Preparing your body for labor can facilitate the process, build confidence, and make for an easier, more satisfying delivery. Yoga is one way you can prepare your body and mind for the big event.
Following is some information on how Yoga helps with birth preparation, and how you can get started.
Yoga postures help your muscles become more supple and limber, 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.
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.
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.