This is Part IV of a four part series on how yoga can support you doing labor and childbirth. Haven't read the first parts? Go back and visit, Part I, Part II and Part III.
As I mentioned in previous posts, there’s no magic yoga pose that you can do in labor that will make things easier or less painful, but what you can do is yoga poses during pregnancy that will help better prepare your body for labor. I know I’ve mentioned it before, but think of it this way: you wouldn’t go out and run a marathon one day with no prior training, labor is the same thing. Yoga poses can help build strength and create opening in areas that will be post impacted by labor and childbirth. Here are the places of focus that yoga poses can help with to prepare your body for birth:
Opening the hips and pelvis: in general, creating extra space in the hips and pelvic region can be helpful for childbirth given the expansion that happens in the pelvic region to make way for baby’s descent and birth. Using poses to help open these areas can help prepare the body to open and stretch once childbirth begins. It can also be hugely helpful in creating space that can allow baby to maneuver their positioning if they’re not in an ideal spot leading up to or during labor. Here are some yoga poses that can help you with that:
Strengthening the legs: if we look at mainstream media’s vision of birth, birth happens lying down. For most laboring folks, however, that is not the case. Labor happens in all sorts of different positions including side-lying, hands and knees, squatting, sitting and standing. Doing work to help strengthen the legs can be immensely helpful during our pregnancy as we start to carry more weight around in our bodies, but having the stamina and the strength to use our legs in labor can be immensely beneficial. Here are poses that will help build leg strength:
Deep squats: squatting in general is a huge part of labor for many people. Some folks find squatting during labor to helpful, some people will birth the baby squatting. On a physiological squatting creates more space in the pelvic outlet for baby to travel through and can also align the pelvis much better than lying down can for the birth of baby. The tough thing? Squatting for long period of time is hard! There are lots of ways to do supported squats in labor and childbirth, but building strength in the body beforehand can make a big difference in finding support and ease in those positions later.
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