It’s easy to get caught up in all the lists of “things to do” to get ready for a new baby. But taking regular time out to stop the “doing” and to shift into simply “being” is key to preparing for labor. Prenatal yoga is one of the best ways to slow down, breathe consciously, move with purpose, and connect with baby.
Research shows that a regular practice of yoga during pregnancy can:
- Improve sleep
- Reduce stress and anxiety
- Increase the strength, flexibility and endurance of muscles needed for childbirth
- Decrease lower back pain, nausea, carpal tunnel syndrome, headaches and shortness of breath
- Decrease the risk of preterm labor, pregnancy-induced hypertension and intrauterine growth restriction — a condition that slows a baby’s growth
(Source: Mayo Clinic)
Some childbirth classes, like Happy Birth Way’s Yoga and Birth class at Yoga Village, combine the left brain, logistical information about labor with the hands-on practice of yoga positions, deep breathing, meditation, and positions and massage for labor. During labor itself, because of the change in hormones, women tend to forget a lot of the left brain information, but their bodies remember how to move and breathe if they have practiced them during their pregnancy.
Think conscious breathing is too hard? Give it a try, with Happy Birth Way’s Humming Breath, which you can download here. You’ll find that it almost instantly soothes and calms, even at the most stressful times. Since we take our breath everywhere, we can practice conscious breathing everywhere!