Kate and I have the pleasure of meeting and working with many beautiful pregnant mums at Bring it on Baby.
Our aim is to prepare each and every mama for a calm and confident birth - while knowledge of the body, the role of hormones and signs and stages of labour is key to facing birth with confidence, if taught in isolation without calming and centering techniques it can often lead to more anxiety in pregnant women.
Let's face it the thought of a 12 hour labour and up to 2 hours pushing can initiate fear in most first time mums to be - and I was one of those. Carrying twins to 36 weeks was effort enough and although I loved my pregnancy the thought of labour invoked excitement and anxiety. This is when I turned to my meditation and prenatal yoga practice to promote mindfulness and resulting inner confidence.
A regular prenatal yoga practice can help an expectant mum learn to face her birth with a sense of calm through breathwork, asana and mindfulness techniques. By learning to stay anchored in the present moment through awareness of breath and sensation in her body, a pregnant woman can learn to ride each wave of her contractions moment by moment, feeling the moments of calm and ease between each contraction. Staying present for each surge - without worrying or re-living what has come before or the number or strength of surges to come, will foster calm and a greater ability to cope.
Through her yoga practice, an expectant mum also learns to build confidence in her amazing strong body and its ability to grow, nourish and birth her healthy baby. Simple practices of mindfulness and breathwork like holding a chair squat at a wall or sitting with her hips on her heels with tucked toes (toes pose) and holding the pose as she breathes slowly and deeply for the length of a 60 second contraction can build confidence as she learns to focus on her full body breath maintaining mindfulness despite the sensation she is experiencing in her body. She learns to observe sensation but not react - preventing the fight or flight adrenaline raising response and promoting her relaxation response through slow extended exhales.
Like most things in life - practice is key, the more we take the time to sit and breath and observe without the need to fix or change anything the more natural it becomes for us to drop into this calm mindstate of simple observance, promoting a calm inner sanctuary in childbirth for our minds, bodies and babies.