When to take exogenous ketones?

Following a ketogenic diet is becoming more and more common, something that was once used for medical reasons alone is now often used by people looking to improve their body composition through the elimination of carbohydrates. Before explaining what exogenous ketones are, we must first look at what ketosis is.

Glucose is the body’s preferred form of energy and is used for all sorts of tasks. It can come from protein (through a process known as gluconeogenesis) but mostly comes from carbohydrates. When you eat a high carb diet, you will get an immediate increase in energy, but most of the glucose consumed is stored as glycogen and turned into body fat.

A ketogenic diet restricts carbohydrate intake to almost zero, after three days your body will have almost run out of glycogen and will instead look to get energy from fatty acids. These are released from adipose tissue and travel to the liver where they are turned into ketones. Once this happens the ketones travel into the blood and can be used as energy. You are now in ketosis.

An exogenous ketone is a ketone that has been produced outside the body and is a form of supplement. They can be used while trying to enter ketosis (as a way to speed things up). They can also be used to maintain ketosis if you have consumed some carbohydrates. They are also used to improve performance in the gym where they provide extra energy. You can take exogenous ketones before a workout, when you are feeling fatigued, or if you have consumed carbs.

You can also take exogenous ketones before you reach ketosis.






Androsurge Top Estrogen Blocker for 2017 | Review and In-Depth Look

Androsurge by Jacked Factory Top Estrogen Blocker for 2017 | Review and In-Depth Look

There has been some hype about this product lately on the internet. So we’ve decided to check it out and see what it was all about!

After some researching of the ingredients, looking at customer reviews, and referencing other websites we’ve came to the conclusion that Androsurge by Jacked Factory is the best estrogen blocker for 2017.

We aren’t the only ones as other top supplement review websites such as Spot Me Bro ranked Androsurge as the top ant-estrogen supplement for 2017 as well.

See below for a little about the ingredients behind this product!



Ingredient Profile:

Each ingredient is science-backed and proven to work, which of course is a good thing! Not to mention the transparency of the formula, allowing you to see exactly what you’re getting from this anti-estrogen supplement.







Vegan Need for Vitamin B12: An Essential Supplement in an Animal-free Diet

Résultat de recherche d'images pour "Vitamin B12"Vitamin B12 is one of the eight B vitamins and plays a key role in the normal functioning of the brain, the nervous system, and in the formation of blood. Also called cobalamin, this vitamin is involved in the metabolism of every cell in the body. In addition, B12 assists the body in converting carbohydrates and fats into energy, making red blood cells, producing DNA, and protects the nervous system. Vitamin B12 can be found in animal products such as meat, eggs, fish, and dairy. However, in a vegan diet it should be supplemented daily to prevent deficiency, despite the fact that the body requires only a small amount of B12 for proper functioning.

Risks of B12 Deficiency in Childbirth and Pregnancy

This is especially important in regards to childbirth and rearing children on a vegan diet. In a report published by the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Dr. E.D. Shinwell, and Dr. Rafael Gorodischer summarize their observations on a group of vegan children born to parents who were members of a vegan religious community in Israel and do not believe in supplementation. Of the undisclosed number of infants that were breastfed for three months, and then given a solution of diluted homemade soymilk for three months to a year, 47 infants were found to have severe growth retardation, and 25 of them had high protein deficiency, iron and B12 anemia, and zinc deficiency. Out of the group, three babies were dead upon arrival, and an additional five died shortly after being admitted to a hospital.

Another study completed by the National Institute of Health, Trinity College Dublin, and the Health Research Board of Ireland, concluded that women, “with low levels of B12 were 2.5 to three times more likely to have a child with neural tube defect.” Those women in the study who were classified as deficient were five times more likely to have a child with a birth defect.

