Up to the fourth month of pregnancy, you can practice those asanas that relax and tone up the muscles that help the childbirth process.
Right form conception till the fourth month of pregnancy, the expectant mother should regularly do the following nine types of asanas and breathing exercise as per their physical conditions, age, and circumstances:
- Surya Namaskar;
- Naukasana (supine);
- Aswini Mudra;
- Moola Bandha;
- Pavana Muktasana;
- Janu Sirasasana;
- Yoga deep breathing;
- Ujjayi and
- Anuloma Viloma Pranayama.
These asanas relieve tension, improve posture and eliminate constipation.
The expectant mother can remain in these asanas as long as they feel comfortable. Regular practice of these asanas will ensure easy childbirth.
These asanas include those that increase hip flexibility as well.
- Try practicing the asanas that require you to take the squatting position. This squatting position is an important posture aiding the childbirth process. Squatting strengthens the muscles in the pelvic floor and also prepares them for childbirth.
- The squatting position also opens up the birth canal during labor. It helps the delivery of the baby by first bringing out its head. Above all, regular practicing of the squatting position reduces the likelihood of the perineum getting torn.
- Mention may be made of Mandukasana and Utkatasana. These asanas in the squatting position boost the elasticity pelvis and the vaginal muscles. Such asanas further widen the sub-pelvic arch. The baby comes out from under this arch.
- Position 8 of Surya Namaskar especially during the early days of pregnancy will stretch the legs and the spine while exercising the feet and shoulders besides expanding the chest and promoting deep breathing.
- Sarvangasana is an ideal exercise for pregnant women during the prenatal stage. This asana stimulates the glands secreting hormones. It helps in regulating the body’s metabolism and shields it against the possibility of miscarriage.
- The pelvic girdle gets loosened up when you regularly practice Oordhwa Pada Hastasana, Trikonasana, Akarshana Dhanurasana, and Ardha Halasana. Similarly, the pelvic structure is strengthened by the regular practice of Baddha konasana, Supta Vajrasana, and Matsyasana.
To strengthen the lower back during childbirth practice Oordhwa Pada Hastasana.
- Ushtrasana will give you relief from low back pain.
- When you practice Trikonasana (variation) your trunk will be positioned sideways. This eases the weight of the baby inside the pelvic area.
- Janu Vakshasana makes you take the ‘All Fours’ position. Moreover, you have to keep your spine parallel to the floor and the abdomen will sag. This posture relieves the spine, legs, and pelvis of uterine weight. What is more, the internal organs fall forward freely during the ‘All Fours’ position. Since it stretches and counter-stretches the entire spine, you would get relief from back pain.
- Bhadrasana and Padmasana are especially recommended for pregnant women. These asanas develop the pelvic floor. They are also ideal during the second stage of labor (when the baby’s head takes shape) by loosening up the muscles.
- Mandukasana and Vajrasana are good exercises to position the fetus correctly during early pregnancy. They also prepare the pelvic floor muscles for easy childbirth. These asanas enlarge the pelvic diameter and make the pelvic floor muscles more elastic. When the pelvic diameter is enlarged the baby passes flawlessly through the uterus during delivery.
- Bhadrasana and Gomukhasana make the vulva muscles supple. This goes a long way in the fast enlargement of the birth canal and thus makes delivery easier.
To prevent the prolapse of the ovaries, uterus, and/or the rectum, you should practice Moola Bandha which exercises the perineum.
You should regularly practice the perineum exercises. They strengthen the pelvic, vaginal, and anal muscles. As a result, these muscles become suppler and stretch fully for the birth and also resume their normal positions. This obviates any possibilities of postnatal problems like a leaky bladder or a prolapse and also ensures an earlier birth.
The moment conception is identified one should refrain from doing anything that may adversely affect the position of the child.
Don’t do such asanas that require compressing of the foetus or strenuous stretching of foetus. So avoid Bhujangasana, Sarvangasana, Sirshasana and other such difficult exercises.
Avoid Bhastrika Pranayama and Kapala Bhati as well.
The primary concern of expectant mothers should be their health and the general well-being of the fetus.
Those women who may have had a child recently and whose back ligaments and abdominal muscles are still frail should not perform Ardha Halasana. Moreover, they should not sit up in bed with both legs kept straight.