Every person, every pregnancy, every birth and every baby is unique. And how you choose to give birth, and care for your baby is your choice. Yes your choice.
You maybe sitting down reading this and thinking “Well I don’t feel like I have a choice,” as not much in the way of choice has been given to me by my care provider. You may feel inundated with information from friends, family, the Internet and TV or even every well-intended stranger in the street!
If the information you are receiving feels good and feels satisfactory then that’s great, however if what you are hearing and being presented with doesn’t align with your maternal instinct and birth preferences, you could be left feeling a bit confused. The question you may be asking is “How do I learn more about my options and/or alternatives?” Knowing this will make you feel that you are making empowered and informed decisions based on your pregnancy, birth and as a parent.
The BRAIN acronym below is simple tool of asking for more information on anything at all that you feel unclear about from your care providers, so you can move forward to making better-informed choices.
B – Benefits What are the benefits?
R – Risks What are the risks?
A – Alternatives What are the alternatives?
I – Instincts What is my instinct telling me? What is your gut feeling?
N – Nothing What if we do nothing? for 5 mins, an hour – a week?
And finally if there is anything out there that you would like to know more about be it homebirth, medical intervention, alternatives, support there are really good links to be found on my resource page.
“There is a voice that doesn’t use words. Listen” - Rumi
Yoga in all its variant forms whether dynamic or restorative have certain poses that just doesn’t complement a pregnant body. Poses such as back bends, deep twists, lying on your back are contraindicated in pregnancy. Any poses that put pressure on the abdominal muscles, such as wheel or bow pose, can contribute to abdominal muscle issues after the birth and obviously your belly will be growing making these poses uncomfortable anyway. Postures that involve lying on your back something as simple as shavasana, especially later on in pregnancy, are best avoided as this can reduce blood flow to the womb. Even breathing practices such as breath retention and kapalabhati are best avoided too.
Your body is just simply different, it may not look different in the early days, but it is. Your body is softening to accommodate your growing baby, with the help of a hormone called relaxin. This hormone softens the joints and the ligaments that has its own purpose in pregnancy however this can make you more susceptible to overstretching and injury so it is wise to consider the changes your body is going through and adjust whatever exercise regime you might be carrying out.
And this is why we have pregnancy yoga, phew !
Being pregnant doesn’t mean that you have to wrap yourself up in cotton wool, and you might be pleased to know that your body can still enjoy movement through appropriate or modified yoga postures for pregnancy.
Regular practice helps to deepen your understanding of the power of your body, strengthens your birthing muscles which all helps to encourage a healthy conscious birth.
Pregnancy yoga is not all about movement though, it is also about learning to soften and listen to your body, and creating connection and intention for a healthy and radiant pregnancy by simply finding space for yourself in your week to connect to your breath and your body. This connection to your breath and the breathing techniques taught in the class can help you to ride the waves of labour and to stay calm cool and collected when feeling overwhelmed. Feeling relaxed, in tune with your body, and finding the power of your own voice cultivates the optimal conditions for labour to move along with more ease and awareness.
And finally the best part of pregnancy yoga is the community that is cultivated amongst women all sharing a very special journey together. A time for women to connect and talk about what is on their minds, the practicalities of birth, how they feel, their fears, worries and hopes. So you can feel supported and empowered.