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WEEK 39

A Labor of Love

I use my breath to birth my baby; with each inhalation I gather strength, with each exhalation I breathe my baby out.

WEEK 39

By learning to focus my mind, use my breath and affirm my birth-day wishes, I will affirm my intention of having a labor of love.

I feel you bearing down in my pelvis in readiness for your birth-day. This makes me a little more uncomfortable when I walk and sometimes I find myself literally carrying you to give support and relief to my lower abdomen.

My pelvic area is aching and the gentle squeezes of the Braxton Hicks contractions across my abdomen intensify, training my body for labor.

At times I find myself counting these surges to determine whether they are just pre-labor pains or signs of genuine labor.

I am trying not to become too fixated on the calendar, since I know not many women actually give birth on their predicted due date.

Instead I try to remain flexible in my thoughts, and surrender to the knowledge that I will most likely be taken by surprise, since only you know when you'll be ready to enter this world.

When you do choose to arrive, I am mindful of the fact that you will be moving into a new world with changing sensory stimulation, temperatures, sounds and bright lights. To ease your transition, I will dim the lights, play soothing music and we will cuddle skin-to-skin, so you can nuzzle into my chest, become familiar with my distinctive smell, and find your way to feed from me.

BENEFITS: A Breath for Labor helps soothe the nervous system; focuses and calms the mind; improves concentration and helps balance emotions.

A Breath for Labor is a useful breathing technique to use in labor, to help ease discomfort and focus the mind.

MODIFICATIONS: I will practise using A Breath for Labor in the sequence described in week 38, see pages 132/133.

Intention

This week I shall make myself some raspberry leaf tea, an ideal tincture during these later stages of pregnancy to help prepare the muscles of my uterus for your birth-day.

With each sip of tea, I will relax and remind myself that women all over the world give birth to healthy, happy babies, that our bodies are designed to give birth, and that my body and my baby know exactly what to do.

Pranayama for the Week

A Breath for Labor

For this pose I will need a yoga mat, a wall and several small cushions.

This breath is suitable for all stages of my pregnancy.

WEEK 39

I will choose to sit either in the Supported Squat from Week 12 (see page 40) or Baddha Konasana from week 28 to practise the Birthing Breath described in week 18 (see pages 63/64).

I breathe in through my nose, then parting my lips and teeth slightly I breathe a slow steady breath out through my mouth. I practise this for a few breaths as I close my eyes and daydream of your birth-day.

In my mind's eye I sense a surge arising.

I begin to breathe A Breath for Labor, rapidly breathing in and out through my mouth for several breaths.

I ride the peak of the surge with my breath. As it begins to subside I fully exhale through my mouth and return to the Birthing Breath, inhaling through my nose and exhaling through my mouth.

I practise this breath for several minutes, then slowly allow my breath to return to its natural pace.

Practising A Breath for Labor three times, I mindfully repeat this week's affirmation:

WEEK 39

I use my breath to birth my baby; with each inhalation I gather strength, with each exhalation I breathe my baby out.

Reflection

Throughout my pregnancy I have united with my baby through my mind, body and breath, practising techniques that will serve and support me to birth my baby in a labor of love.

NAMASTÉ

WEEK 39

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