An interview with Fit Pregnancy Club, NYC
FPC: What inspired you to get into this work and how long have you been doing it?
Chantal: I was teaching prenatal yoga in the late 90's when some of my students invited me to attend their births. To deepen my knowledge and to better serve these women, I studied and became certified as both a childbirth educator and a doula.
While attending hundreds of births, I noticed that women were often under-prepared to Push. I realized that was due in part to a lack of understanding of and limited preparation for optimal pushing. I became passionate about helping my clients Prepare + to Push effectively.
I've been assisting births full time since 2003. The work in itself is rewarding. I meet people from all over the world and their strengths and vulnerabilities that come out during the labor process move and inspire me.
FPC: What is the one piece of information about pushing that you wish more women knew?
Chantal: To release and let go of the pelvic floor muscles and let the baby OUT.
FPC: In your opinion, what should a women be doing during pregnancy to “prepare to push”?
Chantal: The pelvic floor is designed to stretch significantly during the pushing stage, but factors such as your activity, lifestyle, posture, and mindset can substantially affect this potential. Our nutrition affects our energy and our muscle strength and stretch. Making positive changes towards eating well during pregnancy for birth, postpartum and beyond helps both mom and baby. It is important to build body awareness, strength and stamina and stretch and lengthen the muscles that attach to the pelvic floor.
FPC: What kind of support system should a woman have in place to help with the pushing stage?
Chantal: The Provider – the OB or midwife that you choose plays a big part in protecting your pelvic floor.
The Partner or support Person can encourage, reassure, cheer and re-energize the mother. They can also help her calm and focus.
FPC: Is there anything you’d like to add?
It is valuable to invest in the preparation for childbirth and postpartum.
Self awareness can transform the nature of the experience.
The only muscles to tighten during pushing are diaphragm and abdominal muscles – NOT legs or buttocks.
It is so important to keep the big picture in mind. No matter which way your baby comes, it is about your personal experience and the birth of your baby and when you hear your baby cry or see or touch your baby for the very first time, it is a huge moment and a very moving experience and it puts you on the other side of birth and at a new beginning in your life. Enjoy your baby!