Whether you’ve had a difficult pregnancy or glided through the last nine months, when the due date comes…you’re ready to see baby.
Here are some recommendations for prenatal yoga sequences to be done right at the end of your pregnancy. In this way they can help you prepare for labor and even speed things along. They’re particularly useful if you’ve gone past your due date. Remember, yoga is a personal practice that brings us closer to understanding ourselves and our bodies, so if anything doesn’t feel good, stop and if something feels great, keep going! Also, always remember to take a moment to focus on your breathing and to warm up beforehand.
Walk, walk, walk, Goddess, walk, walk, walk, lunge
This sequence will get your blood flowing while strengthening your thighs and opening your hips. During labor, you’ll need all your physical and feminine strength, so [pq]use goddess pose as an opportunity to embody the feminine characteristics of strength[/pq], receptivity and power. It’s also a nice time to remember and visualize the strong women who have positively affected your life. Take about five breaths while holding Goddess, in the nose and out of the mouth (this is also the breath you should use during labor).
Be mindful to lunge forward with a different leg each time to keep the body balanced. Watch that your knee is directly over your ankle and squeeze your inner thighs towards each other to feel secure. Take about five breaths here.
The walks in the middle will reset the hips and give you a chance to settle your breath. If you need more walks in between, please take more. It’s important not to allow yourself to get too tired in the final days of pregnancy because you’ll need all your strength during labor. Try practicing this series for six minutes three times a day.
Hip circles on a ball
Opening your hips is key to inducing labor and having a smooth delivery. Allow the upper body to rest on the ball, helping release tension in the lower back. Now play with the hips and find what feels good on your body today.
Figure eights, puppy (moving your hips like a puppy wagging its tail) and gentle cat-cows (pictures below, without the ball) are all wonderful options. This is a great option if you’re feeling tired because it’s relatively low energy. (You can also sit on the ball making hip circles to work the thighs.)
A great addition to this sequence is having your partner or a loved one (or anyone!) gently rub your lower back. If you’re past due date they can focus on the pressure point “bladder thirty two” which can be found two finger widths from the spine in the depression above the buttock crease.
Your life is about to change in an exciting and overwhelming way, take some time in lotus to reflect quietly with yourself and build your mental strength. Place a blanket or pillow under your seat to elevate the hips above the knees, allowing the pelvis to slightly tint forward bringing baby into anterior position. Bring your legs to a comfortable cross legged position, now place your hands on your knees or belly and close your eyes. Bring all your attention to your breath.
See each inhale as welcoming your future with baby and each exhale as releasing all anxiety. Having an open and loose body will help relax the cervix and induce labor. Rubbing the belly in a clock wise motion or massaging the tender part between the thumb and pointer finger are nice options that help with induction.
Try mediating, or “focusing” on what your new life with baby will be like. It can hard to clear your mind and think about nothing, so this option will give the mind direction. Build a vivid moment for yourself of an experience ahead; it can be you thriving in labor, the minute details of your baby’s face, rocking your baby to sleep, introducing your baby to family and friends, etc. Find a happy place, and stay there. Focusing on the positive and “end goal” are crucial during labor.
These exercises will be helpful during the final stages of your pregnancy in helping baby begin his or her entrance into the world. Please do your best to enjoy the last few days with baby in your belly. You will have many experiences with your child, but the opportunity to carry and nourish them in your belly is an intimate bond. Try to remain present in the moment, connected to your body and most of all, trust in your innate maternal strength.