On a more positive note, two studies confirmed the good news that with supplementation, and a properly designed diet, vegan children do grow normally. In 1988, Dr. Tom Sanders in the UK studied 39 vegan children who were breastfed for six months at a minimum, when there was B12 supplementation. The children were then monitored for twenty years. In all of the subjects, the children had normal growth and development. Following this, in 1989, Dr. Connell conducted a study in Summertown, Tennessee, which was also long term and monitored 404 vegan children. He discovered that the subjects, developed normally and had a slower growth curve, but they reached the same level of growth as omnivorous children by the age of 10.

Symptoms of B12 Deficiency

Of the many symptoms that may arise to indicate a level of B12 deficiency, low energy may be the first indicator. Many people report that when eradicating meat and dairy from their diet, their energy level decreases. This can possibly be attributed to a decrease in the body’s intake of B12. Other symptoms include:

  • feeling weak, lethargic, and lightheaded
  • pale skin
  • a sore red tongue or bleeding gums
  • feeling sick to the stomach and weight loss
  • diarrhea and constipation

If the level of vitamin B12 stays low for a long time, it can cause nerve system degeneration. If this happens, you may have any of these neurological symptoms:

  • numbness or tingling in fingers and toes
  • a poor sense of balance
  • impaired memory
  • hyperactive reflexes
  • depression
  • paranoia
  • dementia, a loss of mental abilities

Preventing B12 Deficiency

When animal products like milk, cheese, and eggs are incorporated into one’s diet, B12 deficiency will likely be prevented. However, Vensanto Melina, Registered Dietician, and author of Raising Vegetarian Children, asserts that the claim that animal products contain essential nutrients that are not found anywhere else is false. She clarifies that Vitamin B12 comes from bacteria, and in animal products is present as a result of bacterial contamination. To further this assertion, in an interview, raw food expert and author David Wolfe stated that a very large percent of meat-eaters are also unknowingly B12 deficient.

One can prevent deficiency by supplementing B12 daily in the form of a vitamin pill or liquid supplement. David Wolfe claimed that the most viable food source of B12 is spirulina, a blue green algae, which can be purchased as a powder supplement or in pill form. Other sources recommend intake of foods fortified with synthetic B12, but that may require vigilant label reading and several portions daily to ensure that enough B12 has been consumed. The most economical method is a vitamin pill or the liquid vitamin supplement, which is absorbed by the body easier.

The daily recommended value for persons over the age of 14 is 2.4 micrograms, and for pregnant and lactating women 2.6-2.8 micrograms. Based on the risk of birth defects among women with low or deficient B12, it is highly recommended that women who are of child bearing age begin taking the daily recommended amount of B12 prior to pregnancy. If choosing a liquid supplement, be sure to check the label an avoid supplements that contain artificial additives such as sugar, casein, or soy, discern the shelf life, and check if the supplement is free from propylene glycol (chemical stabilizer used in antifreeze), sorbitol (can cause diarrhea), or glycerine (sweetener that can raise blood sugar levels).

Is Excessive Exercise Bad? Rest the Body Between Workouts

Résultat de recherche d'images pour "Excessive Exercise"Lacy Stodola, 22, calls her weekly routine a disease. Six days a week, Monday through Saturday, Stodola runs, lifts or kick boxes for two hours. She’s increased her workout since the summer after an ACL injury during her softball season.

Stodola also admits to being overweight prior to her fitness reformation.

“I used to not be able to run down my street and back,” the recent college graduate says. “Now, I do eight miles on a treadmill.

“Working out—it makes me happy, more confident.”

At 19, Jen Sackett trains with her college volleyball team in the program designed to increase her vertical jump and endurance through ply metrics and strength training. Outside of her team’s schedule, Monday thru Friday, excluding Wednesdays, Sacket will run long distance.

She notices a change in her stress level if she misses too many days.

“I start to feel like I have less energy and motivation to get my work done,” the college sophomore says. “I start to feel overwhelmed with school.”

