Have you thought about labor yet? We bet you have, especially if you are in the third trimester of pregnancy. It’d be hard not to, since delivery is at the end of a very long race for a pregnant woman. Did you know that yoga practice can help with labor and delivery of your son or daughter? If you haven’t thought about the benefits of yoga during labor and delivery, give us a minute to tell you why yoga is amazing.
What Is Yoga?
Yoga has been practiced in Asia, specifically in India, for thousands of years. Yoga helps to strengthen and tone the body while focusing the mind. Yoga involves breathing and meditation while you stretch various muscles in your body. There are many different kinds of yoga practices, but all of them have the same goal, to continue to stretch your mind while you are stretching your body for overall wellness.
Benefits of Yoga During Labor
Perhaps the biggest benefit of practicing yoga is that you have more confidence in your body, and your ability to breathe during labor and delivery. Breathing is a very important part of the delivery process. Breathing deeply allows your muscles to relax, which actually makes delivery much easier for you and the baby. Breathing also allows you to focus and calm your breathing pattern. Many women breathe faster when they are in pain, but breathing more slowly may help you fight pain effectively.
Another huge benefit to yoga? Yoga helps to strengthen your lower back. This is important, because nearly all of the labor you’ll go through happens in your lower back. You use your lower back and abdominal muscles to push, so the stronger they are, the better you’ll be able to push your baby out of the birth canal. This works to make labor shorter for you–and who doesn’t want that?
Yoga also improves your focusing ability during labor. Because labor and delivery is a journey, a lot of women lost focus along the way–which is only natural. Practicing yoga breathing helps you to focus your mind on the task at hand–delivering your baby. When mothers are focused and calm, researchers have found their labors are usually shorter than women who are not calm. The better you can control your breathing and the calmer you are, the better for your baby.
Finally, yoga helps give you stamina. As we said earlier, labor and delivery are not a sprint–in reality, labor is a marathon, and you’re in it for the long haul. This means that labor itself is exhausting. Many women say it is one of the most exhausting and exhilarating experiences they have ever had. You’ll want to make sure you have the stamina to see it through. Because yoga is not a 15 minute spin class, but a longer period of stretching and relaxation–between 60 and 90 minutes in general, yoga helps give your body stamina so that it can power through your labor and come out the other side.
If you’re not sure what kind of yoga practice to try, we’d like to suggest you try more than one type. There are usually prenatal yoga classes offered as well so that you can specifically work on practices you’ll need during labor.