Pregnancy and giving birth
Childbirth is a process that usually occurs in an unfamiliar place, at the hospital. To enable the delivery to proceed unimpeded, the woman giving birth has to feel safe and protected. Her partner can provide a sense of protection. A Doula - a birthing assistant, a familiar midwife, can accompany the mother in her special way.
Birth is not an expected event. Just like life itself: If you participated in a prenatal course, if you practice yoga during pregnancy, you can reach childbirth feeling more ready, more confident of your body and soul.
Nothing prepares us, in our ordinary life, for the intensity of this exciting process. The physical pain, tremendous excitement, joy and fear - everything comes in unfamiliar intensities.
Yoga Nashit - Mira Yoga for Women's Health can accompany you along the way, to your special childbirth. Whether you give birth with or without painkillers, have an assisted birth or a caesarean section, yoga can be there for you. Poses and movements release the pelvic basin, soothing and full breaths improve the amount of oxygen flowing to your baby and the uterus. The contractions will be more effective.
Practicing yoga during pregnancy will prepare not only your body, but especially your soul. Yoga teaches us to be with what is happening now, to breathe, and know that everything is changing – a painful contraction, fear, taking full breaths, knowing that it will pass. By listening attentively, you can choose what is exactly right for you at that moment, according to your strengths.
Poses for contractions and labor
When labor has progressed, in the early stages, standing poses are very effective, harnessing gravity and movement to help the baby descend and open the cervix.
Stand facing a wall and sway your hips, dancing a light belly dance, blowing and humming. Knees bent.
In the early stages, make sure that your heels turn outward, so that the back joint of the pelvis, the sacroiliac joint, will be open to allow the baby's descent.
Between contractions, relax everything and rest. Lie on your side or in yoga mudra and try to relax.
If it is difficult for you to lie down every time, place cushions on a chair and sit leaning forward, and put your head on the chair's armrest, buttocks almost in the air.
Stand in front of your partner, leaning on him and relaxing your pelvis. Lean on him and breathe. Again, make sure you heels turn outward and take long breaths.
Standing in front of a wall with one leg back:
Lean on the wall with your forearms, your back obliquely inclined to the wall. Put your right foot back and bend your left knee. Bring your right heel close to the floor. Feel the stretch along the right shin. Exhale. With the contraction, shake your hips according to your need. Change legs. When the leg is extended backwards, you improve the return of venous blood from the limbs to the heart. In this position, your lower back can be massaged with each contraction.
Walking can greatly speed up the early stages, but do not get tired and do not overdo it. Rest between contractions and relax.
Assistance during childbirth:
1. Your partner can massage your lower back and pelvis if it suits you. It is suggested that your partner learn the childbirth support massage in the prenatal course.
2. You must maintain poses that create asymmetry of the pelvis, such as swaying it, or bending slightly forward and to the side. This asymmetry allows space in the pelvis and the baby has more room to progress through the birth canal.
3. The uterus tilts forward with each contraction, and therefore, you want to lean slightly forward to allow its natural movement. Avoid lying on your back.
4. You need to find the right and appropriate balance between mobility and walking, and withdrawal, relaxation, and rest. You want to keep your strength for the advanced stages and not reach this stage exhausted because of excessive movement.
When the cervix reaches an opening of 4-5 cm, many women experience frustration and despair. Several hours have passed, and it seems that there is still a long way to go. These sensations are important during labor and are part of the process. They require you to relax, to withdraw, and find new strength from within. Crying is an excellent way for the body to release tension. The body softens and yields to the process. The cervix relaxes and will open more easily.
A warm bath or a shower is very efficient. The pain increases considerably and there is still a long way ahead of you. This is the time to use plants or Bach flowers, if available. Perhaps also a good massage with oils.
Allow yourself to yield to every contraction, to welcome it. It announces progress toward meeting your baby.
At this stage, sitting on a ball and swaying the pelvis would be very good for you. Your pelvis will be relaxed and the baby can move forward with each contraction.
