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Active Birth

Active Birth offers a woman in labour the freedom to move around. You may wish to include elements of this method in your birthing options.

An active childbirth offers a woman about to give birth the freedom to move around and change positions throughout the labour and birth. In the early 1980s English childbirth educator Janet Balaskas brought to the fore and promoted the concept of birth as being a less of a medical condition to be dealt with on the labour bed and delivery table, and more of an instinctive response to the rhythm of labour. Since publishing her book Active Childbirth in 1983, her teachings have been incorporated into many childbirth education classes throughout the world.

Active childbirth encompasses movement and breathing techniques based on hatha yoga. The basic premise is that birth is more successful if the woman is in an upright position, either squatting kneeling or on all fours, using gravity. Preparation for labour involves stretching, pelvic floor muscle exercises and adopting “opening” exercises with help from your birth partner.

The pelvic floor group comprises those muscles between the anus and vagina that support your womb, bladder and rectum. During pregnancy, hormones, along with the added weight of pregnancy, puts extra stress on these muscles. In countries where women are accustomed to flat-foot squatting while doing their daily chores, giving birth in this position comes easily. For many western women, the pelvic floor muscles require a specific work out.

The pelvic floor group comprises those muscles between the anus and vagina that support your womb, bladder and rectum. During pregnancy, hormones, along with the added weight of pregnancy, puts extra stress on these muscles. In countries where women are accustomed to flat-foot squatting while doing their daily chores, giving birth in this position comes easily. For many western women, the pelvic floor muscles require a specific work out.

An effective way locate these muscles is to imagine you are stopping urination mid stream. These same muscles are those responsible in cases of urinary incontinence. It is this movement that tones this muscle group. In preparation for labour, practise the following movement:

  • Squeeze muscles, hold tightly, and slowly count to five
  • Relax for five seconds
  • Then repeat

Do this exercise 10 -15 times daily.




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