Yoga for Pregnancy & Childbirth

Yoga works with the misnd and the body with the breath as the link. It is non-competitive, everyone works at their own level.

It is suitable for pregnant women whether a woman has an active birth or an elective caesarean.

The yoga postures stretch, strengthen and tone the whole body as well as taking into account specific needs eg backache, sciatica, varicose veins, oedema, cramp, heartburn etc.

The approach is holistic working mentally, physically and emotionally.

What we need for pregnancy and childbirth is:

  • a sense of calm
  • a sense of stillness
  • a sense of positive life and energy
  • an most of all a sense of control

An open mind is essential to labour

Practising yoga in pregnancy in yoga does not guarantee one a wonderful birth, but it does prepare one to be able to:

  • deal with any eventuality
  • concentrate
  • focus
  • work with the breath

We are also working with:

Improved Posture

Sitting and standing tall by lengthening the spine allows plenty of space to accommodate your baby and allows the ribcage to expand thus enhancing good breathing.

Relaxation Techniques

Women are taught how to relax with the breath and with various yoga movements; relaxation is key in pregnancy, in labour and once your baby is here.

Yoga Postures

We work on yoga postures that are beneficial in pregnancy and in labour. See the seven-way stretch for pregnancy below.

The yoga postures as described above stretch, strengthen and tone the whole body keeping one fit and healthy in pregnancy and thus well prepared for labour. We work too on a variety of yoga postures relevant for labour taking into account breath, movement and contraction working together, as well as looking at birthing positions.

Pelvic floor exercises are a must in pregnancy and afterwards. Many of the yoga movements we work on keep the pelvic area well strengthened.

It is important too to be aware that the ligaments and joints soften in pregnancy due to the release of the hormones elastin and relaxin consequently it is important to be able to support the muscles and keep them well-toned.

Working with the Breath

  • The breath is key in pregnancy and in labour.
  • The breath will see you through your labour.
  • Breathing techniques are practised and learnt thoroughly.
  • Breath, movement and contraction working together.
  • This is your birth, your baby, your labour.

The yoga sessions with Nerissa have made a real difference to me. Not only with the birth of my son, when the controlled breathing throughout the contractions was invaluable but also afterwards. when I have been able to use the breathing techniques for relaxation

Janine Cullinane

Seven way stretch for pregnancy

Tadasana / Mountain pose

Have the weight evenly balanced between both feet, feet parallel. Tuck the tailbone under and gently tone the abdominals, don't let the top part of the body sink into the bottom half, let the spine rise, the shoulders drop, the chest be open, the arms loose and comfortable.

1) Stand tall weight evenly balanced between both feet.

Tailbone tucked under, abdominals gently toned.

INHALE - as you take both arms up

EXHALE - as you take both arms down

Stretches No.'s 2 & 3 - Sidebend

2) & 3)

INHALE - stretch legs apart, feet parallel, arms out from  shoulders

EXHALE - bend forward and place right hand on right leg, knee bent, look up at hand, spine erect, chest open

INHALE - as come back to centre, feet parallel

Change sides

EXHALE - as you lower your arms down

INHALE  - in the standing/mountain pose.

Stretches No.'s 4 & 5 - Twist

4) & 5)

EXHALE - as you take the left hand round to the right hip and the right hand behind the back to the left hip. Keep the knees to the front

INHALE - as you come back to centre

Change sides

EXHALE - in the mountain pose.

Stretches No.'s 6 & 7 - Backward and Forward Bend

INHALE - as you clasp hands together behind back, looking up and opening the chest

EXHALE - as you come back to centre

INHALE - in the mountain pose, tucking tailbone under

EXHALE - as you bend forward, knees bent, spine long, back flat, placing hands on the wall

INHALE - as you come back to mountain pose.

Turn round, place buttocks against the wall, curl forward with knees bent to release the back and then slowly uncurl.


Click the link below for:

A Gentler Way to Labour - Nursing Times - February 1995