The Power of Yoga Pre & Post Birth (Bonus! Guided Meditation)

amazonmusic podcast player badgeapplepodcasts podcast player badgegooglepodcasts podcast player badgepocketcasts podcast player badgeovercast podcast player badgespotify podcast player badge

Fourth Trimester Podcast Episode 44: The Power of Yoga Pre & Post Birth With Jane Austin, Yoga Teacher

Jane Austin
Jane Austin

In this Fourth Trimester podcast episode, co-host Esther has a really fun and intimate chat with long-time pre- and post- natal yoga instructor Jane Austin about giving birth, what pregnant and new mamas need and the power of yoga.

Jane talks about how yoga helped her embrace her pregnant body and shares her belief that pregnant women should be empowered through yoga during their prenatal and postnatal periods.

She goes on to say it’s okay for new mothers to let go of societal expectations. It’s more important to focus on sleep, mental health and building community, seeking opportunities to connect with others.  On a practical note, buying transitional clothing and attending childbirth classes are also recommended.

They also discuss the significance of postpartum care and exercise to avoid complications like pelvic organ prolapse.

Lastly, Jane discusses the benefits of yoga for expectant mothers and new mothers, such as promoting relaxation, strengthening the pelvic floor, and relieving tension in the body.

The podcast ends with a short breath awareness practice for listeners to try on their own.

We hope you join us for some laughs and enjoy the lovely guided meditation!!

Jane Austin yoga teacher trainer

About Jane Austin

Jane Austin has been a loving member of the parenting community of San Francisco for decades and has developed her own wonderful prenatal and postpartum yoga approach. She is a mom herself. She is an exuberant spirit and inspires down-to-earth love and understanding of the parenting journey.

Here’s a video of Jane in action:

Selected links

Connect with Jane Austin | Instagram

Jane’s Online Prenatal Yoga Classes

Learn more Fitness Coach Advice For Exercise During Pregnancy and PostpartumHow New Moms Can Prepare for and Recover from Birth

Connect with Fourth Trimester Facebook | InstagramAbout & Contact

Episode Transcript

Download transcript (as pdf)

Esther Gallagher: [00:00:42] Hi, it’s Esther Gallagher with the Fourth Trimester Podcast this week Sarah isn’t with us, but my wonderful guest, Jane Austin, is here and we’re going to be chatting with her about all things birth, postpartum and yoga. I just want to remind our listeners that if you haven’t yet, you can sign up for our newsletter at the We’re on Facebook and we have our Patreon page you can go to if you’d like to help sponsor this podcast. Great. 

So here we are. Jane, it’s so thrilling to have you. You’ve been on my list of people that I was going to interview, so I’m going to just start by letting you tell us your story of motherhood and yoga and how you got to today and what you do and why you do it.

Jane Austin: [00:01:51] Okay. That sounds good. Oh, wow. I started a long time ago. Esther and I have been at this for a long time.

Esther Gallagher: [00:01:59] I’ve known you since I came to San Francisco.

Jane Austin: [00:02:01] Yeah, I got here in 89, which is basically when I started doing doula work. I went to a workshop that was called Women, Witches and Midwives that Anne Fuller was doing, and Z. Budapest and all these ladies back in the day. And I was like, wow, a midwife. Now what is that again? And then from there I got into doula training and was going to births and working at San Francisco General and just completely immersed in the birth world.

Jane Austin: [00:02:36] I knew I wanted to be a midwife so I went to Texas and trained there, and then I came back to SF and worked with Shannon Anton in a home birth practice. And that was really my grounding in birth. Like I was young, I hadn’t had any of my kids yet. I hadn’t had either of my children yet. And I was young and excited and learning and I was a sponge. 

Like I was just a sponge. And the birth work just seeped into my soul. And I really, like fell in love with women and witnessed their power, like, even from like, kind of my seat, from the maidens seat, I was like, this is a train I want to be on. And just knowing and witnessing how rich working with this population was in terms of feeding my soul, but also being able to offer anything I had, you know? 

And at that time, I look back and I’m like, what the heck did I offer those women? And, you know, what I offered them was somebody who would sit with them and be with them and literally hold their hands and like and, you know, and I was holding their hands and I didn’t want to be anywhere else.

Jane Austin: [00:03:58] Like, that’s where I wanted to be. And, you know, rubbing their backs and then, you know, for all that doula stuff, but then, you know, getting the midwifery training. And I knew though, this was kind of the rub. I knew that once I got pregnant that I didn’t really want to go to birth at that point. Like I just wanted to be a pregnant woman. 

And I always thought I’d go back into midwifery. But to be honest with you, once I had my daughter, the path back to doing the work on that level just seemed insurmountable. Like I just wanted to be with her and and I still wanted to do the work with women, but I couldn’t figure out how to make midwifery work for me once I was, you know, tending to my own child, you know, like you’re on call, you know, 24 hours a day for your children. And the idea of being on call for somebody else was just really hard for me to figure out how to do both of those things.

