Labor is different for every woman. While some women may have regular contractions that progress labor quickly, others might find themselves stuck in limbo, with irregular contractions that aren't dilating the cervix. Sometimes changing the body's position or doing yoga can help increase contractions to move labor along, making it a safe alternative to using contraction inducing medications, which can sometimes cause changes in heartbeat, fainting, headache and vomiting, states the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Yoga is often recommended for women during the later months of pregnancy, since it can help keep you fit and prepare the body for labor, according to Fit Pregnancy.
Practice belly breathing during early labor when contractions have just started and aren't intense yet. Sit with your legs crossed, close your eyes and breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth, while staying relaxed.
Hold your hands on your lower abdomen and move your pelvis in a slow, circular motion and imagine your baby moving down into the birth canal, suggests Fit Pregnancy. It can help your baby move down into your pelvis and may relieve back and pelvis pain.
Kneel on the bed or floor, with someone helping keep you stable, and make slow, circular motions with your hips to reduce pain, help push the baby down and to dilate your cervix.
Stay in the kneeling position and hold your knees wider than your belly, touch your big toes together and lean back onto your heels. Rest your arms on a birthing ball or your birth partner. This yoga position helps to let gravity push the baby down into the cervix.
Do a deep squat when you make it further into your labor. Have your labor partner sit in a chair, while you lean back on that person, with your knees wide and squat down. Laboring in this yoga position works to widen your pelvis, shorten the birth canal and bring your baby's head down to dilate the cervix even further.
Consult with your obstetrician or midwife before trying any yoga positions during labor.
- Prenatal Yoga Center: Natural Alternatives to Induce Labor
- National Institutes of Health: Research Summaries of Normal Birth
- Family Relationships Magazine: Five Prenatal Yoga Positions for Labour
- American Pregnancy Association: Exercise and Pregnancy
- Fit Pregnancy: Yoga: For Pregnancy and Beyond
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: Oxytocin