Nausea relates to the quality of your blood.
Your nervous, digestive, hormonal and circulatory systems undergo great changes during pregnancy. How healthy and balanced you were – physically, emotionally and mentally – before conceiving, has a huge impact on how comfortable you will be in each trimester. The quality of your blood is governed by the Liver and Spleen and also affected by any emotional attachments you carry around in your heartspace and cell memory. Cycles of all kinds – menstrual, sleeping, eating and working – all reflect our ability to nourish, support and ‘feed’ ourselves appropriately, and as women, we often neglect to honour our femininity and individuality.
Nausea manifests when these energies build up inside our body, mind and emotional selves, making us literally ‘feel sick or queasy’. We can’t absorb the good stuff or disperse the bad stuff. It is a sign that we are out of balance, that we are not cleansing, aligning and nourishing ourselves properly. When pregnant, your system digests the baby’s waste as well as yours, so the load on your blood increases tenfold. You are making another human being, it is a big job!, but if our blood is strong and balanced, most side-effects can be reduced and even avoided.
Ki Fusion Yoga posture for Nausea: Spleen Setu Bandha (modelled by the luscious Jennifer Penman @ 7 months!)
Lay on your back with feet hip width apart to support your widening pelvis. Have the feet slightly pigeon-toed; this helps engage the inner thighs to access the Spleen meridian that governs blood quality and immune strength. Press your hands beside your hips and lengthen the shoulders away from the ears to free the neck. Keep chin tilted towards the collarbones but don’t jam the throat as this will impinge blood and lymph flow. A flat neck is an unhealthy neck!
As you exhale, press feet firmly into the mat and lift the hips to whatever height is comfortable. Inhale, float down and connect the spine with the mat again.
Roll up and down with your breath, almost like a wave, and create an oceanic quality and sound to your breath by slightly contracting the back of the throat – Ujjai breath – this also calms the kidneys and adrenal glands that work overtime during pregnancy. Repeat 6 times then hold up for a few breaths, working the legs and buttocks to cultivate patience, strength and a flexible spine. Avoid clamping the buttocks however as this can impinge blood flow and irritate nerves around the lumbar-sacral-coccygeal plexus. (see diagram below)
Use the glutes of course, but make your thighs do most of the work. This helps build endurance for birth plus softens the Stomach channels that run along the ridge of the thighs and affect reflux, nausea and general digestive discomfort. Come down and rest, hugging knees around belly to the chest and rock to release. Lay on your LEFT side after (to avoid vena cava constriction) with a bolster or pillow between your knees and ankles to allow blood to circulate and your pulse to settle. Stretch your jaw, yawn, make a primal noise if you like! – it all helps dissolve any residual tension.
Restorative variation: Place a wide soft yoga block under your sacrum for support (choose the height that is most comfortable) and keep the legs in same position, using subtle pressure through the big toes to avoid knees falling outwards. Allow the palms to face up so the arms open up into the lung points at the front of the shoulders, and focus on your breath, trusting in the block and allowing your body to soften. This variation is great for massaging blood around the sacral area without exertion and allows you to connect with your breath whilst developing leg stability and awareness.
You can practice this pose anytime you feel nauseous or in need of some subtle spinal movement. When your spine is supple and your legs are strong you are more likely to relax into pre labor with a sense of trust in your body’s power and ability to open freely. When your spine and pelvis feel safe and supported, the mind will surrender more easily to the natural process of birth. Babies also love the rocking sensation and can often be encouraged to move into an optimal position prior to birth.
* More articles on pregnancy, labor, birth and beyond coming soon to coincide with the release of my second book.