Yoga for fetal positioning
Yoga practice includes repeated stretches of virtually every muscle. As muscles stretch with movement and deep breathing, so moves the fascia helping old imbalances eventually come into balance. Regular yoga will stabilize and strengthen the pelvis. Many poses must be practiced 3 or more times a week, but even weekly yoga is somewhat beneficial. I believe women with a regular practice both before and during pregnancy, with focus on stabilizing the pelvis during asanas, are likely to have well positioned babies.
Regular and correct postures are of course important to see results. See more pictures of poses when you click "Click for yoga." Study reference follow.
Whether yoga can increase optimal fetal positioning depends on how much balance can be achieved before birth.
Clare Welter, CNM with students in her Sunday prenatal yoga class. Read about Yoga and Pregnancy
Clare's Sunday prenatal yoga class now at 1 pm: St. Paul Yoga Center on Selby and Dunbar.
Hip openers, inversions, standing poses, bridge and legs up the wall... what does all of this do for birth?
Balance in the body includes balance in the womb. Balance is the first principle of Spinning Babies.
There are several ways to achieve balance, some with body workers and some with exercises the mother does herself. Yoga can be a social or private experience for the pregnant woman to learn about her body, her focus and to develop character. Yoga is practice.
Prenatal yoga is fun and gives you a chance to share with other expectant women. Find a good prenatal yoga DVD and keep up your practice at home.
Gail and Arleen run out of room for hip openers and have a good laugh.
Is yoga safe for pregnancy? Like with any exercise, some people insist on going from zero to 60 in 60 seconds and can easily strain a muscle. This tendency could strain a pregnant woman, too. So start slow, don't try to "look like the yoga model" on the magazine - she's been doing this for years. Pregnant women have more flexibility in joints, so move slowly into a position and try not to over extend.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons gives yoga the thumbs up for safe exercise in pregnancy. Click here to read "Pregnant Women May Benefit From Yoga Exercises."
So, as I was saying....
The point of stabilizing the pelvis before any stretch is to relax the large psoas (so-as) muscle pair that sweep over the pelvis and hip joint. See why the psoas is important in the Anatomy for Optimal Fetal Positioning.
Starting yoga in pregnancy for the first time is beneficial. Certain poses can stabilize the pelvis reducing pain in the pubis symphysis, reducing sciatica, hip pain and back ache.
I am ever so thankful for how your website has helped my doula clients and yoga students.
I look forward to your website updates. Your "3 Principles in Pregnancy" and "Rest Smart" have really shaped the core of my yoga teaching for pregnancy, just add in a few standing postures and yoga breathing and there you have it. Hope to someday make it to one of your trainings.
[The inversion illustration is] very helpful to show students what happens in the inversion.
Thanks for all you do, you are an inspiration!
~ Karen Prior, E-RYT, CD(DONA), LCCE, CBC
Prenatal & Postnatal Yoga - Breastfeeding Support - Doula Services - Childbirth Education
MAMASTE YOGA: Nurturing Mother, Nurtures the Child
Tel: (405) 474-3302
Hi! You are an inspiration to me. May I use your email (the applicable portions) as a quote on a page I'm developing for Spinning Babies and Yoga?
Its about time Spinning Babies had such a page.
I'm new at yoga, about a year and a half of occasional yoga. Yoga has given me ten years of life back, meaning I feel so much younger and better.
Clare Welter, CNM is a yoga teacher and many of her mothers take her weekly prenatal class which is open to all. I do see improvement in the births of women who do yoga 2-3 times a week, overall, but not universally. Trying to work out the “whys” and “why nots” is like solving a puzzle.
I believe the forward-leaning inversion helps the lower uterine segment to untwist (from using the accelerator, etc.) But we must also release the psoas muscle pair, and balance the pelvic floor. These are the three goals to good descent in labor.
I think the leaning forward inversion off the couch or stairs is important for women with posterior or breech babies, or histories of such positions, even if they are doing downward dog. I don't think downward dog lets the uterus hang freely enough, what do you think? I learned the forward leaning inversion from Dr. Carol Phillips, DC of Dynamic Body Balancing.
Bradley instructor Karen Bruce and a pregnant friend compare downward dog (that's Karen, in purple, in the back doing the down dog) and the inversion off the couch at a Twin Cities ICAN meeting. The friend doing the forward -leaning inversion should have her chin tucked and her head free. Leaning her forehead like this locks her fascia and cancels the benefit of the position....whoops! Karen's head is position properly.
On the left, this active variation of the cat cow pose will stabilize the pelvis, helping the pelvic floor and abdominal muscles. This is a picture of Sarah Longacre's yoga class (pre-Blooma).
The pictures that follow are of more yoga poses from Clare Welter's Sunday class:
Reclining on an incline is easier on tight hips for those just learning to relax to hip opening poses. While I usually discourage leaning back in my Rest Smart positions, However, its ok to lean back for yoga practice as long as you feel ok doing so. You won't be on your back for long. This stretch is a nice warm up and helps overcome the stiffness caused by sitting too long in front of the computer.
Keep scrolling down for a lovely womens' yoga video from Angela Farmer
Tessa stabilizes her ankles with the yoga strap to do a modified bridge pose. This pose strengthens the pelvis.
Below, the Downward Dog yoga inversion. Clare helps Sally in a modified Downward Dog using a chair. The strap helps Sally identify her leg muscles and realize that she can bring more weight to her legs and bring her hips higher and further back. Its used for a moment and released.
