Yoga Before Labor
Preparing your body for labor with the use of yoga can build confidence, and make for an easier, more satisfying delivery. Yoga can provide you with relaxation, exercise to stay fit, and prepare your mind and body for the big event. This includes improving sleep, reducing stress and anxiety, increasing endurance of muscles needed for childbirth, decreasing lower back pain nausea, improving breathing, increasing circulation and strengthening joints..
As we began, take a moment and clear your mind. Once your mind is clear focus on a statement that will help you experience peace and chase those fears away. Here are just a few suggestions:
- I am enough
- Peace begins with me
- I am healthy
- I am capable
- I am strong
- I am present in the moment.
Now that you have chosen a statement that best fits you let’s embark on a journey to understand how yoga before birth can benefit you in the birth of your bundle of joy. The following outlines how yoga will prepare you for birth and how you can get started.
During yoga you will gently move your body along with your arms and neck through full range of motion. Props can also be used to provide support and comfort while sitting, sitting or lying on the ground.The yoga postures help muscles become more supple and limber, build endurance, and they gently tone muscles that are involved in balance. Yoga is also said to increase circulation, a very helpful thing for pregnant moms.
Easy on the Joints
During pregnancy, the joints can become quite stressed. The extra body weight and the shifting of your weight to the front, causes your skeleton to bend into slightly different positions (your lower back becomes more arched, for example). Also, hormones in your body “soften” your joints and loosen them in preparation for the baby’s exit through the pelvis. Yoga does not stress your joints and, in fact, may help strengthen them. Yoga is a low or no-impact form of exercise.
Many women who have labored naturally will tell you that deep breathing is key to pain relief and successful labor. Yoga teaches the connection between deep breathing and body relaxation – skills that can really help during labor. Specifically, Yoga teaches breathing techniques that are slow and deliberate – in through the nose and out through your mouth, involving your whole body in the process. This helps reduce shortness of breath during pregnancy and also help cope through contractions during labor.
Being able to breathe deeply may help women feel calm and peaceful when they might otherwise feel anxious and afraid. Staving off fear, say experts, is important to a successful labor and delivery. “Fear is the enemy of the body,” say some midwives.
One more benefit of deep breathing is that it provides extra oxygen for you and the baby.
Your Yoga classmates can be a source of comfort, camaraderie, and community. The class time may help you feel more relaxed and might provide some much-needed social time.
- Talk to your health care provider. Before you begin a prenatal yoga program, make sure you have your health care provider’s OK.
- Set realistic goals. For most pregnant women, at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity is recommended on at least five, if not all, days of the week
- .Pace yourself. You are pushing yourself to hard if you can’t speak normally while you’re doing prenatal yoga.
- Stay cool and hydrated. Drink plenty of fluids to keep yourself hydrated.
- Avoid certain postures. When doing poses, bend from your hips — not your back — to maintain normal spine curvature. Avoid lying on your belly or back, doing deep forward or backward bends, or doing twisting poses that put pressure on your abdomen. You can modify twisting poses so that you only move your upper back, shoulders and rib cage.
If possible, look for a Yoga class that is specifically designed for pregnant moms. Prenatal Yoga classes are geared toward the needs of pregnant women. But a “regular” class may do, as long as you let the instructor know you are pregnant.
You can also go online and do Yoga at home in front of your computer screen, or get DVDs and do them that way. Obviously, you won’t get the support of classmates, but you will have the advantage of privacy, and being able to switch classes and styles easily.
Another approach is to do Yoga in your own home with a friend, or in a friend’s home. This can be another fun way to practice this ancient art in preparation for birth.