A couple of weeks ago, I was sharing with a close friend and yoga colleague how I came about to do the prenatal and active birth yoga work that I am passionate about. I developed a deep passion for pregnancy and birth during my first yoga teacher training in 2007-2008. I then studied prenatal yoga and active birth, and started teaching yoga for pregnant women. My passion to share active birth yoga with pregnant couples was further ignited when I experienced first hand how yoga and active birth supported my husband and I during my pregnancy and the birth of our son Luca, now aged 5 years old. I learnt to use gravity, my body, my breath, sound and deep presence to work with (and not against) the natural physical and physiological processes of birth. This supported me physically, mentally and emotionally during the birth of my baby. It gave my partner confidence in his ability to help me birth our baby with practical tools for the various stages of labour and birth. Preparing as a team for the birth of our baby gave us a strong sense that we could do this together.
Although the birth of our baby wasn’t exactly like as planned, my husband and I both felt that it was a deeply empowering experience.
Being educated about the birth process and the birth options and having a set of practices to work with, we felt that we were active participants in the birth of our baby despite it not being as we had expected. In offering active birth workshops for pregnant women and their birthing companion, I wish to share the knowledge and practices that have been so incredibly supportive for the birth of my baby and so that others too feel empowered for the birth of their baby.
Our plan was to have a water birth at the birthing centre, but our Luca was born at 35 weeks so we ended up giving birth in an hospital birthing suite. I had a natural labour all the way through and it was the fruit of a team work – Nic was a wonderful support. Movement and effective birth positioning, breathing and vocalisation and my yoga practice contributed to make Luca’s birth a positive and empowering experience.
On the day our baby was born, I woke up feeling ‘different’ (for not having a better word) and experiencing sensations in my pelvis and abdomen. Given that our baby decided to come into this world earlier than expected, it was a bit of a surprise and I only realised I was in labour when it was well underway! My husband Nic and I spent part of the first stage walking on a local forested walking track, pausing to rest in effective birthing positions during contractions. Several hours later, I arrived at the hospital and my cervix was 8 cm dilated*. Labour continued for several hours as I moved following the cues of my body, breathed and made sounds to ease the intensity of labour and help my baby moving down the birthing path. My partner continued to support me throughout labour. A about 5 pm, I gave birth to my son. I connected with my son before birthing/expulsing the placenta naturally. Giving birth to my son was a unique, intense and deeply moving experience that words can’t describe. I felt a complete presence I believe I have never experienced before. The picture above was taken on this first day Luca came home when he was 2 weeks old. Luca is now a vibrant and happy 5 years old who will start school next year.
*Please note that I am not recommending to wait until then before going to your chosen birthing place. Always check with your care giver when they would like you to contact them and come in when you are in labour.
I look forward to sharing with you and your birthing companion about the birthing process and how you can work with gravity, your body, your breath, vocalisation, visualisation and more, so that you too can be an active participant in the birth of your baby.