Yoga and childbirth, exercises to relax the pelvic floor

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To make mothers understand that birth is a journey and that the child does most of the work: this is the goal of Lorena Valentina Pajalunga, author of the book The whole world in one belly. Yoga and mindfulness for happy moms and babies (Editions The Age of Aquarius).

The writer, founder in Del Paese of the AIYB (Associazione Del Paesena Yoga for children), specialized in Mindfulness counseling and in Neuroscience and contemplative practices, wanted to put on paper her knowledge of yoga applied to the preparation, birth and period that follows.

In particular, Pajalunga in the book proposes practices and meditations that help to reach awareness for future mothers and new mothers and useful sequences to face labor more prepared and to alleviate frequent ailments in pregnancy and post partum. We interviewed her for you.

Read also: Yoga for children

In this article

  • The whole world in one belly
  • The benefits of yoga applied to the preparation, birth and the period that follows
  • Are there any risks?
  • Is it possible with yoga to relieve ailments related to labor and post partum?
  • A few yoga exercises to prepare for labor

"All the world in a belly"

Lorena said that she has been teaching yoga for many years at the Vimercate hospital. "I have always had this job, dedicating myself in particular to yoga for children. The idea of ​​writing this book was born from having met many mothers in recent years not only in the yoga environment, but also in hospital prep courses. And these come from all over the world. 

When I was given this assignment, I wondered what I could give of my own. Then I put my idea into practice, which is that mothers don't need anyone to learn how to give birth, because women already have all the necessary knowledge within them. It is only necessary to reconnect to the Great Mother, as was done in the past, before the birth was medicalized and entrusted exclusively to the hands of doctors. In ancient times, childbirth was a "business" of women. We, in the hospital, do not teach anything that is not already in us, we simply start sharing and feeling part of a greater energy in a group ". 

Read also: Yoga in pregnancy: everything you need to know

The benefits of yoga applied to the preparation, birth and the period that follows

"Yoga, in my opinion, should always be practiced. Surely some women approach the practice only during pregnancy. The big word in yoga is awareness and never as in this historical moment can learning to feel what happens in us be important. This is what we teach moms.

There is another thing we make mothers learn when they are afraid of childbirth, besides breathing, meditation and bodily practices: we tell them to imagine the path their child is taking, because it is he who is doing the greatest effort. It is therefore a question of accompanying his path and understanding how much the mind can make a difference. What mothers and midwives tell us later is that this tool really brings benefits.

If we are together and we decide to let this transformative force of rebirth pass through us, everything will be less tiring and we will have greater awareness. According to yoga the body is a time that does not belong to us, but it has been entrusted to us and we must keep it at its maximum potential".

Read also: Yoga in pregnancy

Are there any risks?

"There are no a priori risks. At most we tend to wait for the third month before starting the practice, to ensure that the embryo is well settled, always obviously followed by doctors.

Only in the case of pregnancy complications can there be risks, and even in this case one can continue to practice that part of yoga that concerns the breath, the visualizations, the meditation ".

Read also: Yoga during childbirth, 4 exercises to relieve pain

Is it possible with yoga to relieve ailments related to labor and post partum?

"Certainly. In the book there is a part dedicated to the āsanas, that is, to the positions that are used to face all the work on pelvic floor, which in the period of pregnancy and postpartum becomes one of the great practices that can be (and it is important) to do. A good pelvic floor workout can help prevent a variety of ailments related to childbirth and postpartum.

The pelvic floor is a particular structure, as it has the characteristics suitable to perform two functions in contrast to each other: it must be tonic to support the pelvic organs and counteract intra-abdominal pressure, but at the same time it must be able to relax and dilate to allow the emission of urine and faeces, penetration during sexual intercourse and the exit of the baby during delivery, at which time he is completely involved.

The pelvic floor is therefore a sophisticated one together musculo-ligamentous: this makes us understand how important it can be, especially in women, to become aware of it and keep this fundamental part of the body efficient ".

Read also: How to teach yoga to children

A few yoga exercises to prepare for labor

It is very important, during pregnancy, to practice asanas and specific exercises to train and tone the pelvic floor, to prepare for active birth and to avoid complications. Here are two excerpts from the book. 

  • "EXERCISE TO RELAX THE MUSCLES OF THE PELVIC FLOOR. Execution: with your feet approximately 60 cm apart, squat down by lifting your heels into the facilitated position (also putting support under your heels). Lean forward on your hands keeping your arms and back straight and spread your knees as far as you can. Contract your pelvic floor muscles as if you want to stop the flow of urine. Hold the contraction for a few seconds then let it go slowly. Repeat several times. Combine movement with deep breathing, contract your pelvic floor as you inhale and hold the contraction by inhaling and exhaling again, then release the contraction as you exhale. Repeat several times. Do the exercise again, this time releasing the contraction for four strokes, little by little, like an elevator going down four floors stopping at each one. Repeat the exercise, this time visualizing your baby's head going through the birth canal in the expulsive phase. Each time you exhale, imagine blowing the baby out by relaxing the pelvic floor muscles. Benefits: during pregnancy it will allow you to become aware of this part of the musculature that is so little contacted normally. The exercises will serve to strengthen the ability to contract and relax the pelvic floor. In the post partum it will have as its fundamental purpose the recovery of the normal functions of this part. Only then will prolapse and incontinence be avoided, while maintaining a satisfying sex life-
  • PERINEUM MASSAGE. Get into a semi-sitting position with the help of a mirror for the first few times in order to look directly at the perineal area. Use a vegetable oil (wheat germ oil, almond oil, vitamin E oil, etc.). execution: slightly warm the oil by rubbing it between your fingers before starting because this attention will increase the spraying of the tissues. Apply a little oil directly on the perineum and massage up to the entrance of the vagina with small semilunar movements. If we practice the massage every day we will observe that we will pass from the initial difficulty of entering the vagina with the thumb to the gradual possibility of introducing it all. At the beginning the fabrics will be hard, rigid, then they will allow themselves to be ironed without difficulty ".
Read also: Yoga for children: 6 exercises to do together

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