Welcome to this week’s Motherhood Chats Unfiltered blog post! Today is International Day of Yoga, and to celebrate, we wanted to share an interview we had with Bec, Founder of Om Births. Om Births is an online prenatal and postnatal yoga studio and we love their mission of supporting happy, healthy, holistic pregnancies. Let’s dive in with Bec!
Tell us a little bit about yourself. What services do you offer? How long have you been teaching yoga?
I specialize in yoga for pregnancy, birth preparation, and postpartum. I have been teaching prenatal yoga since 2002. I am also a Certified Pelvic Floor Yoga Teacher, a childbirth educator, HypnoBirthing practitioner, and Spinning Babies Parent Educator.
I primarily offer virtual classes for expecting people and for new parents. My focus is on helping women prepare their body and mind fully for the birth experience and transition into parenthood. When the body is balanced, and the mind is prepared, I truly believe birth is able to be smoother, easier, and sometimes even faster. I believe we are able to embrace ourselves as mothers with greater love and support.
What led you to this career path?
I am a lifelong mover and dancer, so for me finding ways to connect to the body and movement came very naturally.
I usually joke that the universe conspired to get me into this field. During my first yoga class as an instructor, I had 5 pregnant students and I didn't know what to do, so I started taking more training and became absolutely fascinated with the whole experience of pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. One of the trainings I attended turned out to also be a birth doula (labor coach) training also.This opened my eyes when I had the chance to attend the birth of one of my students. The whole process of birth just suddenly made sense, and intersected so fully with a practice of yoga and meditation.
Years later, when I had my own baby, my eyes were opened even further and I went on to get trained in several techniques on how to better support the physiological birth process.
What was your favorite part or most profound experience attending births as a doula?
Of course the moment the baby is born is always amazing, but I usually say my favorite part of attending births in general is how it pulls me into the deepest meditation practice I have ever done. Being in the birthing room with a laboring person forces me to shelve the distracting thoughts and be fully in the present moment. It's that presence that then lets me see where my clients need support. Sometimes that means physical support and positioning, but usually it means reassurance and reminders of why they chose the birth they chose, and how they can still welcome their baby the way they wanted to.
Why do you feel yoga is important during the perinatal period?
Yoga helps moms get in touch with where the body is too stiff and where things need to strengthen up, and gives the tools to do whichever is needed. It also helps us learn to be mentally flexible if things need to shift slightly in order to find greater ease. Balancing the body's tissues makes the whole birth process go more smoothly, and allows for making space during labor if it is needed so things can progress.
Conveniently, the same actions which tone and balance the body for labor and birth also help alleviate things like back pain during pregnancy, and also help in restoring functional strength postpartum. Being able to feel how your body is working, and noticing how you are standing or moving on a daily basis helps immensely when we have to navigate the additional stress that pregnancy and birth puts on the body and mind.
What can partners do to support a pregnant mamma during the perinatal period?
I always encourage partners to help mom feel seen first and foremost. Some women love being pregnant, and others find it extremely challenging. One of the best things we experience during both pregnancy and new parenthood is the feeling of someone acknowledging and affirming our own experience, and then trusting us to solve it as is right for us. That may mean having a partner help out, or it may simply mean sharing your thoughts and feelings about parenting as you prepare to welcome your baby together.
If you had one piece of advice for expecting moms, what would it be?
Take some independant childbirth classes! Don't just rely on your doctor or hospital to give you all the options. They mean well, but they have their own agendas, and they don't always know all the options available. While we want to be able to trust our providers, I usually recommend trust, but verifying. Take back your own power over your birth. You are the consumer, and even if you have limited options, you still have them. You only give birth to this baby once. Go find what you need to feel seen, heard, and empowered.
What do you love most about working with expecting moms?
One of the things I love the most about working with expectant parents is the ways in which finding good movement patterns, and bringing overall muscle balance to their bodies during pregnancy has a positive impact not only on the sensations during pregnancy, but also on the birth process, and then during the postpartum recovery. The practices we can do to help alleviate back pain, and release the pelvis before birth, also help with creating more space for baby to move through the pelvis during labor, and then help the deep core muscles recover and find solid functional strength. The female body was ultimately designed to be able to get pregnant, birth, and then move again without damage or dysfunction. I feel like it's my life's worth to help as many people as I can have more happy, healthy, and holistic pregnancies, births, and transitions into motherhood.
If you would like to learn more about what Bec and Om Births has to offer you can check out her website. You can also follow her on Instagram or Facebook to stay up to date with new classes and what is currently being offered.