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We all want to have as easy a labor as possible, and a large part of preparing your body for labor comes before labor even starts. Some of preparation should be stretches and exercises to help decrease muscle tension in the pelvic floor and surrounding muscles.


Research has verified that the position of the pelvis can have a huge impact on how much space is available for the unborn baby to move into the correct position.  The position of the pelvis is impacted by the tension of certain muscles and the stability provided by other muscles surrounding the pelvis, but we are able to create more space by working on streching and moving throughout pregnancy.

For more exercises to create space, check out this other blog post.

Part of the reason why we need to take time to do these exercises is because our culture has significantly changed it’s movement patterns, which in turn have changed the tension and stability in our pelvic floor.

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“We need to train for delivery because, while birthing is absolutely a natural event, we have become, it seems, un-natural women” – Katie Bowman

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The good news is, there are things we can do to help train our body that will allow it to function the way it is supposed to.  We already have everything we need to have a healthy birth.  We just need to get back to some of our more natural movements that will allow that space to open up with decreased tension.


The muscles that typically have to be stretched include the calf muscles and hamstrings, the psoas, and the piriformis.

Calf Stretch and Double Calf Stretch for Calf and Hamstrings

Psoas Release

Psoas Lunge

Piriformis Stretch

Interested in learning more about how to support women in labor and birth?  Click here to register for birth doula certification.

Follow Rachel Leavitt:

Rachel has worked as a register nurse (BSN from University of Utah) since 2004 with a work history in Labor and Delivery, NICU and Postpartum Care. She is also the founder of New Beginnings Doula Training which she organized in 2011. When she's not busy being a mother and grandmother, she can be found reading research papers related to some aspect of childbirth.

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