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Yoga Poses to Prepare for Labor

Updated: Dec 16, 2021

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If you ask an expecting mother what is making her most anxious these days, chances are she will tell you her impending labor. Many consider labor the tumultuous culmination of pregnancy and the first step into parenthood. Labor and delivery are incredibly taxing on the body and mind. Although your body is built for delivery, it may not always feel that way.

Yoga can be a proactive tool in preparing you for labor. Yoga can help build your resiliency as you learn to stay calm under pressure and listen to your body's natural cues. You also address the physical task of labor and delivery. First and foremost, yoga targets the major muscles groups used during labor: the pelvic floor, hips, and core. These muscles tend to tighten up and weaken as we move through everyday life. In order for them to work effectively during labor, you must lengthen and strengthen them. Certain poses can alleviate back pain, relieve pressure, and prevent tearing. Finally, you are building stamina that will help you endure for hours on end. Below are some of our favorite yoga poses that you can use to prepare and call on for some relief during labor.

1. Cat-Cow Pose

You can use the Cow pose to stretch, strengthen the abdominal muscles, and relieve back pain; this will be especially helpful if you have back labor. First, get down on all fours with your knees directly under your hips and your hands under your shoulders. Start by facing the floor with your spine in a neutral position. As you inhale, move into Cow pose by dropping your stomach towards the floor while lifting your chest and chin. Hold that position for a moment. You should feel your shoulder blades coming together. Make sure to keep your shoulders down and not shrug them up towards your ears. Now exhale and move into Cat position by bringing your stomach up and rounding your back towards the ceiling. Let your head hang so you can feel the stretch through your neck and upper back. You can repeat the process as you inhale into the cow pose and exhale into the cat pose for maximum stretch and relief.

2. Deep Squat