The Bigger Picture–What Other Factors Might Be in Play

Dr. Louise Jeffrey, a health psychologist at The Nebraska Medical Center, says people who practice excessive exercise represent an important population whose actions need to be addressed.

“Unless it’s for a short period with a specific goal in mind like Hillary Swank preparing for her recent movie role,” Dr. Jeffrey says, “(It) usually happens for one of a couple reasons. Either the person doing the exercise has a lot of anxiety they are trying to control, or it is done to help, usually ineffectively, with body image concerns, as in the case with eating disorders, or body builders in search of the perfect body.”

Intensity and Volume

Working out everyday is not bad; it’s the intensity and volume that needs to be tracked. Creighton University Medical Center fourth-year doctor of physical therapy student, Matt Briggs, says that most people will not be able to sustain a three-hour, seven day workout for a long period of time.

Briggs’ credentials included licensed and certified athletic trainer, certified strength and conditioning specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) and a certified personal trainer through the NSCA.

Additionally, supplementing with a quality testosterone booster will enable you to train harder and more frequently – this will lead to greater results!

Average Person Work Out

“My recommendation for the average person would be to workout three to five times per week for at least 30 minutes at a moderate intensity,” he says. “Even the most elite athletes would not be able to keep that amount (three hour daily workouts) of volume at a high intensity of working out every day for a prolonged period of time and stay healthy.”

The risks increase as the volume and intensity grow exponentially, Briggs continues. Considering excessive exercise to be “overtraining,” he describes characteristics as having a decreased immune system, soreness, mood change and a “burnt out” feeling.

“Typical stress-related psychological, psychosomatic and physiological signs and symptoms are usually present in over trained individuals,” Briggs says. “For example, anger, fatigue, tension, loss of appetite, sexual dysfunction, sleep problems and persistent muscle fatigue may be present in milder cases.”

In more developed scenarios, menstrual irregularities, depression, long-term insomnia or even abnormal sense perceptions may occur.

“The detrimental effects from overtraining may be present for several months to years,” he says.

Dr. Jeffrey says that taken to extremes, excessive exercise results in psychological and social negatives.

“People who obsessively engage in any activity are in danger of becoming isolated from others,” Dr. Jeffrey says. “They can spend so much time planning for and engaging in the activity that it takes over their lives, literally keeping them from family, job and other aspects of normal life.”

The feeling after a strenuous workout can cause confusion. Briggs says that a little soreness and fatigue are common expectations.

“Typically during a workout one’s body suffers damage and deformation most notably to the muscles that were used, but also the tendons, ligaments and bone,” Briggs says. “The body needs time to repair and reinforce these damaged tissues, this is how one’s body becomes stronger and adapts to the workout stress.”

When the body isn’t allowed to recover, it actually becomes weaker and can lead to the afore mentioned scenarios.

“Just like if you have a scab and you keep picking the scab and do not give it time to heal,” he says. “It will never heal and in fact the scab may get bigger and or worse. The higher the volume and intensity of the workout the more rest is needed before the same workout is performed again.”

Measuring Tool

Briggs says one measuring tool is to wait 48-hours before using the same body region at the same intensity and volume again.

“It is one thing to enjoy working out and enjoy the feeling it gives you and to keep healthy doing it,” he says. “It is another thing to be continually obsessed and addicted to it, which can be just as destructive as any food disorder or self mutilation. I feel that it is very important to get across that there is no perfect body. Look at what the ideal perfect body was 200 years ago and compared to that now. They are different for both genders and it is different in different parts of the world and in different cultures.”

Treatment is available, Dr. Jeffrey adds.

“It would include realistic goal setting, the person may have lost focus for what is realistic,” she says. “And limiting the time spent in exercise, optimally by building in other enjoyable activities.”






Walking – Good Exercise for Seniors: Walking Safety Tips, Adaptive Devices & Ways to Keep Walking

Résultat de recherche d'images pour "walking exercises"The best exercise program is one that is safe, enjoyable, and one to which the person will commit. Walking is simple, requires minimal equipment, can be done indoors or outside, and offers great health benefits.

