When the last few months of pregnancy roll around, there are several things that are on constant rotation in your mind, like how you will ever find enough time to complete your to-do list, and a vision of your little one's sweet face when they finally arrive. Also a constant? How the heck to get this labor show on the road. There are a number of methods ranging from chowing down on pineapple to getting hot and heavy between the sheets. But if you're seeking something more chill, then check out these yoga poses to induce labor.
At the top of the list is Garland Pose, or squats, which is something most yogis stand by as a top method for readying the muscles that will come into play during labor. (Think hips, inner thighs, and pelvis.) Pigeon Pose, Forward Fold, and even the coveted final resting pose at the end of a practice, Savasana, are amongst the poses your pregnant body will appreciate as well.
It should be noted, however, that these poses are less about inducing labor and more about readying the body for labor which, yes, could indeed lead to a swifter delivery process.
And, really, who wouldn't want that?
1. Garland Pose
According to Nina Spears at Baby Chick, Garland Pose, or squats, "help strengthen your thighs and open up your pelvis in preparation for childbirth." Spears even quoted Ina May Gaskin, founder and director of The Farm Midwifery Center, who said, “squat 300 times a day, you’re going to give birth quickly." It's a tall order, but, then again, so is labor.
2. Table Top Position
When it actually is baby time, you'll find yoga can also be helpful during the labor process, Jennifer Coulombe, a Khalsa Way prenatal yoga teacher and founder of the kids yoga clothes company Sat Nam babe tells Romper. "A great pose to labor in is on all fours in table top position, hands directly under shoulders, making large circles in all directions with the hips and cat cow," she says. "This position gets the baby in an optimal position for labor." But Coulombe adds, "Ultimately, whatever position feels right to you is the position you should be in — listen to your intuition and it will guide you."
3. Tailor Pose
Parents noted that Tailor Pose is an exercise that helps "keep your pelvic joints flexible, improves blood flow to your lower body, and eases delivery." According to Rehab My Patient, the pose can be done by sitting upright on the front half of a foam block or firm cushion, lengthening your spine and the back of your neck, and relaxing your shoulders. "Bring the soles of your feet together in front of you, drawing them in close to your body," the website noted on its YouTube channel. "Position cushions underneath each knee if this feels a little uncomfortable in your hips. Breathe deeply."
Erica at Spoiled Yogi noted that one of the most important poses a pregnant woman can enjoy is savasana, also known as corpse pose. As your pregnancy progresses, you may want to stick with a modified savasana with a bolster between your legs and pillow under your head. "Most importantly, trust your body to do its thing," Erica blogged. "You were designed for this. Your body grew an entire person, probably without much intervention from you or anyone else. That was the hard part. When it comes to time to birth, let your body handle it."
5. King Pigeon Pose
According to Yoga Janda, the King Pigeon Pose — or Eka Pada Rajakapotasana — "must have been made for pregnancy." The pigeon pose, the website noted, is a challenging one, but it stretches some important muscles, like your hips, thighs, and psoas. When these muscles are open and relaxed, it makes for a smoother labor and birth. While you are in this pose, the website recommended using a centering breath, making your exhales twice as long as your inhales.
6. Wide-Leg Forward Fold
According to MindBodyGreen, "Keeping your hips open (especially at the end of those nine months) can help assist in the process of labor and delivery, making room for baby to descend through the birth canal." That's why Prasarita Padattonasana — also known as Wide-Leg Forward Fold — is an ideal pose as you prep for your little one to arrive. Use a yoga block if you need a little bit of help, especially as your growing belly begins to make it harder to, um, fold.
7. Spinal Flexes
Spinal flexes are another helpful move to encourage flexibility. A regular part of Kundalini Yoga, spinal flexes are done simply by placing your hands to the front legs, then moving the chest forward as you breathe in and curving round the spine as you breathe out. Repeat several times, inhaling forward and exhaling back. "You want to keep moving during labor," Coulombe says. "The baby needs to be massaged, so whether that includes putting on your favorite music and dancing, walking, or doing some gentle yoga to massage the baby, keep moving and the baby will keep moving."
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.