-to-be comes from a different background of habits: a workout they love, certain eating tendencies, and a daily lifestyle routine. Our goal: to educate and empower each woman considering getting pregnant on the best ways to prepare her body for birth that have been tried and tested by our now pregnant Dr Emily Kiberd.

Essential 7 strength moves1. The Essential 7: We love every mother to start a strengthening program that will prepare the body for birth and for life after the baby is born. Each of these moves focus on full body integration strengthening the core, gluts, and shoulder stabilizers. This has essential carry over to how you pick, hold, carry and breastfeed your baby. They can look intimidating at first but we offer variations for the newbie and each patient learns these moves under the guidance of our skilled personal trainer and medical supervision in our clinic.  We love squats which helps prepare the body for a natural birth. For variations of these moves for the pregnant mama, check out our FitBump collaboration, our favorites are a TRX squat or goblet squat to get deep into those hips. 

Prenatal Yoga Pose

2. Regular Meditation Practice Create a regular practice that fits into your day before even trying to get pregnant. Our patients that meditate daily deliver their babies like rockstars, dropping into that primal place during the intense moments and staying present and focused between contractions. I have experienced pregnancy as one of the most mindful practices of being present each moment, because each day is different. One day you are nauseous and exhausted, all foods are repulsive, and shortness of breath is a daily regular; my mantra was “this too shall pass.” The next day you have infinite energy, happy as a clam, and can eat whatever you want thinking this is a breeze. The mindfulness practice also comes from accepting the changes that happen to the body, a different weight distribution, and feeling out of whack or off balance.

For the beginner: Headspace A friendly app starting with short 10 minute meditations under the guidance of Andy, a gentle british bloke. They even have meditations for pregnant mamas! Find a comfortable seat, on a pillow, in a chair, there is no perfect posture, just think grounded through the seat and long spine. Find the same time of day to meditate, this helps with the ease in creating a new healthy habit. Just start, there’s no better way to break procrastination that Just Do It.

For the intermediate: Art of Meditation by Elena Brower Not only one of my favorite NYC yoga instructors, she has created an accessible innovative course to guide you into your meditation practice. This online offering includes journaling questions, weekly inspirational images and quotes, and her guidance is accompanied by several amazing musicians.

For the regular: Sally Kempton and Tara Brach are two of my favorite teachers. Whenever I study with them, I drop in deep and work through lingering dark moments and unhealthy emotive habits that seem to be clinging. This is process is essential because past trauma, deep unseated fears, and relationships with your parents can affect the ease of your labor. If you are sent into a sympathetic adrenaline state of fight or flight from a deep internal fear or an old issue with your mother, a beautifully progressing labor can suddenly stall.

diaphragm and breathing techniques

3. Diaphragmatic Breathing Place your left hand on your chest and right hand on your belly, take a breath. Where was the majority of the movement on the inhale and exhale? How long was the inhale versus the exhale? If the majority of your breath was in the chest, welcome to the stressed out club of dysfunctional breathers, don’t worry there’s hope.

The natural breath at a state of rest is mostly belly expansion as we breathe in and the belly softening to the spine as we breathe out, and the sternum will travel forward but not upward. 80% of our day ideally would be this belly focused diaphragmatic breathing, the other 20% a potential state of fight or flight where we access more of our breath from the chest. As we breathe from the chest, we start to recruit neck muscles to lift the upper ribs to breathe leading to neck pain, headaches, tightness in the upper traps, and core instability.

Our goal: to educate and empower each woman considering getting pregnant on the best ways to prepare her body for birth


-Place the tongue on the roof of the mouth 1 inch behind the teeth, now take a breath. This helps access our diaphragm and breathe into our belly, sending the breath down for a full circumferential expansion on the inhale.

-Focus on the exhale. This is when we actually breath, when there is an exchange of oxygen to the blood stream.

-Try laying face down with your hands underneath your forehead. Breathe the belly into the resistance of the floor, try sending the breath into the low back with an expansion right across your kidneys. This resistance of the floor give some sensory feedback to allow the belly to expand on the breath in.

-Low hum on the exhale. This slight engagement of the vocal cords and core muscles will sync up the diaphragm with the exhale.

Get diaphragmatic breathing down now, since during pregnancy the diaphragm will shift upward at the baby grows and become less functionally active leading to using those accessory neck muscles to breathe and reflux (GERD). Lastly, the pressure action of the diaphragm is essential in creating force for progression and pushing out your baby in second phase of delivery.

4. Work Out  Physical Asymmetries: Do you do any of the following? Turns one way to look at their computer screen, carries a side shoulder purse or bag, juts one hip out, or in my case, is always standing on one side of the table. This unbalanced movement causes a twist in the pelvis and one side of the sacro-iliac joint to be stuck.

round ligament

Why is it important to work out this asymmetry? The round ligament and the uterosacral ligament attach the uterus to the pelvis. If there is a twist in the pelvis, there will be torsion of these ligaments. During labor, uterine contractions create a spiraling of the baby to descend head down and facing the back of the mother (in the medical world we call this OA or occiput anterior). If there is a torsion of the pelvis and therefor uterus, the baby will have difficulty descending and may end up facing the front of the mother (OP or occiput posterior). The baby’s head will need at least 2 cm more to exit the birthing canal in this position and will often have difficulty keeping its chin tucked. This can lead to the baby’s head and chin getting stuck on the pubic bone and base of the sacral causing immense back labor pains. Get assessed by a chiropractor to help optimize the structure and function of your body leading up to getting pregnant.

We love to hear your comments, questions, and personal experiences with pregnancy. Visit us at the clinic by calling 212-355-0445 or shoot us an email,