The Importance of Physical Activity in Later Years

According to the American Heart Association’s Currents article entitled “Physical Activity and Public Health in Older Adults,” by Miriam E. Nelson, PhD, FACSM et al, “physical activity should be one of the highest priorities for preventing and treating disease and disablement in older adults.”

A walking routine offers seniors many health benefits, such as:

  • Weight control
  • Lower bad cholesterol levels (LDL)
  • Increased good cholesterol levels (HDL)
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Control blood sugar & diabetes
  • Providing stress relief

Make Walking Safe

Seniors should check with their doctor before beginning a walking program. For instance, someone who has recently had heart surgery may benefit from a walking program associated with a cardiac rehabilitation program where trained professionals can provide assessment, education, and guidance. All seniors in a walking program should:

  • Follow any physician directives
  • Listen to their bodies
  • Warm up
  • Stretch
  • Cool down
  • Ensure that they are adequately hydrated by drinking water

Walking shoes should have non-slip soles and should fit comfortably. Seniors should inspect the inside of the shoes to ensure that no gravels, mulch, or other items are inside the shoe before placing them on the feet. Shoes that enclose the toes and heel provide more protection. Clothing should be comfortable and appropriate for the weather to prevent cold weather injuries or heat-related problems.

Seniors may want to help start a SafeSeniors program in their local area if one is not already in place. These programs look at practical ways to make walking safer and more accessible to seniors. According to the article entitled “Governor Patterson and Commissioner Glenn Announce SafeSeniors – New Program to Increase Pedestrian Safety for Senior Citizens” a SafeSeniors program provides several strategies such as:

  • Identification of areas most likely to have more seniors
  • Feedback from seniors regarding walking barriers in the environment
  • Painting pavement markers that are easier to see
  • Extending crossing times at intersections
  • Improving street lighting
  • Offering educational programs for pedestrians

Adaptive Devices Can Help Seniors with Special Needs

A physician may recommend adaptive devices such as a cane, brace, or walker for added stability to prevent falls. Ensure the equipment is in good repair and is the correct height. A physical therapist or other provider should evaluate the senior’s use of the adaptive device to verify technique.

Seniors who have a hard time tying shoes may like shoes with Velcro closures or elasticized laces that can be left tied. People who have a difficult time putting on socks/shoes may use a sock aid. The Sock Genie web site has an excellent instructional video showing how to use a sock aid and also how it can be used to pick up a sock if it is dropped. Therapy animals provide numerous types of assistance, such as help with dressing, moving, or opening doors.

Where Seniors Walk

Walking routes can be as varied as the people who choose them. Many seniors prefer the sights and sounds of nature as they walk outside. Towns may offer beautiful landscaping or unusual walking opportunities such as a walking maze or labarynth. Others may enjoy the controlled temperature of places such as a local mall or indoor track. Treadmills can vary the slope and speed at the touch of a button, and water walking can provide added resistance while giving a welcome relief from the heat. Some gyms and other indoor areas may offer a free or reduced rate to seniors who only wish to walk.

Tips to Help Seniors Commit to a Walking Program

Tips to help seniors stay on track include:

  • Find an accountability partner – talking while walking can be enjoyable and can help people to gauge their intensity level. People who are exercising in their target heart rate zone usually can talk in short phrases while exercising. This also gives an added safety bonus if one person needs assistance. The American Heart Association offers an online social network for walkers called Start! Walking for a Healthier Lifestyle.
  • Try a pedometer – some are as inexpensive as $1.00 and can help walkers to put their workout into numerical form by recording the number of steps taken. Online pedometers can help seniors map routes.
  • Keep an exercise journal or record – Write walking workouts on a calendar, make a spreadsheet, or use an online journal to help track progress.
  • Some health insurance companies, senior centers, health clubs, etc. offer incentives for exercising. Seniors may offer themselves a reward for milestones as well.
  • Add music – Favorite tunes may add more enjoyment to the walk. Wearing headphones may be a safety hazard for some seniors, so check with a physician before using them while walking. Some gyms offer music that appeals to many seniors during certain hours.
  • Vary the routine – If the walking routine is becoming rather routine, look for ways to freshen it up or cross train with other activities such as group exercise classes, water classes, or yoga.

