I have just had my second baby; a gorgeous little boy called Charlie. Charlie was born at home on 13th February weighing 8lbs 5oz. I had the most amazing group of women supporting me and it was one of the most empowering moments of my life. During my pregnancy I received regular massage treatments to keep common pregnancy ailments at bay, and was exercising right up until the week he was born (I also followed a herbal and homeopathic regime as recommended in Dr Gowri Motha’s Gentle Birth Method, but that’s a whole other story). I stayed relatively pain free in my pregnancy and I’m grateful for an amazing recovery since Charlie was born.
I am a big advocate of pregnancy yoga, which helped keep me physically, mentally and spiritually fit throughout both of my pregnancies. With that in mind I thought I would share some of my favourite poses for helping combat common pregnancy ailments and help prepare the body for birth.
This simple pose is restorative at any time and is particularly good during labour, in between contractions. Soften your face, particularly the jaw as this is linked to softening the cervix – very important to remember during labour. Sit back on your heels, with your heels touching. Extend your arms forward – feel a lovely lengthening of the spine – or fold your arms to make pillow if that is more comfortable. Breathe in to your back and let go.
Side stretches are important to help create space between the small muscles of rib cage which are compressed in pregnancy. This will help relieve rib pain by creating space in abdomen. Sitting cross legged, lengthen each side of the body by stretching each arm up and over towards the ceiling. Breathe deeply in to lungs and keep elongating.
Whilst you are sat cross legged, you can also perform small circles forwards with the top half of your body, leading with your shoulders. Make sure your sitting bones remain firmly rooted on the floor. Repeat in the opposite direction. You should feel this stretch through your hips and shoulders.
Cow face pose
This pose represents strength and oscillate and will give you a strong stretch across the chest. Sit with one leg crossed over the other. Lift one arm up above your head and press it back down your back. With the other arm, reach up underneath to meet fingers. Look straight ahead and take deep breaths in to your upper body.
In parts II and III I will present six more poses which are really fantastic for feeling good in pregnancy, and for delivery and recovery afterwards.
* Amy Weinberger is an Advanced Clinical Massage Therapist based at Brighton Bodyworks in Brighton & Hove, specialising in treatments for women. Amy’s expertise lies in helping clients out of pain with a unique combination of massage, stretching and relaxation techniques. For appointments please call 01273 729691 or book online at www.massagetherapy-brighton.co.uk.