Esther Gallagher: [00:04:59] Well, and wouldn’t you say that the community hadn’t really figured that out for itself very well either?

Jane Austin: [00:05:05] No, they hadn’t. There wasn’t the like the collectives and the co ops of the doulas. It was pretty much like midwives.

Esther Gallagher: [00:05:13] It was hard to be a midwife and not have any kind of built in childcare, right?

Jane Austin: [00:05:20] Absolutely. Absolutely.

Esther Gallagher: [00:05:21] They didn’t have- you weren’t living with grandma. Right. A stay at home grandma. Right. Then you’re kind of sol. Sorry.

Jane Austin: [00:05:29] Yeah, yeah, yeah. So that’s exactly how I found myself. I just. Yeah, it’s not really culturally supported because we always know that the midwives historically were the grannies, you know, once their commitments within their own home had really shifted and then they could attend to women in birth. But what I did find is I found another way to work with women that just completely feeds me and fuels me in the same way that going to births and being with women did, you know? Absolutely.

Jane Austin: [00:06:03] And I really came on to or came into that work when I was pregnant with my daughter. And, you know, I had held space for women to be pregnant and for women to tap into their power and, you know, held up the mirror to show them how amazing and powerful they were. 

But I know that for me personally, I still, I didn’t have doubt about the power part. I gained a lot of weight when I was pregnant, so I was just like this big, ginormous pregnant lady. And I, you know, I was really puffy, and retained a lot of fluid. So I just remember just sort of feeling good, but also not completely embracing my pregnant self.

Esther Gallagher: [00:06:42] Mm yeah, yeah, interesting. I mean, I’m sure that we have lots of listeners who, you know, if they’re not having their dreamed of perfect pregnancy or struggling a lot. So let’s talk more.

Jane Austin: [00:06:55] Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I appreciate that. And it was less like the pregnancy itself. Like I had aches and pains, waah, waah, waah like I didn’t like those and I so wanted to be pregnant like that was, I was pregnant when I was 30. So like in the San Francisco Bay area, I was kind of young, you know, I was a young mom. So, you know, I still had lots of vitality. 

But I think that like culturally, there’s a culture that doesn’t like, you know, so misogynistic, right of course, doesn’t like women’s bodies. Then you have to, like, trust your body. And I feel like I was sort of stuck in the like, oh, I’m really big. And it’s hard to, like, move around a little bit. And I actually hadn’t done that much yoga up to that point. Interestingly enough, I’d done some you know, I kind of dabbled in it here and there in San Francisco. 

Yeah. And actually in those days all the yoga was in the Ashrams, right? You know, there weren’t that many. It was the Iyengar Institute and the Ashrams and that was pretty much it until like the mid 90s when yoga studios started opening in SF.

Jane Austin: [00:07:59] So, you know, the ashram thing was a little like, Oh, okay, whatever. Wasn’t really, it wasn’t my thing. But I did go to a yoga class at the Integral Institute on Dolores, actually, when my sister and I literally remember doing Virabhadrasana two, Warrior two, I remember what I was wearing. I remember striking this pose and being like, with my breath and my baby and with my body feeling not just strong and powerful, but also beautiful. 

And I feel like for me, it was really the first time that I embraced myself as being a beautiful pregnant woman. And that was like a beautiful and powerful and embodied. And I didn’t know then, but that was a seed like that was Yeah, yeah. Which grew into a ginormous mama tree, which is, you know, what I call my, you know, my business. 

But like, that was like, that was the seed that happened in that moment. And, you know, I continued to do the classes and, and postnatally I started dabbling well, not in the postnatal period, but once I was kind of recovered from the whole birth and a year or so down the road, my sister was like, You should do yoga. And I was like, okay, there’s a yoga studio.

Esther Gallagher: [00:09:28] Your sister Mary?

Jane Austin: [00:09:30] No, my sister Anne, my twin sister.

Esther Gallagher: [00:09:31] Your twin sister?

Jane Austin: [00:09:32] Yeah, my twin. My twin was really into yoga and she was like, you should do yoga. And I was like, Okay, yeah, yoga is cool. I remember yoga was really cool in pregnancy. So I started going to yoga regularly and loving it and really embracing it and helping me embrace my body and just feeling really good and strong and powerful. 

And fast forward a little bit and I got pregnant with Leo my second, and that was about, Leo’s three years younger than Clover. And I was going to the yoga classes and the ones that were available and there were more available at that point. They weren’t really like what I wanted. 

They weren’t meeting me where I was anymore, and I was like, because I was in a really different place physically. I was really strong doing a strong practice, really, you know, had this kind of incredible body that I’d never had in my life. I was like, you know, really, like, fit, strong and gorgeous. Like, I felt gorgeous. And so-

Esther Gallagher: [00:10:29] You were gorgeous I can attest.

Jane Austin: [00:10:31] So I just think it struck me that I only felt at home in my regular yoga class, and I had to modify postures. And it was after that it was like there needs to be something other than gentle yoga for pregnant women. 