Seniors Walk Their Way to Better Health

Walking is one of the simplest types of aerobic activity that can help seniors to enjoy better health. Safe gear, adaptive devices, and careful selection of routes can lead to a more consistent routine while decreasing the likelihood of an injury. Starting and continuing with a walking routine takes commitment, but numerous resources are available for those who wish to make walking a priority.

Tibetan Exercises for Advanced

  • Résultat de recherche d'images pour "Tibetan Exercises"Smile and sit in the Staff pose (Sanskrit name: Dandasana). Your legs are extended in front of you. The knee caps are facing the ceiling. Your feet are flexed and slightly (10 – 12 inches) apart from each other.
  • Your shoulders are above and in line with your hips. Push your shoulder blades together and then relax them slightly. Lift your waist and chest; firm the abdomen.
  • Place the palms next to the hips on the floor. Your fingers are pointing towards the feet.
  • Keep your head straight and your neck elongated. Lock your elbows, and straighten your arms. Stay in this starting position for five breaths while you are preparing for the following exercise.
  • Breathing out, tuck your chin into the chest.
  • Inhaling, move your head back as far as comfortable. In a position like Crab pose (Sanskrit name: Kulirana) or Reversed Table pose, still inhaling and pressing into your hands, raise the buttocks, and lift your body upwards. Bend your knees with feet flat on the ground. Press your palms and feet into the floor.
  • Your hips are lifted making a table of your body. Let your head relax down but keep it in line with the spine. Don’t cause any tension in your neck.
  • Breathing out, come back to the starting position and tuck your chin into the chest again. Repeat 21 times.
  • Finally sit straight and smile. Bend the right leg, and allow the sole of the right foot to rest along the inner left thigh. Bring the left sole to snuggle the right calf. Your knees are wide and close to the floor.
  • Breathe in and lift your arms upwards above your head. Fold forward. Bring your forehead close to the floor (if you are very flexible, than rest your forehead on the floor), and pull your arms on the ground as far as possible away from your body. Stay in this position for a while. Change legs and repeat the stretch.
  • Finish the fourth Tibetan smiling and sitting on your heels with the hands on your abdomen. Between thumbs and forefingers form a shape of a heart. Seven times inhale deeply the universal love which permanently surrounds you.


This exercise stretches the front of the body including the hip flexors. It strengthens the spine and legs, strengthens also muscles of the chest, shoulders, arms and wrists, relieves throat congestion, and reduces heartburn. It improves the respiratory, digestive, nervous, cardiovascular systems, and influences all the glands and their hormonal secretions. It activates all the chakras aiding rejuvenation.

