Benefits of Yoga for Pregnancy and Labour

I have always loved children, but it is not until I became a Mother, I could realize how magical it is to welcome a little Angel appearing into this world and watch him or her grow and develop every day.

For me this wonderful bond started when my Husband and I discovered that I was pregnant. The time of pregnancy is a period when the connection between the mother and the Baby is as strong as it will ever be again.

I won’t go into the detail, but I used to fear Childbirth, since my Childhood, even if it sounds strange. Just because my Mother has been telling me all my life how bad her experience with me was. All because she went into this totally unprepared, without any preconception what was waiting for her.  So I am very grateful to my Mother for that, because her example inspired me to learn so much and to prepare as best as I can to ensure that I have a natural childbirth, working in unison with our Baby to get him out into this world and being totally aware of the process. I was determined to read all the books about natural childbirth with an attitude that I should prepare as best as I can, and then leave it up to nature.

I am very grateful to my midwife, who recommended me these two books:

1)      Hypnobirthing by Katharine Graves.

2)      Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin.

My experience with hypnobirthing was very positive, I have been practising it with my Husband during the pregnancy, and when the magical time came, my Husband helped me so very much by reminding to “blow that balloon” during the surges.

I would like to highlight these books as well:

3)      Grantly Dick-Read “Childbirth without Fear”. Pioneer of the natural childbirth. His techniques were believed to be used by the Queen Elisabeth II.

4)      Michel Odent “Birth without Violence”. A Maître of natural and kind childbirth. He explains the process not just from the Mother’s perspective, but from the Baby’s (what the Baby feels).

5)      Michel Odent “Art of giving Birth” .

This book deserves special attention. It comes with a CD, and you are supposed to practise the tambourine singing starting from the 2nd trimester, to be able to apply this during the surges. So I did, even without 100% believing it would give me a benefit. My Grandma-in-law, when she heard me practising these sounds, said that when the time came, the Baby would just want to pop out as fast as possible, just because this singing sounds absolutely horrible. We laughed about it. But the truth about it is I did apply it when the time came, and it did help us! The singing releases endorphins, and you go through the surges so very differently!

We actually wanted to have a home childbirth, but it was not possible. Still we were very lucky to have a water birth at King’s Mill Hospital. I can’t thank the team of wonderful midwifes enough, and particularly Mary and Lesley who were there with us. We are very blessed to have such a lovely experience, and to be able to leave home with our baby on the same day.

Apart from all these techniques, I believe that my childbirth would not be possible to be as it was, if I didn’t practise yoga all the way through the pregnancy and labour.

During pregnancy, yoga helped me to:

–          Maintain health and well-being.

–          Boost energy and refresh me when I felt fatigued. Stabilise emotions.

–          Better adapt to the physical changes of my body.

–          Learn to listen to my Body and the Baby. Build strength and flexibility.

–          Build a closer bond with my Baby – every day, and every breath. They say that with the first child a Mother is born, while with the second – a child. I believe, thanks to yoga, I could feel the motherhood earlier – by being aware of the miracle happening inside my body, and by connecting to our Baby by various breathing techniques.

–          Generally feeling better. Growing baby is sometimes being compared to inviting an Elephant into a tiny room, where everything is perfectly organised. All the internal organs are in their places, and then the Baby comes and moves everything inside. Sometimes it might be a bit uncomfortable, and yoga helps to create more space for the growing Baby.

–          To prepare for the childbirth mentally.

During labour, yoga helped me to:

–          Move easier through the surges, by both certain exercises and breathing. Since I practiced these techniques all through my pregnancy, they came naturally to me when the time arrived.

–          Feel a better connection to our Baby during the process.

After Childbirth yoga helped me to:

–          Get back to my shape.

–          Heal more quickly.

–          Build a special bond to our Baby via Baby yoga (I might cover this in detail at a later date).

So yoga was definitely beneficial for me to achieve a natural childbirth without any medication at all. If you asked me to do the same again tomorrow – I would without any doubt. It has been one of the most empowering experiences in my life so far.

There is no guarantee that everybody who regularly practices yoga will have a quick and easy delivery. But it will definitely help to have to accept whatever happens, trust your own instincts and relax so that labour can progress more smoothly.

I wish all those who are blessed to expect a child, to enjoy this very special period of your life, being so close and connected to your Baby on all the levels and to have the most satisfying Childbirth experience welcoming our son into this world.

Here is Feedback from one of my clients, a Mum with 3 kids, who lives in Rotterdam:

“My 3rd child was born 2 weeks ago and I delivered normally after 4 hours of contraction. It was an amazing experience, I went through the labor with calm and confidence and I felt fully recovered after 4 days of delivery.

At the beginning of the pregnancy, I felt very nervous as the experience with my first 2 children were not easy (c-section and with epidural support). But from 16 weeks of pregnancy, I was lucky to have Tatiana from Alamba yoga as my yoga instructor. We skyped weekly and Tatiana guided me through the steps to prepare for my labour: from breathing to the movements for my neck, hip, pelvic floor, relaxation… The exercises gave me more flexibility and prepared me to welcome the labour with calm, confidence and made me believe that I can deliver normally without suffering. I appreciated a lot the professional, step by step guidance from Tatiana based on her certification training knowledge. Being a Mum herself, I could feel the connection between us with empathy and understanding in her guidance. It was really a great yoga journey and I cannot wait to continue with Tatiana for the “Mum and Baby” yoga sessions in the coming months.”

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