Further down, the class goes from Triangle Pose to Half Moon.
The final four pictures show Legs Up the Wall. Clare recommends this pose to all women, citing the benefits to the thyroid gland. Daily use of Legs Up the Wall Pose helps reduce swelling (edema) of the legs in pregnancy. Its very relaxing and makes a wonderful finale to a yoga session.
"...came across your site a few days ago, whilst researching OFP for my Pre and Postnatal Yoga TT course. I try to update it every few months with some statistics and info regarding C-section, labour positions, occasional products etc.
Thanks, Jane, for your kind words. I checked out your site and was surprised to see you in the locale of my mother's father's people! The Devon area is so beautiful! Yoga in Devon....that's awesome! And your website is beautiful, too! -gail
Here's a research study on yoga which found less premature labor, fewer women with high blood pressure and other benefits of yoga in pregnancy:
Efficacy of yoga on pregnancy outcome.
Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana (sVYASA), Vivekananda Yoga. Research Foundation, Bangalore, India. J Altern Complement Med. 2005 Apr;11(2):237-44
Angela Farmer's lovely perspective on Yoga for Women. I love this! Yummy! "Living in every part!"
Though I think sometimes the Patriarch is too much within, not without, and Angela notes this in her way, but that is besides the point. In fact, this movement is without point, but rather with Flow. Stay with the film and she begins to share her wisdom, observations, experiences and humilty on the feminine state of being with self and with yoga.
A co-venture video experience with Spinning Babies and Blooma Yoga! Coming Soon!
Spinning Babies; Daily Essentials For Pregnancy Video.
Together Sarah Longacre, international prenatal yoga instructor and birth doula, and Gail Tully, yours truly, created a unique instructional video for flexibility and comfort in pregnancy and to support better fetal positioning in time for birth.
Here are daily activities for stretching and balancing a pregnant body. Start early in pregnancy to prepare to make the most space for baby's best birth position and the most ease for mother's opening during the birth process.
We begin the program for women of average flexibility (or just plain stiff to start with) and beginner tips. But soon, you'll be ready to move freely! That's when Sarah brings the stretches all together into her easy to follow, playful, sensual, and flowing "Blooma Style" daily routine.
Sarah's "dance of opening," moves joints and ligaments to come alive under the delightful melody and percussions of Carin Vagle. This isn't about core strength; its about freedom of movement and creating space in the body.
Sarah plays along with Gail's little game of "Flashlight" to show pregnant women how to evaluate their own posture and positions. Smart Maternal Positioning helps baby snuggle their backs into the front of the womb for Optimal Fetal Positioning.
The Daily Essentials For Pregnancy includes tips for using Maternal Positioning around the house. Actual scenes in the bedroom, living room -and even the bathroom- gives practical instruction like no other video. You will be sleeping more comfortably immediately when using these tips. Within a week or two many pregnancy discomforts of the pelvis and lower back may be reduced when all these nurturing techniques are integrated into your daily lifestyle. Spinning Babies and Blooma Yoga-- a natural collaborative!
Spinning Babies Childbirth Preparation Class.
Soon pregnant parents around the world can take a Spinning Babies class from their own monitor! Join six couples as they learn the reason why Spinning Babies works and how it can enhance your labor and birth.
See techniques to do daily or weekly. Actual, real consultations with two couples right at our class location, one with a breech baby (head up) and one with a baby in a transverse lie (lying sideways).
Couples do the techniques together and show you how to do these at home.
Used alone or with the Daily Essentials, Spinning Babies Childbirth Preparation Class goes beyond the basics. Simple props show complex concepts sweetly. Little-known anatomy is linked to childbirth and the role of fetal positioning.
The section on labor discusses two labor patterns- the one "promised" in other books and the unexpected one associated with the posterior labor. Learn the common causes of long labor and techniques to help baby through the pelvis.
Be empowered; be prepared. After using this video throughout your pregnancy, while we can't promise, of course, you may not need the tips for labor progress. You can use that knowledge to help your neighbor. This video is all Spinning Babies.
Blooma Yoga Prenatal Yoga for AM and PM.
Warm up in the morning and cool down in the evening in two 30-minute sequences. Sarah Longacre shares her own blossoming pregnancy, Blooma style, to the exquisite music of Carin Vagle. Sarah's affirmations will carry you through labor with emotional strength and encouragement. Play this video when the others become too basic and you just want to dance and have fun. Wait, dance? Isn't this yoga? With Blooma and Carin Vagle, your spirit won't know the difference. Soar to greater freedom of movement. Bring your hormones into harmony with the day. Begin your day with serious play. Cool down at night with a sleep enhancing stretch before bed. This video is all Blooma!
Sarah's video is ready for you now! Get Blooma's AM/PM Yoga here
All three videos are professionally produced by Melissa Koch of Grey Duck Productions, with stills by Tanya Villano Photography, each of these three videos are dynamic on their own. Together they will enhance your pregnancy and labor experience with fun and empowerment in the most practical manner. Feel hope for your birth abilities, this is support for your journey. Gain the confidence and flexibility to fully bloom. I believe these videos carry the potential to bring your best birth dreams into the gentle reality.
Compassionately priced. Estimated Due Date for Daily Essentials March 2014; for Spinning Babies Parent Class, Fall 2014.