How Yoga, Breathwork, and Mindset Can Make All the Difference in Your Pregnancy & Birth with Brett Larkin

Show Notes:

[2:51] Our Reviewer of the Week, ladyabbs, said: "Your very last podcast was made for me (212)! My fiancé and I want children very soon after we get married, I know exactly the kind of birth that I want, he’s hesitant because he’s worried something will happen outside of a hospital. I'm definitely strapping him to a chair to make him listen to all your episodes, haha!"

[3:35] Our guest this week is Brett Larkin, the founder of Uplifted Yoga® and the author of Yoga Life: Habits, Poses, and Breathwork to Channel Joy Amidst the Chaos. Her Online Yoga Teacher Trainings have set the standard for quality online certification since 2015 and matriculated thousands of yoga teachers. Brett’s award-winning YouTube channel with over half a million subscribers and Uplifted Yoga Podcast empower you to actively design your life using yoga’s ancient wisdom. She has two boys under age six. She had two very different birth experiences with her two children, an unassisted at-home delivery and a hospital birth.

[5:53] What is it about yoga that is so great for pregnancy and birth? What I love about the idea of yoga, prenatal yoga, or a sacred space for a woman who's pregnant is it actually can become this one time in the day where you tune inward. Tuning in and actually connecting with your baby, taking a moment to put your hands on your heart and your belly, which is your baby's home, and just find some space to just go inward. Just being able to create a space that's sacred for you and that acknowledges what you're going through, can't be underestimated how powerful that is!

There are so many poses in yoga that can help with some of the aches and pains that come with pregnancy and give you positions to actually birth and labor in. There's the stretching, strengthening, and making your pregnancy more comfortable aspect. It also improves your chances of having a seamless delivery. Breath is everything. Yoga also teaches you how to get comfortable with discomfort.

[9:55] Why is the intuition that comes with doing yoga during pregnancy so important? During pregnancy, you are more intuitive than you've ever been before! When you have cravings, that isn't you being crazy, that is you being deeply, deeply connected to something that you need. A woman's pituitary gland (the gland that controls hormones) enlarges when she is pregnant so she is much more in tune to her body. We actually see energetically, a highway between that pituitary gland, the sixth chakra, and the womb, which means that when you're pregnant, talking to your baby isn't crazy. There's actual energetic meridians and pathways that make that connection really clear during a woman's pregnancy.

[18:04] How can women personalize yoga for themselves? Letting go of any expectations is incredibly important. Every pregnancy is unique for every woman and even for the same woman. You need to be humble, especially if you have a vigorous yoga practice or you pride yourself in being able to like do everything the same, but I'd really encourage you to relax and let that go.

[21:51] In pregnancy, our hormones are fluctuating. The three trimesters are so different from one another. If you're doing a yoga practice, start your yoga practice by putting one hand on your heart, one hand on baby, taking a couple really deep breaths and just tuning inward and asking, "How do I feel? What do I want?"

  • First Trimester - REST. In trimester one, you're not just building a baby, you're also building the placenta that's going to nourish the baby. It's incredibly depleting! You're building placenta and baby simultaneously. You're going to be exhausted, and the priority is to focus on rest. Do poses close to the ground, yin yoga, restorative yoga, yoga nidra, which is a deep yogic sleep.
  • Second Trimester - STRENGTHEN. Focus on strengthening your body during the second trimester. This is when you  do squats and start walking. Women who walk a lot during pregnancy have better outcomes in labor and delivery. Strengthening the glutes, strengthening the low back, and very light prenatal appropriate core work because baby's getting bigger. Train for labor!
  • Third Trimester - STABILIZE. We want to stabilize everything, which means less stretching and more strengthening, but not as intense. Focus on positions you can actually labor in.

[29:21] How does yoga prepare moms for birth? We've talked about the breath, and the breath is really the secret sauce. There's a big mindset shift which is we need to think of each contraction as an expansion. The thing about birth is it's just so unpredictable. Yoga is also helpful because most of us don't like uncertainty and would much rather have a plan. Even if we write a birth plan and even if we do amazing rehearsals and take all the incredible courses, birth just is uncontrollable. We don't know how it's going to go. Birth can cause a lot of women to be anxious just because we don't know how it's going to go. Yoga is so helpful because yoga is ultimately trying to train your nervous system with "How do I deal with this comfort? Where does anxiety reside in my body? Where do I feel that? Where can I breathe through that?"

[33:39] What breath work can moms start doing right now? Brett has two breathing techniques that she loves for pregnancy. The first is the full complete breath, which basically is belly breathing. It means inhaling and exhaling and trying to sense that your belly or your baby moves out into your hand when you breathe in. When you take long, slow, deep belly breaths in a relaxed manner, you're literally signaling to baby, we're safe. Everything's okay. You're okay. If you can do a full complete breath, even if it feels like your diaphragm can't move as much as you would like, the goal is that as you inhale, visualize energy moving down your body as you breathe in. So you're sending that energy down into your baby, and you should feel your belly button move forward and then exhale. It's like you give your baby a hug.

The other breathing technique that Brett loves for pregnant women, especially if you run hot is what's called Satali Pranayam. This is a cooling breath. How it works is you inhale through an open mouth as if you're sucking air in through a straw, or if you can curl your tongue, you can make like a taco shape with your tongue. The idea is that the air should rush over your tongue so it feels cold. You'd inhale through your mouth with pursed lips and then exhale through your nose, but do this as slow as possible. 

[37:23] Brett shares about her unassisted at-home birth story. She started having contractions 10 days before her due date. She would go from her bathtub to the toilet to the bath mat where she had her yoga mat and a bunch of yoga props. She was able to breathe through the contractions. After her contractions became more intense, she called her midwife. During the FaceTime with her midwife, the midwife realized that she was about to give birth imminently. She told Brett's husband to get Brett on all fours. She had one large contraction and her husband caught her son. They waited 15-20 minutes before the midwife arrived. She was able to cut the cord, help her birth the placenta, and do all the other things that needed to happen. 

[43:3] Brett shares about the birth of her second son. She was really tempted to do a home birth again, but she also was a little traumatized after her first birth. She got a great recommendation for an OB and chose a very specific hospital that she thought would meet the values of what she was looking for. She started feeling like baby was coming 10-12 days before her due date. She told her husband she was leaving right then in an Uber because she couldn't wait for the nanny to get there to watch her son. When she arrived at the hospital, she was given a cervix exam, but they couldn't figure out how dilated she was so they kept saying they couldn't admit her because none of the machines were picking up her contractions. She gave birth within four minutes of them wheeling her into the room.

[57:16] Brett's best advice for moms is: "My number one piece of advice is to focus on your breathing. Do that belly breathing that we talked about earlier, as you're walking around, as you're sitting in the waiting room for your next appointment, tell your baby, everything's okay by breathing into your belly. If it's just one thing I can tell you, I tell you that is because your nervous system is like the ecosystem that everything else is living in. And if you can slow down and deepen your breath, it's going to soothe your nervous system. And then everything else from there will flow more easily."

[57:37] Where to find Brett:

To Leave a Review ⭐️

  1. Open Apple Podcasts
  2. Find “Pregnancy & Birth Made Easy” podcast
  3. Select “Ratings and Reviews”
  4. Click the stars!
  5. Select “Write a Review” and tell us what was the most amazing, comforting, eye-opening thing that you loved!

ALL the best,


Links Mentioned:


50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.