YOGA DURING ACTIVE BIRTH

21 Dec

YOGA DURING ACTIVE BIRTH

(Please try under the guidance of your doctor)

PREPARING FOR CHILDBIRTH

Birth is a natural, miraculous experience. A woman’s pelvis is uniquely shaped to form a curved canal for childbirth and we are biologically equipped with the physical, mental and emotional resources to face this great challenge. Through the practice of yoga, expectant mothers discover their own body wisdom to cope with fear and face the natural stress and pain of childbirth.

The experience of all women is different. While yoga supports active and natural childbirth, some women may choose or require medical intervention or support for the experience. If this is the woman’s choice or necessity, yoga will help her to accept this and make the appropriate choices with confidence ad equanimity.

Practicing yoga does not guarantee an easy passage to childbirth or motherhood, but it does provide us with tools to support ourselves and fully access our own inner resources in this process.

FIRST STAGE OF LABOR

The first stage of labor, focus on relaxation is vital. Now is the time to use the techniques we have learnt during pregnancy including full body breathing, meditation and visualizations.

The Breath

When a contraction commences, focus on the exhalation, breathing out as long as possible through a soft mouth. During inhalation, visualize the body being filled with a natural painkiller and send this to the site of the pain. Use vocal toning sounds – soft sighing sound and brahmari breathing to focus on the exhalation.

TRANSITION STAGE

Sometimes women experience a transition period at the end of the first stage of labor when the cervix is not fully diluted. It is essential not to push at this point. Combine visualization with breath to help control the urge to push. Take short, puffing breaths, exhaling a personal mantra such as ‘I – will – not – push – yet ’

SECOND STAGE OF LABOR

The second stage of labor commences when the cervix is fully dilated 10cm). It is now that the urge to push comes with each contraction.

The Breath

On feeling the urge to push, inhale, hold the breath for a few seconds and centre the awareness. From this feeling of centredness, breathe out with a long, slow, strong breath and allow the baby to ease down through the birth canal.

Between each urge to push, check that the mouth is soft and relaxed. This will relax the pelvic floor too.

Between contractions, drink in deep, refreshing breaths to recharge the body with prana and help manage the next contraction.

Feel the joy of the imminent birth wash over you G you will soon be holding your baby in your arms

DELIVERY

When the baby is ready to greet the world, you may feel several urges to push in one contraction. Your midwife will guide your breath and movement, so listen well and follow instructions. Focus on keeping calm, relaxing and visualizing the baby’s safe passage into the world.

The midwife will oversee the birth of the placenta while the parents meet their new son or daughter and  welcome this precious new soul to the world.

POST PARTUM PERIOD AND PUERPERIUM

The post partum period refers to the time immediately after the birth, while puerperium from the Latin ‘puer’ meaning child and ‘parare’ meaning to bring forth) is the sixGweek period following the birth. During this time, the reproductive organs rapidly return to their prenatal condition.

During this time, women should engage in only the gentlest yoga exercise under the guidance of their doctor.

In the first week following the birth, safe yogic exercises may include:

  • Walking short distances
  • Slow, deep abdominal breathing
  • Pelvic floor toning very gently
  • Rotating wrists and ankles
  • Relaxation and meditation

By the second week, under the guidance of a doctor, safe yogic exercises may include:

  • Holding the knees to the chest
  • Gentle abdominal toning
  • Gentle side stretching, chest opening and spine extension from a seated position

By week six, under the guidance of your doctor and in the absence of medical complications, many women may be ready to return to a gentle postnatal yoga practice.

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