Monday, June 13, 2011

Easing Sciatic Nerve Pain with Prenatal Yoga

In addition to being a Postpartum Doula, I also teach Prenatal Yoga at Childlight Yoga in downtown Dover, NH.  One of the most common physical complaints I hear from students in class is that they have pain down the back of one or both of their legs.  Sciatica is a common discomfort associated with pregnancy and there are several great yoga poses you can do to relieve the pain.

First, it helps to understand what causes Sciatica during pregnancy.   Usually, it is because of swelling of and around the the piriformis muscle.  In simple terms, the Piriforis muscle starts at the Sacrum, goes through the muscle of your butt/pelvis and then connects to the top of your femur or thigh bone.  During pregnancy, as your body begins to create more fluid and everything in the pelvic area begins to swell, the piriformis muscle can tighten and put pressure on the Sciatic nerve.  This pressure on the nerve can cause pain, numbness and tingling down the leg.

So, by stretching the piriformis muscle, you can alleviate the pressure on the nerve and help to relieve your symptoms.

Pigeon Pose:

Begin on all fours, with your knees directly below your hips, and your hands slightly ahead of your shoulders. Slide your right knee forward to the back of your right wrist; at the same time angle your right shin under your torso and bring your right foot to the front of your left knee. The outside of your right shin will now rest on the floor. Slowly slide your left leg back, straightening the knee and descending the front of the thigh to the floor. Lower the outside of your right buttock to the floor. Position the right heel just in front of the left hip.
The right knee can angle slightly to the right, outside the line of the hip. Look back at your left leg. It should extend straight out of the hip (and not be angled off to the left), and rotated slightly inwardly, so its midline presses against the floor. 

Join one of Darcy's Prenatal Yoga classes at the ChildLight Yoga studio in downtown Dover, NH.  Classes run on Sunday and Tuesday evenings.  For more info or to register, click here.

Darcy Sauers is a certified Prenatal Yoga teacher and a certified Yoga Birth Method instructor.  She is also a DONA certified Postpartum Doula and Certified Lactation Counselor.  Darcy teaches prenatal yoga classes and Yoga Birth Method workshops and private sessions in the Seacoast area of New Hampshire.  She is the owner of Dover Doula and a member of Great Bay Doulas.  Darcy lives in Dover, NH with her husband and three children.  For more information on  her upcoming classes and workshops, please visit  She can be reached at 603-988-5945 or 

Postpartum Doulas Provide Vital Support to the Community

Postpartum doulas are knowledgeable professionals who assist families during the critical period immediately after the birth of their baby.  They “mother the mother” and offer physical, emotional and informational support to the family, as well as practical help.  The doula’s expertise in mother and baby care enables her to assist with postpartum comfort measures, breastfeeding support, non-judgmental guidance in infant care techniques, information on normal postpartum restoration, and family emotional assistance through this major transition.

These doulas provide essential support during the modern postpartum experience, a time when many mothers today feel uninformed, isolated and anxious.  Traditionally, the postpartum period was a “nesting period,” when a new mother was attended to by other experienced mothers.  They helped take care of her and her family, so that the mother could focus on the vital tasks of postpartum recovery, emotional adaptation to great change and getting to know her precious little one.

Today few families have such support, and frequently become exhausted and overwhelmed by the immense work of becoming parents.  Postpartum doulas gently guide and support families through this transition so that they may get off to the best start with their new baby.
The practical help that is included with a postpartum doula’s services vary, but most doulas make simple meals for the family, comfort and diaper the baby, answer the phone and door, and take care of the baby and any siblings while the parents nap, shower or take a much-needed break.  Some doulas will assist with laundry, errands or light housekeeping as well.

The doula is not a maid, though, nor is she a nurse.  She leaves diagnoses and clinical procedures to medically trained personnel, but will make referrals to a medical professional if she notices something of concern.  However, it is commonly felt that a doula can help a mother stay healthy and reduce her chances of postpartum complications.  She does this by educating the mother and enabling her to focus on her recovery from birth and to rest as much as possible.  Doulas keep the mother well nourished and hydrated, and help to reduce incidences of sleep deprivation and postpartum depression.  Studies have shown that with the help of a postpartum doula, breastfeeding duration is increased, while feeding problems and depression decrease.  Also, parents report feeling more confident and less stressed or anxious.

Darcy Sauers of Dover Doula offers postpartum doula  services in the Seacoast area and she is nationally certified by DONA (Doulas of North America).  Darcy is knowledgeable about many aspects of postpartum, including infant care and development, normal postpartum restoration and cesarean recovery, breastfeeding assistance, postpartum depression, facilitating bonding and more.   For more information contact Darcy via her website at or 603-988-5945.

From:  Perinatal Education Associates, Inc.