Stand on all four and sway your hips as you practiced during pregnancy. Use breaths with a low sound. Focus on your cervix. Imagine the special journey of your baby.
At the end of the contraction, you can enter the pose of yoga mudra on the cushions, let go, and relax.
If the midwife agrees, you can give birth in this pose, while your pelvis is very relaxed. The circular movements help the baby come out into the world and the vagina is visible to the midwife so that the risk of an episiotomy is very small. The midwife can support and massage the perineum. At the end of the delivery, the baby will be placed under you, so that you can look at him or her, or you can sit down, and the midwife will place the baby on you.
Between contractions, you can sleep fully for a few minutes.
Standing on all four with one foot stepping forward: this is an excellent pose for pelvic asymmetry. With circular movements, forward or backward, the pelvis is relaxed and contractions become more efficient.
Rest at this stage can be in the vajrasana pose. The hips are relaxed and you withdraw with breathing.
If you kneel for a long time, release your feet back from time to time.
That's it, you've come a long way and can give birth.
The baby is very low, and the cervix is fully opened.
These are the best positions, provided you practiced them during pregnancy. Gravity is very effective, the pelvis is open and the baby can progress easily through the birth canal.
Lean on your partner, facing him: place your hands behind his neck as he inclines slightly backward with bent knees. With a contraction, you bend your knees and actually hang on him. Relax your pelvis and squeeze according to the orders of your body or midwife's. This time turn your heels inward so that the back joint of the pelvis will help in squeezing the baby out.
Lean on your partner, facing forward: with your back facing your partner, you lean on him and he supports you under your armpits. Relax with the contraction, long exhalations with a low voice and bend your knees.
Sitting on a delivery chair: if such a chair is available in the delivery room, you can sit on it in a complete kneeling pose. Your spouse supports you from the back.
Sitting on the bed: the headboard is raised, your spouse is leaning, sitting with his knees bent, and you are leaning on him between his knees. Your knees are facing toward the ceiling. With each contraction, your back straightens with his support from behind. He can support your knees so that they remain apart, while you blow and relax your pelvic floor muscles. At the end of the contraction, with his back to the raised headboard, you lean on him.
If the delivery room is equipped with a bar or rings, you can hang on them and really relax the pelvic floor muscles with each exhalation. This way, your back remains extended, gravity works efficiently, and your hips are loose.
It is important to keep your back elongated with each contraction, and not rounding it, to avoid activating the longitudinal muscle of the abdomen. The abs participating in the process are the diagonal abs, which operate effectively when the longitudinal muscle remains extended.
Lying on your back is not the most recommended position during labor. When you lie on your back, the weight of the uterus interferes with the normal blood flow in the body, because the aorta is pressed very hard. This interrupts the blood flow to the uterus and the contractions are less effective.
The womb naturally tends to tilt slightly forward during a contraction. When you lie on your back, it cannot do so because of the force of gravity.
In addition, the infant's descent is slower because the contractions are less efficient and there is no extra gravity.
Lying on your back locks the back of your pelvis, reducing its volume by 28%!!
If you need to lie on your back, for any reason, lie on your left side. In this position, blood will return to the heart more efficiently, the contractions will be more effective, and your pelvis will be a little more relaxed.
Your right leg is held above the body, your knee is bent, and with good support of your leg with each contraction, it is possible to bring it slightly closer to your shoulder. You blow and squeeze the pelvic floor muscles.
If you still feel the need to lie on your back, lift the bed headrest slightly and with each contraction try to raise your upper body to a sitting position. It is very convenient when your partner or supporter sits behind you and bends you forward during contraction. When the contraction passes, you can lean backwards and rest until the next contraction.
Your body is doing a great job thanks to the contractions. Pain is advancing you to the most exciting encounter of your life. Exhale long breaths, relax the pelvic floor muscles that you strengthened during pregnancy. Succumb to the contractions and let them open your cervix.
I highly recommend that you read the chapter on painkillers in the book Natural Birth to select the most suitable painkiller for you, based on your needs during delivery.