Painful vs Mindful – How Yoga Shaped my Natural Birth


Painful vs Mindful – How Yoga Shaped my Natural Birth

Awakened by a vigorous pain of rhythmic contractions, orchestrated by an enchanted force, to push a tiny body pulsating within into a new world and connect to a soul dwelling across an infinite space.

Giving Birth is liberating, but holding my newborn for the first time was like getting introduced to a new life, I got introduced to a new power within, a gift I wasn’t even aware of… It’s the gift of motherhood, endless unconditional love…

The Birth:

Natural, no epidural, IV or medical interventions laboring in water with its relaxing support and warmth.

I was due on November 12 but I thought that I would take an extra week until delivery as I wasn’t feeling any kind of close labor signs. So the day before birth I went with my husband Alaa to shop. It was a nice sunny day so we decided to have a walk and ate lunch. After I got home I did my daily yoga practice with lots of squats hoping Raphael would arrive sooner  Then I went for a chiropractic session and I picked my brother from the airport. At around 9:00 pm in the evening my water broke, but I wasn’t feeling any contractions, so I called my Dr. and he advised to come to the hospital for a check up. When the resident OB checked me out I was 1 cm dilated. She suggested I take Pitocin to get my contractions going but I refused telling her I’m in no hurry and as long as the baby is good lets keep it natural. I handed the staff my birth plan that clearly stated all the natural steps I would like to follow and they were very supportive. My OB advised to move to my room, relax and wait for my dilation.

While being monitored the nurse came rushing in to see how I was handling the contractions. I had to smile as I did not feel a thing.. From 10 pm till 1 am I was just relaxing with Alaa and mom listening to music and chatting with them. After 1 am I started feeling slight contractions but not painful. At 2 am I was 4 cm dilated and from there I began feeling stronger contractions. My contractions were in my lower belly. Luckily I didn’t feel any back pain (I can tell yoga effect more than luck :p) , it was like period cramps but much more intense (Really much more :p ). But as I was laboring in water the contractions were less painful compared to being out of water.

At 6:00 am they checked me out I was 8 cm dilated, the baby’s head was properly engaged. At 7:41 am Raphael came out easily without assistance with couple of quick pushes. It’s like natural self of defiance by my little one telling the world ‘Hello I can make it on my own’.

The final stage was the easiest as the urge to push felt very relieving and my hip alignment allowed the baby to move out quickly without strain. Its in the final stage (10min) that I used the bed J. We directly did skin to skin bonding and that was the best part. You just know that it’s worth it all. I have delayed all the medical procedures for my little one until we’ve bonded. Alaa got to cut the umbilical cord after it stopped pulsating ( giving the dad a share of his son’s birth).

How I managed my Labor pain:

1- Water, water, water ( Hot water tub) Being immersed in water helped me to simply go with my contractions and helped me to benefit from the interval between each and every contraction to relax and gather my energy.

2- Walking.. How odd it seems but at the beginning of my contractions, walking was so relieving.

3- Lunges and all fours and child’s pose: As a yoga teacher, I cannot but add some yoga poses to my labor to relieve pain.

4-Silence, I’m a person that enjoys silence so having this ambiance at labor was beneficial. It allowed me to focus on my contractions and meditate between them.

How to Prepare your body and mind for Birth( 6 steps to a healthy delivery ): 


Yoga, yoga and more yoga…

Yoga supports the accelerated change that is happening in our bodies mentally and physically. It tones the physical body, especially the pelvic floor, hip, and abdominal core muscles, in preparation for the birthing process. It’s mentally relaxing allowing us to trust that our bodies will open up and give birth instinctively.

I haven’t experienced any back pain or any tension throughout my pregnancy. I always had a good sleep. The only thing that used to wake me up was going to the toilet 


Intention: Believe me the power of intention is miraculous

Set your intention for a healthy pregnancy and delivery. Believe in it with all your power, live it visualize it and it will just happen.

Limit your exposure to negative birth stories… I mean what’s the worst that could happen ( c-section) its okay even with that you can still enjoy your birth and accept what comes along but prepare yourself ahead of time. Just don’t expect C –section or a tough delivery because you heard it from someone ( you would just be attracting the same story and same energy). Each has her path, but you can do whatever you can do and let go of the things you no longer control. Acceptance and Peace…


Research about birth and pregnancy:

Louis Pasteur once said, “Chance favors only the prepared mind.”

Knowledge is critical. You don’t want to end up having others taking decisions on your behalf in the delivery room. Get to know how things go and weigh your decisions. Attend childbirth and breastfeeding courses so you know what to expect.

The more informed you are, the more empowered and relaxed you’ll be during labor. Fear of the unknown creates pain, which elicits more fear, which produces painful deliveries.



You will encounter positive and negative comments however keep the belief within and better if you have a support system to help you out. My husband was very supportive and was there in each and every step. I had some breakthroughs but his presence healed it all.



It works wonders if you are persistent in the practice.

Meditation decreases the production of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline and gives the fetus a signal that it is safe and protected. When implemented daily, an inner silence and space for confidence is created, which teaches you and your baby to avoid reacting negatively to stressful situations.

I had a great chance to be in a meditation retreat during my pregnancy that was given as a special gift from a friend. No matter what’s your meditation practice, keep it up… You will need it in your down moments.

If you never practiced meditation then it’s the best time to learn (You can attend classes or check online classes)



To sum it up, it’s MINDFULNESS… bringing awareness to what we’re directly experiencing via our senses, state of mind, via our thoughts and emotions.

Mindful birth allows us to experience labor as intense physical sensations which arise, peak and pass. Using meditation to stay focused during childbirth gives us the mental and physical stamina for a successful outcome

Just Be present with all your senses and life will give you wonders.

Have an enchanting birth

Blog by Mayssam Ghanem – Yoga Teacher

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