Pregnancy and childbirth place demands like no other on a woman. The way she uses her body becomes increasingly important as her body and balance change throughout the pregnancy and then again after the birth. Habits of misuse that can normally cause a person to experience pain, discomfort, tension, and fatigue tend to become exaggerated as a woman progresses through her pregnancy. What is stereotypically a time of increasing discomfort and pain, however, can actually be a comfortable and energizing, though slower-moving, time of personal growth and uplifting self-awareness.

We have all seen a pregnant woman put a hand on her lower back, lean back, and grimace in pain. As the baby grows, a woman’s balance changes as more weight is added in front of her center of gravity. A woman’s usual reaction to this is to lean backwards at the waist, but this puts unnecessary and unhealthy pressure on her lower back and can cause excruciating pain. Through Alexander Technique lessons, a woman can learn instead how to adjust to the changes in her body easily, therefore protecting her back and joints, allowing her to be more comfortable and free from pain.

In addition, as the baby grows, a woman’s internal organs are more and more compressed as the baby takes up more space inside her body. This can lead to shortness of breath and digestive problems. Alexander lessons will teach a woman to allow her torso to expand, which reduces the compression, gives her more room to breathe, and can minimize digestive problems.

A woman finds during pregnancy that formerly easy activities become difficult. As hormones work in her body to loosen her connective tissues, it is very important for a pregnant woman to learn how to bend and move efficiently. During Alexander lessons she will learn how to move more fluidly and efficiently, and how to use her body well as she attempts, for example, the now more complicated tasks of getting up from a chair or getting out of bed.

Alexander lessons can help a woman to prepare for labor and childbirth in many ways. A woman can learn how to sit, squat, and lie down comfortably. She can learn how to work with and enhance her body’s natural ability to give birth: to help the cervix to open, to release the pelvic floor, and to work with gravity to aid the baby’s descent through the birth canal. She can learn how to focus, breathe, and calm herself during labor and childbirth to counter the natural tendency to tense the whole body during sometimes painful contractions. She can also learn how to push efficiently, not wasting energy on ineffective pushing or unnecessary tension.

The efficient movement that a woman learns before the birth will also help her to recover from the birth and to deal with the new tasks of lifting, carrying, and nursing her precious baby comfortably.