Yoga helps us be mindful and present, to sit with ‘what is’ right now.
The pregnant body is incredibly wise, so we want to tune in to the body for the source of knowledge that it is. YogaBirthing teaches us to work with this deeply instinctual wisdom to help us birth as naturally as possible.
However, because birth throws up the unexpected, a key thing to learn through pre natal yoga is to ‘be in control of letting go of being in control’.
The strength and courage to do this comes from being prepared mentally and physically for whatever journey your birth ends up taking.
Many women think that they will birth ‘naturally’ with no preparation. Although this can happen, our western lifestyles have taken away nature’s lifelong body preparation for correct positioning of the pelvis and good tone of the pelvic and abdominal muscles.
To prepare their bodies for birthing, low risk pre-natal women should walk as much as possible (without undue exertion) and hold a squat (with good alignment) at least 3 times a day to tone and open their bodies.
On a physical level, YogaBirthing encourages birthing in upright positions such as walking, kneeling, supported standing, squatting, lunging and sitting with torso tilted forward. These offer many advantages:
Less Pain. When upright, gravity assists uterine contractions and the mother’s efforts to birth her child. In reclining positions the sacrum cannot move backwards to open the pelvic outlet and the baby has to be pushed uphill, against gravity, making an unassisted birth extremely difficult.
Upright, the sacrum can move back freely (opening the pelvic outlet up to 30% more) and the pelvic floor is evenly stretched, lessening the likelihood of tearing or an episiotomy.
For the baby, the risk of foetal distress is greatly reduced when the blood supply to the uterus is optimised in upright positions.
Free movement also encourages vocal toning (making low, vibrational sound) which can greatly reduce the perception of pain and is a wonderful tool to ‘ground’ you during labour.
Easier Breathing = More oxygen for mother and better blood supply to the uterus meaning baby will cope better (less chance of foetal distress leading to Emergency Cesarean).
3. Optimal Positioning: Being upright and in positions where the torso is tilted forward, the baby can move more easily into the optimal birthing position (OA). This is especially so when combined with pelvic rotations which help ease the baby into the birth canal. This is how belly dancing first evolved!
Power of Contractions. Upright positions also increase the pressure of the baby’s head on the cervix, helping it to dilate by stimulating the contractions. This may result in a shorter labour, lessening the risk of the mother becoming exhausted and the baby becoming distressed.
Minimal use of interventions, therefore, the risk of the side effects of drugs. The baby is more likely to be alert and responsive and able to nurse immediately, this in turn stimulating oxytocin and the delivery of the placenta.
On an emotional and psychological level, YogaBirthing helps us through our pregnancy journey and prepares us for birth with deep relaxation, visualisation, breath work and fear release techniques.
There is nothing quite like succeeding in bringing new life into the world naturally.
Woman feel empowered and newly confident, which bodes well for successful breast feeding, caring for baby, better recovery and less chance of suffering post natal depression.
There are high levels of endorphins and the ‘love’ hormone oxytocin flowing which deeply bond mother and baby; and a deep respect is formed for the wisdom and strength of the body that created and birthed another human being.
Ultimately though, we want to come through birth as well as possible with a baby that is as healthy as possible – no matter how that outcome is achieved. Having the grace to ‘surrender’ to what each moment in birth presents is actually the most effective of all birthing tools.
We really do need to “be in control of letting go of being in control.”