Two Exercises in One

  • We begin with the Upward facing Dog pose (Urdhvamukha Svanasana). Smile and lie flat on your abdomen. Bring your palms on the floor directly under your shoulders; the fingers are pointing forwards. The elbows are close to the body; feet are 10 -12 inches apart, and the toes are curled under.
  • Inhaling raise your head, shoulders, and chest off the ground; your arms are strong and pushing up the upper body. Your thighs are engaged, and abdominal muscles are tight.
  • Keep the legs straight and knees away from the floor. The whole weight of your body is resting on your hands and toes.
  • Your shoulders are down and away from your ears. The chest is lifted forward, and your head is raised upward. Look up.
  • Exhaling, bring smoothly your body into Downward Facing Dog (Adhomukha Svanasana). Simultaneously raise the buttocks and lower the head keeping the hands and toes rooted at the same place. Maybe you need to adjust the distance between your toes and hands once. Your legs and arms are straight. Your body forms now an inverted letter “V”.
  • Your body weight is evenly distributed on your hands and feet. Lower your heels to the floor, and bring your head to the chest. Press the sitting bones upward as you press the chest in the direction of your knees. Stretch your arms. Don’t bend your knees. Press your shoulder blades flat to the back.
  • Inhaling, move smoothly into the Upward facing Dog pose lowering your buttocks and bringing your head upwards. Repeat the two poses as one exercise 21 times.
  • Finally move smiling into the Extended Child’s Pose as described in the third exercise.
  • Finish the fifth Tibetan smiling and sitting on your heels with the hands on your belly. Between thumbs and forefingers form a shape of a heart. Seven times inhale deeply the universal love which permanently surrounds you.


The exercise improves breathing, rejuvenates, strengthens, and invigorates. It keeps the spine healthy, and removes backaches; tones ovaries and uterus, and helps preventing hot flashes. It reduces arthritis, calms brain, and strengthens the nerves and muscles in all body parts. It stimulates circulation especially in the upper body and lessens constipation. It massages and it is beneficial for all abdominal organs.

Smiling Meditation for Rejuvenation

  • Lie on the floor in the Relaxation pose (Savasana). Your feet and palms are relaxed, your arms are apart from the body while your palms are up. You are free of any tensions. Relax fully.
  • Close your eyes. Smile.
  • Stay in “now”. Feel the quality of “now”. Your only moment of consciousness is in now. What problems do you have right now? None, of course! Be grateful for that.
  • Feel the warm sense of comfort, happiness, and security.
  • Send your gratitude to the universe.
  • Send the energy of your smile and joy to the whole world. Fill your environment and the whole universe with your smile.
  • Breathe in and think, “I am happy,” breathe out with, “Yes, I am.” Know and accept the fact that you are happy.
  • Hold this position and stay with your smiling spirit few minutes or as long as you like it. Feel the gratitude for everything in your life.

Please write your experiences with these exercises, or your questions, in the comments below. I appreciate every feedback.

I honor the Spirit in you


Not all exercises are suitable for everyone. It is recommended to consult your doctor first. Especially if you experience lower back difficulties, or have neck problems.

The author does not have any liability for any injury or damage that may result from the use of any exercise or suggestion contained in this article.

The instructions and advices are in no way intended as substitutes for medical consulting.

Relaxation & Breathing Exercises for Childbirth: Learning How to Relax for an Easier Labor and Delivery

Résultat de recherche d'images pour "prenatal workout"Relaxation is essential for effective labor. It helps you conserve energy and keeps your mind clear. Effective relaxation during labor will help you stay in tune with your body and adjust to the stages as they come, changing your position or the way you breathe. When you know what to expect during your child’s birth and understand its stages, you’ll be empowered to overcome fear and anxiety. Research has shown that fear actually increases the pain of labor, and can make delivery take longer. Active relaxation – the art of letting go and allowing your muscles to relax when you “tell” them to – gives you control over the birth process. You’ll be more confident, need less medication, and maximize your chances of allowing yourself and your child a “speedy delivery” without complications.

Why its Important to Stay Relaxed During Labor

The reasons for this lie in the mechanics of childbirth and the body’s chemical reaction to stress and fear. Your uterus is a powerful muscle with three layers. During labor, the outer muscles contract to pushyour baby down, through and ultimately out of the uterus. At the same time, the middle layer of muscles contracts, squeezing blood out of the uterine walls and then releasing to allow a fresh infusion.

