Pregnancy and Childbirth with the Alexander Technique

Ease During Childbirth

During labor and delivery, the biggest issue you face is getting out of your own way and allowing your body to birth the baby. Many first time mothers are led into the birthing experience with a lot of fear-from the expectation that doctors, nurses, and TV shows create. Using the principles of the Alexander Technique can help you calm and focus-and turn the birthing process over to the body. Whether or not you choose to use pain relieving drugs, just the calming influence of practicing awareness, un-doing tension and re-directing into softness and openness can help you cope with pain. Particularly helpful in delivery is the Alexandrian direction, knees forward and away. Really understanding the separation between legs and torso is crucial in the delivery process. If out of fear, you unduly tense your legs and contract them into your torso, it will be more difficult to allow the baby to move lower into the birth canal. It will also be more difficult to make the most of your natural urge to push.

Often labor nurses encourage women to push on every contraction the nurse sees on the fetal monitor. It's important to only push on those contractions on which you feel like pushing. Only you know which of those contractions will really be productive.

If throughout the months of pregnancy, you've refined your sensory awareness, you will know which of the contractions are the strong ones on which to push. And by practicing all the principles of the Technique, you'll be able to ride those contraction waves with more success.

Recovery from natural childbirth

As your body changes, and slowly returns to its earlier shape, practicing the Alexander Technique is helpful in the re-integrating process. Practicing the familiar directions gives you something positive to focus you on while so many things around you are changing and you may not getting much rest.

Recovery from cesarean section

Whether it's an emergency cesarean section or a scheduled c-section, the Alexander Technique can help focus and calm your mind. To have presence of mind and a sense of calm before having surgery can help the healing process.

After surgery, you will have a substantial cut in your abdomen. Using the Alexandrian principle of leading with the head and letting the spine follow in sequence will save you a great deal of pain. Alexander students are amazed at the ease with which they can move in the days and weeks after a cesarean section delivery. Not moving as your body was designed can put you immediately in pain, so moving with ease and freedom is a great motivator! Also, it may allow you to lower your doses of pain relieving drugs.

Breastfeeding

It is common for women to strain the head, neck and upper back while breastfeeding. A comfortable chair, a nursing stool, a My Breast Friend nursing pillow can give you an ergonomic advantage. You can ease the pain and discomfort of nursing by paying attention to how you are sitting, inhibiting the scrunching of the neck, and allowing your natural postural responses and balance to work for you.

Caring for Yourself and Your Newborn

You can bring your newborn baby with you to lessons. Your teacher can work with you on how best to carry the baby, change diapers, and breastfeed.

Constructive rest is immensely helpful in the postpartum period. Babies like to be close to their mother's bodies. You can practice constructive rest with your baby.

Parenting is a challenging, relentless activity. You will go wrong with the use of your self many times. Congratulate yourself for recognizing it. Use the Alexander Technique to recover; and recover a hundred times a day. While the principles of the Technique are relatively simple, they aren't always easy. Just keep working for more freedom and ease.