Shannon and I trained with the same doula certification program, and we also shared the same doula! We met last year and I've enjoyed so much getting to know and learning from her. In addition to being a doula and birth photographer, Shannon is also yoga instructor here in the DFW area. She was kind enough to share more about how yoga can benefit moms during pregnancy and birth, something I can testify of first hand! Whether you participate in a prenatal yoga class or find some DVDs for learning at home, consider including yoga in your pregnancy prep. Your body will thank you for it!
I loved yoga before I got pregnant and didn’t realize how much it helped me through my labor and delivery until I completed my 200 hour teacher training 2 years after having my son. Now I tell anyone who will listen about the awesome benefits yoga can have for your labor and delivery!
On the most basic level yoga can help a mother get in touch with her breath. Learning to control your breath, or Pranayama, is vital for labor. When we get excited and start exerting energy our breathing tends to become short and shallow, making our muscles work inefficiently. By being able to control your breathing a mother can train her body, using her breath, to actually relax in a time of stress instead of tensing up. By being able to keep the breath calm a mother can control her heart rate better and avoid releasing stress hormones into the bloodstream that work against her during her labor.
When a mother is allowed to labor freely and move around she tends to place herself in various yoga positions that feel good naturally. Lunges, cat position, half downward facing dog, and child’s pose are all positions that seem to come naturally to a laboring mother. These and many other poses can be used to prepare for labor as well. They open and rotate the hips to allow the baby to get ready to pass through.
Yoga is all about mind, breath, and body control. As a doula I use these same ideas to help guide a mother calmly through her labor. A mother must mentally and physically be willing to open and breathe and allow her body to be a willing vessel for the delivery of her baby.
To be able to combine my love for birth with yoga is such a dream come true. To be able to share it with others is a most amazing blessing. Namaste.
Happy Birth Happy Baby