Yoga for an Easeful Birth: From Correct Baby Positioning to Endurance "Presence" Training

Guest post by Lexi Yoga

Giving birth is not an easy task. Getting pregnant, carrying a child in your womb and having to suffer the pains of childbirth isn’t something you can easily dismiss. Not all women can handle the pain and even if they can, they shouldn’t have to suffer so much during the time of childbirth. Anesthesia can be a solution, but this has side effects for the mother, so why take a chance? Instead, let nature help with relaxing activities like yoga. If exercise helps in terms of preparing the mother physically, yoga can be a way for the mother to prepare mentally, emotionally and physically as well.

The Benefits of Yoga During Pregnancy

Yoga is very helpful for a pregnant woman. During yoga sessions, various positions help to position the baby correctly in the womb. This in turn, makes it easier for the mother to give birth and give way for fewer risks during childbirth. Fear and anxiety may also be a possible emotion a mother can feel just by going through the labor process. A mother who is not prepared to handle or face these challenges may have a hard time going through childbirth. Yoga can help through meditation where they are taught to breathe, find peace within themselves, relax and stay calm even through the roughest of times. Yoga will also be physically beneficial, allowing the mother to prepare for more than just the pain of labor, but the back pains as well. Simple yoga poses will help in improving the flexibility of a mother, preventing the possibility of perineal tearing.

Yoga Poses Recommended for Pregnant Women

There are a wide variety of poses recommended for pre-natal situations. The cat pose is popular for prenatal as it helps to stretch the spine and the back, making it essentially beneficial for childbirth. By going into this all-four position, the pelvic is stretched as the sacrum flares out at the back and the pubic symphysis is given pressure, causing its expansion. Squatting is also another good position to prepare the mother for childbirth. Aside from opening up the pelvis, it’s a position wherein gravity can help to pull the baby down to the birthing canal. The downward facing dog can be a good position to practice to keep the leg muscles at ease during long hours of labor. This position can help to release the pressure from sacroiliac joints as well as stretch the spine to relieve the lower back of pain.

Where and When to do Yoga

Yoga has been recommended for women for many years now, so it will be easy to find a class or a clinic to take prenatal yoga sessions with. For those who are not comfortable in doing yoga with a bunch of other pregnant women, simple stretches and a do-it-yourself manual for yoga can be done at home. However, it is still recommended that a pregnant woman should have an expert to handle the yoga program or list of possible positions during the pregnancy to ensure that positions that may be harmful or dangerous for a specific mother is omitted. Every mother has different situations when it comes to their pregnancy and some may require more exercise, meditation and attention than others. Yoga for pregnant women can be practiced in as early as the first trimester of the pregnancy for maximum benefits during labor and childbirth.

Going through labor and childbirth can be a scary experience. You can help yourself and your baby get through the pain and experience through yoga, meditation, a good diet and exercise.

Note from Dr. Sara: Having birthed 2 babies of my own and delivered thousands of other women’s babies, combined with being a certified yoga teacher, I have personally experienced the glories of yoga for pregnant women. Yet, I believe also in choice–that you have many good choices for how to deal with birth, and yoga is one of them. For many women, an epidural makes a terrifying or painful labor possible to endure. No judgment. The beauty of childbirth, to me, is that women have a choice about how to greet the pain. While I fully support not medicalizing a woman’s experience of birth if that’s what she wants, I also felt that an epidural was a feminist invention when I saw my first one. Hurray for women’s full array of choices.

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