Training for the Workout of My Life: Childbirth

I’ve trained for and completed quite a few fitness events that I’m pretty proud of. There have been half marathons, one full marathon, mud runs and even a few CrossFit-esque multiple-day competitions that I’ve successfully completed. But now that I’m pregnant, all of those seem to pale in comparison to the workout I’m currently training for: childbirth.

And not just any childbirth — if all goes according to plan (famous last words, right?) — an unmedicated and natural childbirth.


I’ve been reading a ton of books and articles and research studies on childbirth, and pretty much just soaking in every little bit of knowledge I can about pregnancy and birth. And I’ve decided that I want to go the natural childbirth route.

I know, I know. A lot of women say they want to do it, but then, um, the pain of labor hit or complications occur and they’re getting an epidural faster than you can say contraction. But, I’m pretty gung-ho about this natural childbirth thing (which, naive as I am about it allย — first-time mom, right here! — I do think that’s the first step to actually having a natural childbirth), and I’m really setting myself up to make it as real of a reality as I possibly can.

Ryan and I hired a doula. I’m still doing the acupuncture thing. I’m visualizing my natural childbirth. I’m reading up on it all (this book is everything — thanks for the recommendation, Erin!). I’m going to a birth center that supports my birth plan. (More on all of this in later posts!) And — I’m working out with a serious purpose.

My workouts have always been about feeling good and feeling strong, but now more than ever that’s true. I’m being more intuitive with everything, and I’m targeting my workouts to preparing for THE day.ย The day the baby comes!


My current 17-week bump may not be very big yet, but I’m already doing prenatal yoga DVDs to stay limber and have my eyeballs on a live class, I’m keeping up with my daily walking to keep my hips loose (midwife’s orders!), I’m doing my kegels, and I’m really working on those squats. Mentally, everyday, I tell myself I can do this. And that I will do this. And it’s beginning to sink in and feel good and normal. Millions of women have done this — I can do it, too!

Any other moms out there planning for a natural childbirth? Any moms who have already done a natural childbirth have any advice? What exercises did you do to prepare? Would love to know! —Jenn

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  1. Connie says:

    Lookin good Jenn!

    1. Jenn says:

      Thanks, Connie! ๐Ÿ™‚


  2. Love it, Jenn! I’m hoping for a natural, unmedicated birth as well. During the first trimester I’ve been keeping up my usual routine (running and light arm exercises) at a slower pace (and when I wasn’t too tired and/or nauseous, haha), but I’m looking forward to trying out pre-natal yoga soon and reading up on all the best ways to stay physically and mentally prepared for what promises to be quite the experience. I’m pretty gung-ho about it, too. Hurray for being naive! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Oh, and I’ve been reading Ina May’s book, too! So great!

      1. Jenn says:

        It’s like my favorite read ever. I’m now about a third into her book on breastfeeding. It’s great, too!


    2. Jenn says:

      Yay, Jenn! ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s fun, right?


      1. Jenn says:

        p.s. A huge congrats to you, Jenn! ๐Ÿ™‚


  3. Kerri says:

    Just watched “The business of being born” when I got tired of reading. It’s a great reinforcement to the natural childbirth choice. I worry now that I have slowed things down some (week 25) I won’t be in good enough shape for labor, but I am still lifting (including squats) just at lower % s, hoping it helps.

    1. Jenn says:

      That movie is life-changing! Talk about motivating to go the natural route. Sounds like you’re doing all the right things — gotta listen to that body! ๐Ÿ™‚


  4. KatyBug says:

    Yup, giving birth was BY FAR the most challenging physical event of my life…for days after my gorgeous daughter was born, my arms, lower back and quads all ached from the efforts to get her out!

    I did everything I could to prepare — staying super active, practicing yoga up until the day I went into labor, etc., and I think that made a huge difference not only in reaching my goal of an unmedicated, uninduced birth, but in recovering after. No matter what had happened, it was obviously about getting a healthy baby ABOVE ALL but I’m so glad I was proactive in my preparations.

    Best of luck — you’re going to be great!

    1. Jenn says:

      So great to hear, Katy! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you!!!


  5. Heather says:

    Im just catching up on the past couple months now and want to wish you a huge congratulations!!! Learning you are pregnant seriously made my day after reading along with your struggles with infertility. I dealt with IF due to PCOS and it was refreshing seeing how open and honest you were about it. I’ve decided to be very vocal about my struggle as well since you helped me feel not so alone.

    Anyway, onto the fun stuff!!! I hoped for a natural childbirth and hired a doula as well. But when I was 9 days late with my son this past December and they did a non-stress test they estimated him weighing 11lbs!!! I was not diabetic snd actually gained minimal weight thanks to walking during my pregnancy. This was all genetics! He ended up weighed in at 10lbs but they had me in a c section within hours of that u/s. I sure hope you get your natural birth though!!!

    1. Jenn says:

      Thank you! And glad to hear you’re sharing about yours! If you don’t, it’s seriously even harder. No shame in it — just is what it is. It sucks. But at least it can suck together. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Dang! I’m hoping I get my natural childbirth, too, but, like your example points out — you just never know what your baby will have in store for you!

      Thanks for the kind words, Heather! Best of luck to you!!!

  6. Jen2 says:

    Yes! You can absolutely do it! Mindset is almost everything in childbirth. While it’s awesome there are the interventions in case they are needed, it’s so rare they are truly needed. I had hoped to be a doula, but have put those pland on the backburner because I am so busy with my two toddlers.

    Even if pregnancy throws you some curveballs, don’t get discouraged. I gave birth to two 9lb+ babies way past their guess date and was fortunate enough to be able to do it naturally. (At least, fairly naturally. The second had to be at a hospital with an iv. Rather than at a birth center without one.)

    I think that it’s important to stay a little flexible, but if you have an order of stuff that is important to you, you’ll usually get most- if not all- of it! You’re doing the right thing in preparing so well. I’m sure your birth will be fantastic!

    1. Jenn says:

      Thank you, Jen!!! ๐Ÿ™‚