In my classes, I teach a short little series of prenatal yoga poses called “Birthing Room Yoga.” I learned the series from the excellent video, Yoga for Your Pregnancy by Yoga Journal and Lamaze. My rationale for including the poses in all my classes is that while academic/intellectual information is useful (and is my personal learning style), birth happens in your body and not your head—-lots of us are uncomfortable with our bodies, so I try to get people to use their bodies a lot during classes. This helps women become comfortable with using their bodies, plus gets them out of their heads-space and into body-space, plus each exercise chosen has pregnancy or birth related benefits. Physical work is important for partners too—-birth is a physical event (both for the person helping and for the partner watching the pregnant woman work during labor).
I didn’t learn this series of poses until after my first two children were born. I was interested to see that I used all of the poses (or variations thereof—I also show a variety of variations during class) during my labor with my first son—even though I didn’t call it “yoga” or consciously “practice” during labor. I think that is a powerful reminder of the wisdom we carry in our bodies—as long as there is space and freedom in which to do so, this “birth yoga” arises spontaneously out of our own inherent wisdom, no training required!
Here is the Birthing Room Yoga handout I give with the pose reminders! The pelvic circles are particularly good and can be done seated on the edge of a hospital bed while having fetal monitoring.