I was in a semi-private hospital room snuggling with my newborn daughter when the first in a series of curious nurses popped her head in from the hallway. The nurse gazed at my baby and me in wonder, then whispered what would become a familiar question: “Are you the one that had the three hour labor?”
Thanks in part to prenatal yoga, my birth experience was an unusually easy one. The labor didn’t last for more than three and a half hours, but it resulted in a healthy and completely natural birth. Not bad for a first-time mom in her mid-thirties! A certified instructor of prenatal yoga, I’d known the incredible benefits it offered me, but even I was surprised at how quickly and painlessly I delivered. In the end, I’d taken no drugs, endured no complications and suffered only the slightest amount of swelling.
Prenatal yoga helped me throughout my pregnancy. In the first trimester, it improved my mood, eased my nausea, and allowed me to connect with my baby in the womb. Then as, my belly grew, I was able to stay mentally and physically fit for the rigorous physical job of labor. Pranayama breathing kept my blood pressure at a healthy low.
As my due date approached, I scaled back my practice, but I continued to reap the rewards of yoga. The practice helped me to relax as my labor started and kept me present with my breath as it intensified. I enjoyed a swift natural labor and a safe delivery of my beautiful baby girl Lucy. I will never forget her bright eyes looking straight into mine as she laid on my chest right after she was born.
Image Credit: Beth Lyons