The Benefits of Yoga in Pregnancy & Labor
Staying active during pregnancy is linked to some major benefits, like lowering the odds of delivery complications, boosting your mood, and fighting fatigue! Celebrate Birth is a strong advocate for staying active during both pregnancy and labor because it helps lessen both the perception of discomfort and the factors that cause the discomfort in the first place.
One great way to get your body moving is yoga!
Why It Is Important
According to research, freedom of movement leading up to and during labor can greatly help ease the process and make it less tiresome for the mother. Staying active and moving around during the first stage of labor can really help relieve some of the discomfort that is more evident if you’re just lying down, doing nothing. It has also been seen that restricting movement is associated with longer, more uncomfortable labor and is associated with worse pregnancy outcomes.
Reasons to Practice Yoga in Pregnancy
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- Enhances flexibility and makes the pelvis more relaxed for a smoother decent
- Strengthens the pelvic muscles so mothers can push with adequate force
- Prevents back pain and incontinence during the postpartum period
- Helps regulate breathing and prevents exhaustion during labor
Movement During Labor
During the first stage of labor, we encourage mothers to move around as much as they’re comfortable with. Depending on your energy levels, you can do anything from short walks to stretches or even yoga! This can help improve your sense of control and reduce anxiety that might be aggravated by inactivity. Whether you choose a home birth, hospital birth, or birth center birth, do what feels right for your body!
Some Of Our Favorite Labor Yoga Positions
While there are numerous yoga positions you can practice during pregnancy and labor, some of our favorites include:
Performing squats during pregnancy is perfect for maintaining and strengthening your range of motion in your hips, glutes, core, and pelvic floor. It can also help during the second stage of labor when you need to push. It helps open your pelvic outlet wider and also uses the effect of gravity to aid the process.
This is a useful pose to help relieve back pain and optimize the fetal position. Try out this pose early on in your pregnancy and even right up to labor!
Wall Lean/Shoulder Stretch
You can practice this pose both prenatally and during labor. It helps to take some pressure off your back while using gravity to encourage fetal descent.
If you like the sound of prenatal yoga, feel free to try some of these positions during your pregnancy – you may find that they’ll be helpful in labor as well! If you have any questions about staying active in pregnancy or being mobile during the birth, let your midwives know and they’ll be happy to help.