The beautiful journey of pregnancy ends with the beginning of new life – MOTHERHOOD
I had blogged about my student, Revathy Sreekumar when she entered her 8th month of pregnancy. Revathy delivered a beautiful healthy baby boy, Ved last week. It was her first pregnancy. She was in labor only for five hours and had a normal delivery. Ved weighed 3.16 kg at birth.
“I practiced Yoga till the very last day of my pregnancy. It was completely safe and helped me deal with physical challenges which are expected during this period. Regular breathing exercises kept me fairly calm throughout the journey. It definitely made labor and delivery as smooth an experience as possible. “…. Says Revathy.
Revathy’s delivery could be clubbed with the multitude of other women who have had a normal delivery. But, in my capacity as a Yoga Therapist, and a staunch believer, I would contribute her perfect journey through pregnancy till delivery to her regular YOGA practice in forms of asana, pranayama, mudras etc. Moreover, a positive outlook, as a natural corollary to her practice, kept her free from any kind of pregnancy issue which is common during this phase.
Third Trimester – The pinnacle of this beautiful journey
Third trimester where fetus has almost developed in shape and size can be a little tiresome compared to the previous trimesters. Balancing issues, back pain and swelling can be common problems due to increasing size and weight of the fetus. This is also the time when your body slowly begins to prepare for delivery. A little alertness and a pinch of determination can help you sail through this journey gracefully. I am giving basic details of the some of the focus area of this trimester; you can click the highlighted link to get complete detail on that particular subject.
Stretch your spine: Increasing size of fetus can put lot of stress on the spine and this can take a toll on your lower back if the posture is not maintained upright consciously.
Marjarasana (Cat & Camel Stretch): Come on your fours (knees and palms on the floor); inhale lengthen your spine, push your hips and your head slightly up to the ceiling (hips and head getting away from each other); exhale drop your head and hips down (hips & head coming close to each other). Practice 10 rounds. Make your back stress free and supple.
Vyagrasana: Come on your fours (knees and palms on the floor); stretch your right leg out and parallel to the floor; bend your right knee by stretching your right thigh; inhale raise your head up (you are trying to get your head and toes close above your back; exhale get your head in and get your bent knee in (head & knee are close to each other near your stomach). This works on stretching your pelvis and releasing pressure from the back as the back is free from the weight of fetus due to center of gravity.
Uttan Vakrasana: Lie down on your back; bend your knees, keep your feet slightly away from the hips and knees apart from each other; exhale move both the knees to the right side and your head to the left; hold for a minute and change to the other side. This will release all the tension from the spine and help deal with back stress.
Lengthen Your Pelvis & Inner Thigh: Lengthening and strengthening of these areas are important as these regions play a crucial role not only during the whole process but also during delivery.
Side Kick: Come on your four (knees & palms on the floor), raise your bent right leg sideways up to the right; bring it down but without touching the floor, raise it up again. Complete 10 kicks and repeat to the other side. It helps lengthening and strengthening your inner thighs & pelvis.
Squat: Start with around 5-7 squats in the 7th month; increase it to 10 in the 8th month and gradually go to 25-30 squats in the 9th month (take your gynecologist advice for squats). Towards the end of the pregnancy, we increase the number of squats in order to allow the fetus to descent downwards and come to its correct position for delivery.
Duck Walk: Sit down in squat position and start walking in your room like a duck. Start gradually in the beginning of 9th month and increase as you proceed further in this month.
Baddhakonasana (Butterfly): Sit down on the floor; your legs are stretched out in front; bent your knees and place your feet together in Namaste position. This is again a good way for stretching inner thighs and pelvis and increasing oxygen rich blood to the fetus.
Upvista Konasana Modified: From Baddhakonasana, stretch your legs apart and away from each other as if you are splitting it apart; place your palms in front, walk your palms slightly in front, away from your body, as per your comfort, then place your elbows on the floor and hold the posture with normal breathing.
Viprit Karni against wall: Lie down on the floor close to the wall, ensure your hips are touching the wall and raise your legs up and place it on the wall. Stay there for 5 minutes or as per your comfort. This will help reduce swelling from the legs and will also release the stress from lower back. You can place a pillow below your back.
Strengthen your perineum for delivery: As baby starts getting ready to come out, there is tremendous pressure at the perineum area (the area between anus and vagina). It is important to strengthen that from the beginning itself.
Pelvic Floor: Take your attention to your anus, squeeze and release; do 10 times; move your attention to the vagina, squeeze and release for 10 times; now with full focus, take your attention to the areas between these two, hold and release for few rounds. Practice this as and when possible.
Oiling: As you begin to near your delivery, apply oil to the said area to ease the delivery.
Mudra recommended for delivery
Apana Mudra: In this Mudra, you touch your thumb to the middle and the ring fingers or vice versa. Maintain the touch for 30 minutes. If not possible to do so at one go, break it, into 15 minutes each, twice a day.
When in Labor – preparation for Normal DeliveryLabor is unpredictable. No matter how much you prepare, it may turn out to be different in real situation. If at all, you are determined enough to take charge during labor, few things can really expedite the process and lead to normal delivery (unless otherwise specified). Once in labour,
- Walk around briskly as much as possible
- Take support and do squats with legs wide apart
- Try and do duck walk as much as possible
Combine these three and continue to practice. You may experience miraculous results. The best result of regular yoga practice would be a quick recovery. Revathy had put on only as much as was required and is almost back to normal. Of course, her stomach area needs extra work for sure.
Enjoy this moment of a beautiful end (pregnancy) and a beginning of a new life (motherhood) that has pain, trauma, love, tears & memories. Check the details of asanas and also the videos on http://www.shammisyogalaya.com/.
Disclaimer: The above routine is for normal pregnancy and not meant for anyone with any kind of complication. Even in case of normal pregnancy, perform these in consultation with your gynecologist.
Shammi Gupta, founder of Shammi’s Yogalaya holds an MA in Yoga Shastra, is a certified Yogic Therapist and Naturopath, has completed an Advanced Yoga Course and holds a Diploma in Yoga Education from Mumbai University. She is a certified trainer from American College of Sports Medicine and holds an MBA in HR & MBA in Finance from The University of Akron, Ohio, USA. She conducts Health Awareness Workshops for Corporate, Yogasana Workshops for Athletes and Yoga Therapy Workshops on different medical issues for patients. Among the celebrities Shammi trains are eminent personalities from the film and television industry and corporate world.