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How Yoga Helped Me When the Fourth Trimester Didn't Go as Planned

This isn't what I had planned for my first blog post. I had every intention of sharing yoga counter poses for breastfeeding, easy stretches for new moms and other more common tips the fourth trimester. However, sometimes things don't happen as we expected, especially in pregnancy and motherhood.

The newborn stage with my now five week old son has been vastly different from my first. With my older son, we had fairly typical issues like initial difficulties breastfeeding and concerns about weight gain (more info here), but we were able to leave the hospital in the usual time frame and had no need to return, which is now something I look at as a privilege that I didn't fully understand before.

With my younger son, it has not been as straight forward. In his five weeks of life, he's now had two hospital admissions since we brought him home. Both found us in the resuscitation room of the emergency department at our local hospital with a scary code something button pressed and too many doctors and nurses flooding in to even count to assist him. These were absolutely some of the scariest moments of my life and while in my hormone rollercoaster and sleep deprived new mom state I couldn't hold back floods of tears, I was focused on keeping myself calm enough to not be kicked out of the room. I honestly believe I have my yoga practice to thank for that and for getting me through everything involved in the hospital stays that occurred after.

I realize there are so many mothers who go through incredibly stressful circumstances during the birth of their babies and after. My heart truly goes out to anyone navigating these already challenging times with extra complications. I hope these yoga tips help you to find some peace amongst the chaos during these difficult situations as they did for me.

Breath Work

Tapping into your yogic breath is, in my opinion, the most powerful tool you have for any challenges you may have - big or small. In stressful circumstances, it’s easy to find ourselves quickly shallow breathing into our upper chest which keeps us in a tense fight or flight state.

When we slow down our breath and breathe more fully into the lungs and deeper into the body, it puts us into a state of relaxation where we can think more calmly and clearly.

There are many relaxation breathing techniques, but the most simple one to me is as follows:

  1. Inhale through your nose breathing deep into the belly filling up the low belly, middle below and lastly the chest

  2. Exhale deeply through the nose or mouth releasing the chest, middle belly then low belly emptying all the air from the lungs

  3. Repeat this at the pace of your own breath feeling the body release and soften with every exhale

Heart hold

When I’m really needing to calm myself down and breath work alone isn’t cutting it, this technique helps me ground myself into the present moment and stop my thoughts from running away to the worst case scenarios.

  1. Place one hand on your heart and the other on your belly

  2. As you breath, feel the chest and belly rise and press into your hands on the inhale and come back in on your exhale

  3. Try to focus your mind only on these steps and come back to that focus each time your thoughts drift away


Taking a moment to ask yourself what you need to hear right now and repeating it to yourself aloud or in your mind is another way to keep your mind from wandering and focus on what you know to be true.

Through the particularly difficult times in the hospital when we were awaiting test results and hoping to hear a manageable diagnosis, I would repeat to myself that 'everything happens for a reason' and 'everything will work out exactly as it's meant to'. While I have faith in both of these mantras, I really needed the reminder when things seemed scary and unknown.

Repeat the mantra of your choice to yourself as much as you need. You can also make a visual reminder for yourself as well by writing your mantra down or making it your screen saver.

To close the loop, I'm incredibly grateful to say that my little man has improved so much that we've been able to bring him back home again and he will be totally fine.

Sending so much love and so many prayers to all the families dealing with health issues with their sweet babies.

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