A lot of fuss for the little guest
— Exclusive set of exercises for a normal delivery.
Are you on your way to becoming a mom? But, celebrations apart, you must take enough care to ensure a normal delivery. In case a caesarian delivery the post delivery session can be a painful saga. According to yoga shastra, a normal delivery is more or less assured provided the cord does not get entangled around the baby’s neck or the mother doesn’t have a negative blood group, especially O-negative.
After the first few months of pregnancy you may face problems like backache and swelling of legs. In some cases the entire body swells up, resulting in varicose veins. Headache, constipation or slothful motion, acidity, piles and increased frequency of urination are common complaints. In the last few weeks, there may be insomnia, sweating and palpitation.
Physical ailments: The ligaments link together the joints of the spine. So, when they are forced forward, the spine too is pushed forward, causing pain. Varicose veins is a condition of increased pressure on the veins of the leg. The enlarged uterus causes pressure on the veins of the pelvic. So, it restricts the flow of blood to the legs and causes varicose, thus giving rise to increased frequency of urination and the problem of piles. Headache is caused due to fatigue or insufficient food. An increase in hormone, besides leading to constipation or slothful motion, also results in sweating and palpitation. Unclear stool or inadequate sleep causes acidity. The enlarged abdomen causes uneasiness and insomnia.
Caution: Do not lift heavy weights during pregnancy. During the initial weeks avoid rides on rough roads. Never sit with your muscles loose when out for drive. If a bump is approaching, make sure you raise the lower portion of your body. Avoid exertion of pressure, be it when passing stool or when doing any other work. During the initial months refrain from having sex.
The first 12 weeks
For the first three months of pregnancy, practice only maha bandh mudra and sadharan pranayama. After 12 weeks practice the other asanas along with these two. Sadharan pranayama must be repeated twice a day. Take a short break after every pranayama, mudra or asana.
Take food that contains iron, calcium, vitamins and minerals. You can have dates, nuts, milk, milk products, vegetables, fruits, egg whites (if possible), etc. If you cannot take all this, then have iron, calcium and vitamin tablets. Both you and your baby will need it. Or else, after the delivery you may become anemic and suffer from aches in the joints, apart from getting sudden cramps – the baby too will have a weak constitution.
Maha Bandh Mudra
( 10 counts 5 times)
Sit in padmasana or ardhpadmasana or sukhasana, i.e., cross-legged or on a chair. Keep your spine straight, hands on the knees and eyes shut. Breathe in slowly and contract the kuhunarhi or sex nerve gradually. Ten repetitions make one time. Do it five times. Do not apply any force or extra effort to do this.
Benefits: This mudra keeps the muscles of the ovary and uterus healthy, minimizing chances of miscarriage.
Sadharan Pranayama (24 times)
This breathing technique oxygenates each blood cell and replaces the carbon dioxide with oxygen. This enhances the power of the lungs and enables the blood to absorb a large quantity of oxygen. Thus the placenta which nourishes the baby remains healthy and the mother never lacks oxygen. Apart from biological benefits, it helps the mother during labor when several kinds of breathing are required at the different stages of labor.
How to: During the initial months of pregnancy sit in padmasana. After four months, sit in sukasana, i.e. cross-legged. Keep your spine straight, hands on the knees and eyes shut. Slowly breathe in through your nose, as if drawing the breath all along the spinal column to the ajana chakra, i.e. in between the eyebrows. Then, exhale through the mouth. This inhalation and exhalation comprises one time. Repeat 24 times.
After the first 12 weeks
In order to avoid stretch marks apply watered oil, i.e. one tablespoon of any oil (except mustard oil) mixed with one tablespoon of water and stirred till frothy, after bath or in the afternoon. Lie on your back with knees up and feet placed apart on the bed. Keep your hands anywhere you feel comfortable. Pour the liquid on your navel and apply it lightly on the abdomen as well as the sides in a clockwise direction. Do not massage. Do not use soap or water to wash off the oil. Wipe it off with a towel instead. If you practice the following asanas, mudras and pranayamas, along with the proper restrictions and diet, you can avoid back pain, varicose pain and piles, and thus ensure a normal delivery. Starts with sadharan pranayama, 24 times, no kumbhaka.
(10 counts 3 times)
Sit with your legs stretched in front, feet an inch apart, hands by the sides. While breathing in put your hands over your head, keeping the elbows straight. Breathe out, bend forward and touch your toes. Breathe normally and count10. Counting over, release your hands and revert to the starting position. This is one time. Repeat three times.
Benefits: During pregnancy the spine curves forward due to the increased size of the abdomen, thus causing back pain. This asana offers relief from such back pain. It also keeps the spine flexible and provides relief to the ligaments. This asana also keeps the uterus and ovary healthy, thus helping the placenta remain healthy.
(10 counts 3 times)
Stand before a wall with your feet together. Supporting yourself against the wall, hold the right ankle with your hand, bending the leg from the knee, and stand your left leg. Place your heel on the right buttock. After breathing out raise your left hand and place it on the wall. Now stretch your spine and shoulder upward and keep the abdomen a little tight. Breathing normally, count 10. Counting over, release your leg and hand. Repeat the entire process with your left leg. Together, it comprises one time. Repeat 3 times.
Benefit: this asana alleviates back pain and varicose pain during pregnancy.
(10 counts 3 times)
sit in padmasana, ardha padmasana or sukhasana with spine straight and right palm on left knee. Inhale and, while exhaling, put your left hand at your back and turn left. Breathing normally, count 10. After the counting is over, revert to the original position. Repeat with your left palm on right knee. Both sets comprise one time.
Benefits: This asana keeps the spine and back muscles strong and flexible. During pregnancy you may acquire a high sugar level. This asana keeps the sugar level in control.
Maha Bandh Mudra
(10 counts 5 times)
This mudra is to be practiced till six and half months or 26 weeks. After that, practice sukha bhadrasana.
(10 counts 3 times)
Benefits: This asana strengthens the back and pelvic muscles. It keeps the muscles of the uterus healthy, helps the baby to change its position and helps the mother to have a normal delivery.
Repeat sadharan pranayama 24 times at the completion of the asanas and mudras.
It is essential to take rest after the performance of every asana, mudra and pranayama. After the first one lie on your left side and keep the left leg straight. Bend the right knee, placing it on a high pillow, and place your feet on the left calf or back of the knee. Stretch your left hand over your head and place your head on it. Bending the right elbow, place the palm on the left hand. Rest for 20 counts. Then turn to the right side and do the shabasana. Every time the rest will be for 20 counts. Only right at the completion of the entire yoga rest for 40 counts.
Note: After 27 weeks you must go for walks in the mornings and evenings, at least for half an hour. Begin by walking slowly and gradually pick up speed.