As a mama to be and a passionate Yogi I know how delicious a Prenatal Yoga class can be. I’m
Sarah, I’m 30 weeks pregnant - my little boy is due on New Years Eve! I’m a qualified Yoga
Teacher and Reiki Healer and I’m really passionate about bringing these healing practices to
women through all of their life journeys, including pregnancy.
Prenatal Yoga offers so many gorgeous benefits - a deeper connection with baby, a more relaxed state of mind, feeling more stretched and open - the list honestly goes on and on. Plus it’s time to yourself to rest and restore - what more could you want!
One of the most precious benefits of Prenatal Yoga is that it prepares a mother’s body for birth.
Birth is possibly both the most daunting and the most exciting part of pregnancy. Meeting your Dream Baby is going to be a blissful and special moment, but we can’t skirt around the fact that there’s a fair bit of
work involved to get us to that first Bub cuddle.
In this article I explore some of the birth preparation benefits that Yoga brings, the top Yoga poses for birth and how Yoga can be used beyond a physical practice to help mums navigate through their labour.
Yoga for birth: why you need to start practising.
Flowing through a Prenatal Yoga class can provide both physical and mental benefits. Here I’ve listed a few but there are many more:
Yoga promotes relaxation and helps to manage stress. If a woman can manifest this during her practice and take it off of the mat and into her labour she might be able to stay more calm and reduce any anxiety that arises with her contractions. Plus, Yoga and breathing techniques can work magic for pain management.
Yoga improves overall stamina. Which is definitely needed during birth! Energising and strengthening Yoga practices are so beneficial for the cardiovascular system and strong standing postures can strengthen a woman’s legs. All of which will help with energy levels during birth.
Yoga increases strength, flexibility and agility. It can get mum into the best possible shape for the challenges that labour might bring. Plus, it will help her body to recover more quickly after Bub has arrived.
Deep toning of the birth muscles. Including the muscular walls of the uterus and pelvic floor, all of which will help to welcome baby into the world.
Helps a woman to birth consciously and powerfully. Conscious relaxation techniques help mum to stay present, relax and refocus her energies during birth. She can use Yoga tools to stay calm and grounded and this will in turn have a positive effect on Bub.
Yoga can empower! Yoga practices can help mum develop the mental and physical strength needed in preparation for the challenges ahead helping her to face them with courage. It also encourages the yogic quality of surrender and acceptance if things don’t go according to plan.
Yoga poses to prepare for birth
A regular Prenatal practice with a qualified teacher is advised but here are three poses that are
proven to be good in preparing a mother for birth (there are lots more!) :
Wide legged seated posture (Upavista Konasana).
You can either take this seated at a wall sitting up onto a blanket or block if needed or you can gently fold your torso forwards resting your head or forearms onto a chair to get a deeper stretch. This pose will open and stretch the hip, groin and hamstrings great for creating space for baby to come into the world.
Warrior 1 or 2.
The powerful Warrior poses develop strength in the legs and help mum to build up her stamina which will be so important during birth.
Yogic squat (Malasana).
Perhaps one of the most traditional Prenatal postures, the Yogic Squat opens the pelvis and stretches deeply into the hip joints. This is also a good pose to adopt during labour to help the energy flow downwards and baby to come out.
Beyond the physical practice
Many people assume that Yoga is all downward dogs and warrior poses but it goes far beyond this.
Breathing techniques, or Pranayamas, and meditation are very much part of a well-rounded
Prenatal Yoga class.
Specific breathing techniques can help to create deeply healing and peaceful states, they can aid
concentration and focus the mind inwards during labour. During birth we need to learn how to relax
and breathe out to open to the process, to ride the contraction waves and birth our baby.
Birth is the ultimate practice in letting go and surrender and will happen much more organically if we can draw on breathing techniques, meditations and visualisations to soften the pelvic floor and ‘breathe’ the baby out.
Pack your yoga tools into your hospital bag
Unfortunately, there are never any guarantees as is always the way in life! A regular Yoga practice
won’t automatically make for an easy birth - the type of labour you experience may depend on
many factors which are beyond your control.
However, Prenatal Yoga will equip you with tools that you can pack into your hospital bag, take
with you into birth and draw upon whatever your labour experience might be.
Here is a list of yoga props I intend to have with me when I give birth
Practice with me
I’m based in Surbiton and I hold both in person and virtual Yoga and Reiki sessions, if you’d like to
Prenatal meditation on The Dream Birth Co’s IGTV on 26th October at 10am. This meditation will help to ease any overwhelming feelings, create a deep and beautiful connection with your baby and help you to find more support. See you on the mat mamas!