Prenatal Yoga… and the Duration of Labor

I finally started my prenatal yoga routine up last week and started off fresh with it this morning. What came to mind immediately when I started it, and what continues to go through my mind is “this is just like coming home.”

I have done the same yoga routine through all of my pregnancies – the first three and now in this fourth pregnancy. I use the book [raw]Prenatal Yoga and Natural Childbirth[/raw] by Jeannine Parvati Baker and I cannot be more pleased with it.  In addition to the wonderful yoga routine it has Jeannine's birth stories and some of her thoughts in it and it's truly enlightening and refreshing.  And thought-provoking.

Prenatal Yoga Benefits

I find yoga to be an ideal pregnancy exercise, coupled with walking.  I think swimming would also be lovely but I've never had a place to swim during my pregnancies.  But all three of these activities are gentle and stimulating at the same time.  Yoga and swimming especially help you to be flexible and work on your breathing.  Yoga excels in letting you focus on certain muscles and ligaments to prepare for birth.

I think that my yoga routine has helped me keep my body soft and flexible right up to labor and it has helped me get ready for labor.  It's especially good at helping me get used to squatting, which can be a helpful position during birth.

Another thing I like is the quiet moments yoga gives me.  Moments I can look inwards and focus on the new life within me – something hard to do sometimes in a busy home.  And I take the time to pray about mid-way through my yoga routine and that is so wonderful for me, a time to pray specifically for my new child and his/her health, my health, and also for a good and safe birth.  Often I find the minutes slip away before I say these daily prayers, but my yoga routine gives me the time.  And I think that's helped me have three wonderful births 🙂

In my yoga book Jeannine says something that I've been pondering over today:

“Nowadays I understand that real labor begins at conception and that it takes about 9 months to give birth.”

This profound statement rings so true.  It takes all of the nine months to prepare for birth and for the new baby coming.

Reflection and Preparation

For me it is a time of caring for my body and preparing my body.  It's a time of deep inner reflection which inevitably brings to light some weaknesses to work through, and it reminds me of my strengths and teaches me of those I didn't know I had.  It is a part of labor

Even this pregnancy, my fourth, is already teaching me new things.  It's helping me turn a new eye to the children I already have here, and to work through issues with them (a THAT can certainly feel like labor!)  Pregnancy and birth are such an amazing time, and I feel really blessed to have the resources to realize what a gift they are.  I'm glad for the quiet moments yoga and relaxation give me to reflect.  And I'm glad for the challenges of this time that make me realize I need to change and grow.  I am glad for this journey, all nine months of it.  For the entire labor of love 🙂

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About the author 


Kristen is childbirth educator, student midwife, and a mama to 8 - all born naturally! She has spent years helping mamas have healthy babies, give birth naturally, and enjoy the adventure of motherhood. Find her on her website and helping families through her online childbirth class

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