This is Part IV of a four part series on how yoga can support you doing labor and childbirth. Haven't read the first parts? Go back and visit, Part I, Part II and Part III.
As I mentioned in previous posts, there’s no magic yoga pose that you can do in labor that will make things easier or less painful, but what you can do is yoga poses during pregnancy that will help better prepare your body for labor. I know I’ve mentioned it before, but think of it this way: you wouldn’t go out and run a marathon one day with no prior training, labor is the same thing. Yoga poses can help build strength and create opening in areas that will be post impacted by labor and childbirth. Here are the places of focus that yoga poses can help with to prepare your body for birth:
This is Part II of a four part series on how yoga can support you doing labor and childbirth. In the first and second parts we discussed how yoga can help connect you to your breath and your strength Haven't read them yet? Be sure to check it out Part I and Part II.
Relaxation and labor seem to be polar opposites right? The trick with labor is that there are moments of relaxation, even in active labor. Between each contraction there is always a resting period. We might think about contractions as a wave that rise, peak and then ebb. Following the ebbing of a contraction is an opportunity to rest. The closer contractions get to one another, the shorter this rest period is, but taking advantage of these rest periods can make a world of difference in labor, particularly in longer labors.
This is Part II of a three part series on how yoga can support you doing labor and childbirth. In the first part we discussed how yoga can help connect you to your breath. Haven't read it yet? Be sure to check it out here.
Our own strength can surprise us sometimes, and nowhere more so than in childbirth. However, it often takes our yoga practice to help us understand that strength and how we can push through something even when it is physically demanding or difficult. Here are some ways that yoga can help us explore how strong we are as we prepare for the physically demanding reality of birth:
Yoga is amazingly helpful and effect to help address so many of the aches and pains of pregnancy and also offers a powerful time for you to connect with your ever-changing body and bring balance to energy and emotions during this roller coaster ride. People often look to yoga to help support them during birth as well. The thing is there is no magic yoga pose that will be helpful in birth, but what yoga can help you do is learn how powerful your body is, strengthen your body in preparation for the physical needs of birth and help you connect to your breath which is the one thing you will have with you as a tool throughout your entire birth.
Here's Part I of a four part series on how yoga can support you during birth...
Waiting for baby to arrive can be hard, waiting for baby to arrive after we've passed our due date can be even harder. I always like to tell students to think about it as a "due month" rather than a "due date." Anywhere from three weeks before to two weeks after your due date baby can arrive. This can take some of the pressure off that magical due date (on which only about 1% of babies are actually born!). With that in mind, once we pass our due date our care providers may start to encourage us to do things to get labor going. There's tons of tips and tricks out there but here are 3 quick things you can do that can help baby drop into position if that's what is keeping labor from starting.
A friend of mine recently had a blessingway ceremony as part of her baby shower. For those unfamiliar with blessingways, they can be a beautiful way to offer guidance, support and community to mamas as they prepare for their birth. They can be as simple as a circle of friends sharing stories and wisdom or can be much more elaborate in offering ceremonies to nourish and honor the mama-to-be. Something I've seen many times is the creating of a bracelet for the mama-to-be with beads offered by each participant and a blessing to go along with it. The beads can then be made into a bracelet or necklace that the mama will wear during the birth to remind them of the community supporting them.
I like to play music in my studio taught Prenatal Yoga classes and often after class a mama will come up and ask about the music I was playing. Many folks are seeking a playlist that feels authentic to them for their labor, and there are times where yoga music can feel particularly appropriate.
Some of the music I've included below is very soothing and calming, other music has a beat and is more uptempo. I've included favorite songs and a few of my favorite albums. The nice thing about yoga music is that, in general, there are few lyrics which can be helpful for many people during labor. A lot of folks report finding lyrics to be distracting. As you're putting together your labor playlist I encourage you to check some of these songs and albums out, and please comment with your favorites to share with other mamas.
The pelvic floor is an extremely important network of muscles at the base of the spine that creates a hammock of support for the internal organs in the torso. As women we may have heard of the importance of pelvic floor tone for better sex (many of us have heard of kegels), but pelvic floor muscles are infinitely more important than that. They are helping hold all of our insides in. As the pelvic floor muscles lose their strength and tone we can start to experience issues like incontinence or worse.
In recent years, is has become increasingly clear that yoga has huge health benefits not only dot he physical body, but also in helping relieve stress and anxiety. Yoga has also become an important form of pregnancy exercise and yoga during pregnancy is something that can have many positive impacts not only for the pregnant mama, but also during the laboring process and subsequent childbirth. There are very few pregnancy workouts that will offer some of the benefits that yoga can have as you prepare for childbirth. Here are some ways that yoga will support you during labor and childbirth:
Cesarean sections are on the rise. In the United States it is estimated that around 33% of births end in a C-section. The World Health Organization estimates that on average 10% of births should end in a cesarean section. Why is it that the US is 23% higher than the suggested rate?
Don't get me wrong, Cesarean sections are life-saving medical procedures that can be invaluable in cases where the mother or the baby is in extreme distress. As someone who had an emergency c-section I can attest to the fact that there are certainly times when a c-section is both valuable and life-saving. However, given the impacts a Cesarean birth has on the mother and on the baby one would wonder why the rate is so high above WHO standards. I believe one of the reasons for this high rate is general misinformation or a lack of education around birthing options and practices that are available.
Wisdom and insight with a dash of humor to help guide you on your journey through motherhood.