During labor, these two layers of muscles are working positively to move your baby out of the uterus and into the birth canal. But in some cases, and especially if you are fearful or anxious, their efforts are frustrated by the third layer of muscles – the circular muscles of the inner layer. Before you became pregnant, the strong inner muscles of your uterus were in a permanent state of contraction. They kept your uterus small and closed, in a tight pear-like shape. During pregnancy, these muscles were forced to expand to allow your baby to grow, but they are still strong. During labor contractions, these muscles must do something they almost never do – relax and give way to stronger forces that are working against them. When the inner circular muscles contract they close the outlet, maintaining the uterus in its unemptied shape. Thus, these inner circular muscles must be loose and relaxed when the long muscles contract, to open the womb and push the baby out.

If a woman is frightened during labor, then the muscles of the uterus and the muscles that hold it closed are working against each other. Fear also causes stress hormones, called adrenals, to be released.

These hormones also make your muscles tighten, so your contractions are less effective at pushing the baby downward. Stress hormones also tell your body to send blood away from the uterus and out to your arms and legs (a “fight or flight” reaction). So how do you relax when you’re being hit by wave after wave of labor pains? If you wait to learn until labor begins, you may find this difficult if not impossible. During the months and weeks leading up to your due date, take some time to master these relaxation methods.

Progressive Relaxation Exercises

This technique will give you the power to bring all the muscles in your body into a relaxed state. Sounds simple, right? Just relax! Well it’s not as simple as it sounds. You may feel relaxed, yet still have significant tension in an area of your body that you are unaware of. Lie in a comfortable position in a quiet, well-ventilated place. You should neither be too hot or too cold. Take at least ten minutes to perform this exercise. Don’t rush. Focus your consciousness on the area you are relaxing. Breathe slowly and deeply, visualizing your breath reaching and soothing the area you are focused on.

Begin by tensing the muscles of your forehead. Scrunch your eyebrow muscles together and hold them that way for about ten seconds. Then release the tension, letting it go completely. Next, tense the rest of the muscles in your face, including your ears, for ten seconds and release. After you release tension in any area, pause briefly and breathe before moving to the next muscle group. Next, tighten the rest of the muscles of your head and neck. Hold this for ten seconds or more if you can, then release. Gradually move in the same way to your shoulders, upper back, and chest. Tense and release the muscles of your upper arms, lower arms, hands and fingers. Then going back to your torso, tighten and release your abdominal muscles, your buttocks, and your pelvic floor muscles. Take your time as you progress, and focus on as small a group of muscles as you can identify.

Finally, tighten and release the muscles of your upper thighs, knees, calves, ankles, feet and toes. As you finish, visualize tension being fully discharged from your body, and enjoy your fully relaxed state for a few minutes. Do a brief “tension scan” to identify lingering tension in any area. Progressive relaxation is useful in early labor, when you’ll have a longer “rest” between contractions. This method is incorporated into many natural childbirth programs. It’s a great way to get to know the muscle groups in your body and find out where you hold your stress.

Abdominal Breathing Exercises

Deep breathing from your diaphragm, the muscle just below your lungs, is more efficient than shallow breathing, because one deep breath completely fills your lungs. If you pay attention to your normal breathing for a minute or two, you’ll realize that most of your default breathing is very shallow, allowing air only into your chest. Slow abdominal breathing actually requires fewer muscles than shallow breathing. During labor, this means precious energy will be conserved while tension and pain are being discharged.

To practice deep abdominal breathing, lie on your side or sit in a slightly reclined position. Place one hand on your abdomen. This will help you feel your breathing. Inhale slowly, allowing your breath to fill your abdomen. Notice whether you can breathe in a little more at the end of the breath. If you can, you will notice your diaphragm dropping to allow more air in. Do not hold your breath. Begin breathing out slowly, then rest for a few seconds before taking another cleansing breath.

The more you practice slow, deep breathing before your labor begins, the more automatic it will be for you when you are in labor. Your husband or another labor coach should learn to breathe with you, so that the two of you can maintain controlled deep breathing during labor. For many moms, deep breathing is the single most useful technique for an easy labor and delivery.