Updated: Jul 14
First of all, let's define what an 'active birth' is and also what it is not!
“An Active Birth is nothing new, it is simply a convenient way of describing labour and birth, and the way a woman behaves when she is following her own instincts and physiological logic of her own body.” -
An Active Birth does not necessarily mean that you're physically active throughout your labour - while this is certainly helpful, it does not define Active Birth. During an active birth, the mother-to-be is encouraged to move around freely and choose positions that feel comfortable to her; by doing so she is able to utilise her own instinct, her inner resources and is essentially 'the boss' of her body throughout the labour journey.
In a birth that is medically managed, all the power is taken from her, her body is controlled and she is a passive patient. In an actively managed birth scenario, the mother is often told what to do, rather than being asked what SHE would like to do. Often times a medically managed birth benefits hospital protocol or the preference of the care provider, rarely is it for the benefit of the mother and baby.
Women's bodies are made for birth, the female pelvis is an AMAZING piece of nature's architecture! During labour women's bodies produce a complex cocktail of hormones which not only provide pain relief, but also keep mother and baby safe! There's a set of physiological processes that naturally occur in order for a baby to be born...in the same way your body knows when it needs to do a poo for example, your body also knows how to give birth (birth often takes a little longer!)
Since birth moved from the home into the hospital around the 1950 + 1060's our society has taught us all to fear the very thing that brings forth new life: birth. The images of birth we're shown in the media are often scary and confronting; rarely do we see scenes of calm, connection, love and raw strength.
Most of us don't give birth a second thought...until it's time to go through it ourselves! And then we're not sure what to do, who to ask or where to go! No one knows because it's like a secret little club...and the only thing you're likely to hear is someone sharing their birth trauma experience (that's at least 1 in 3 women) which makes the whole experience even more daunting!
So what happens in an Active Birth?
Use tools and techniques to manage the intensity of labour in both mind and body
Find a balance between using movement and taking rest to conserve energy
Use yoga postures that utilise gravity so that your baby can move more freely through the pelvis
Movement during contractions for effective natural pain relief
Utilise props to support your body as your labour progresses such as fit balls, chairs and stools
The birth partner provides physical support by holding you in some positions while also providing emotional support through encouragement, touch and connection
What is the intersect between pregnancy yoga and active birth?
As in birth, yoga requires an intricate balance between control and surrender; yoga utilises the breath for guidance, and in doing so we learn how to move the body consciously, allowing us access deeper levels of relaxation and release. Yoga is called practice because it's preparing us for something, so through prenatal yoga we are practicing for labour and birth. Training the mind and body through conscious breathing and movement, as well as specific pain coping techniques to help lean into the natural instinct and wisdom we already possess.
What are the benefits of using Yoga for Active Birth?
Reduced risk of medical intervention
Shorter labour time
Less painful labour
More satisfying labour
Better oxygen flow to the baby
Effectively use gravity
Involves the birth support person
Bloom pregnancy yoga classes are designed to teach techniques and tools over time so that it becomes second nature when the time comes to birth your baby; you'll also learn how to utilise props to create space and eae during your labour plus we share information and resources on birth information and education beyond your baby being born.
Yoga for Active Birth is a three hour workshop run bi-monthly which brings together planning and preparing for labour and birth through evidence based education; how to work with your body and baby using a variety of props and postures for the different needs and stages of your labour, so that you feel more confident and prepared for your birth. You'll receive a detailed manual filled with additional resources. You don't need to have any prior yoga experience to attend the workshop, and it's recommended from 20 weeks onwards.