And, you know, there’s a restorative, gentle component to prenatal yoga, of course, but I think there’s so much value in women feeling empowered by the practice. So I literally got a job at the studio where I work now by giving a resume. I hadn’t done a teacher training. I had not done a teacher training. It was a two like columned resume and one was like all my midwifery experience and birth work and all my yoga experience up to that time.

Jane Austin: [00:11:27] And I said like at the bottom and I want to teach prenatal yoga. And the person who owned the studio at the time was like, Okay, I know. So I was like, That’s crazy. Because that would not go over now. Yeah. And I started teaching prenatal yoga and I loved it. I loved it, I loved it, I loved it. And then after, like, I think I’d been teaching maybe a year and a half, maybe two years, I was like, I should do a training. So I went back and was still teaching but did a 200 hour yoga teacher training. But what I noticed and what I didn’t like about teaching prenatal yoga is afterwards they dropped off a cliff.

Jane Austin: [00:12:07] I never saw them again. And like they literally, not literally, metaphorically definitely dropped off a cliff. And then I was like, wait a minute. I can’t not have them. Come back to yoga. At the time, there really wasn’t that much information. And I up to this point, I had been you know, I researched a ton on my own, not just, you know, yoga practices for pregnancy and postnatal, but like what was happening in the fitness world, what was happening in the physical therapy world, which a lot of the stuff I started learning was like really different, than what the yoga world was saying. 

And I just kind of dove in and created post natal classes really based on information that I was receiving, just, you know, from books and mostly books at the time, but now websites, of course, and, you know, whatever resources we can find online. But also from my own experience and also from the women, from the mamas themselves, asking them what feels good, what doesn’t feel good, What do you need? Like what do you need in the practice today? 

So using that really informed how I developed my whole perinatal program. And, you know, from prenatal all the way through into the postnatal period which is so important to also have that bridge. Yeah. You know, to make that link and that connection from the pre to the post. So I feel like the post natal classes will often give a woman a place to land, you know?

Esther Gallagher: [00:13:44] Yeah. Even if it’s just to land, like literally to land to just show up and sit.

Jane Austin: [00:13:50] Oh yeah. You know. Yeah. I had a woman with a five week old baby in class today and I was like, What do you need? And she was like, I just need to be here, you know, because she had done the prenatal classes with me for all those months and months and months. So to have a place where she knew that I would be there, you know, that there would be a tribe of women there or a group of women, whatever she connects to, but that she, you know, a place where she felt safe. Yeah. And seen and held.

Esther Gallagher: [00:14:17] And knew how to get to and back home to. 

Jane Austin: [00:14:19] And knew how to get to. Yes. On a full practical level, she’d been there before. That to me is so important. And I definitely have women who like to come into class who’ve never been to class before. They just heard about the class or whatever. Of course, those women are 100% welcome, but those women who like come back specifically because the path has been laid and it’s just easier if the path has been laid, if you know how to get there, if you know something as mundane as what the parking situation is or how long it’ll take you to walk there or whatever, whatever it is.

Esther Gallagher: [00:14:55] So public transportation.

Jane Austin: [00:14:56] Yeah, whatever it is.

Esther Gallagher: [00:14:58] Well, so I’m very curious because you’re in this wonderful position and you’re, you know, the sort of intelligent woman who knows to do so. I’m very curious when you ask the question, what do you need, what kind of answers you’re hearing? Because I’m sure it will resonate with our listeners who may or may not have a yoga practice to turn to.

Jane Austin: [00:15:22] Right. Right. Well, I hear all kinds, all kinds of answers to that question. Sometimes women will answer purely on the physical, like, you know, oh, my neck is so strange. And, you know, of course, your neck is strained. You’re looking down at this little creature that you made. And, you know, it’s hard to take your eyeballs off of those little people sometimes. 

They’re infinitely fascinating to some mamas. And the thing is, you don’t really understand that until you have your own kid. And certainly that’s not every woman’s experience, you know, kind of depending on what’s going on in her life. But many women, when they look at their babies, they just can’t stop looking at them, which is so, so, so sweet. 

For me personally, I designed the postnatal classes really for the moms and the babies. We do a sweet little baby, you know, baby yoga play with the baby little session. But for so many women, so much of their life in pregnancy has been about the baby. I mean, about taking care of themselves in relationship to their baby. And then, as we know, Esther, as we like know, there’s basically no postpartum care for women. You know, in our culture, you get one, you know, insurance covers one visit.

Jane Austin: [00:16:40] So once the baby is okay, this is my lens, this is my lens. So you can know that this is my lens. This is how I see it. So a woman goes through her pregnancy if she’s getting regular maternity care, obstetrical care, her body goes through a series of tests and she goes through prenatal visits to assess whether she is safe for her baby. Right. Right. Yeah. 

And then depending on the lens of the care provider, her baby needs to be rescued from her body during the labor and birth because somehow, you know, she has grown a person inside of her body and her body is now dangerous for her baby. So her baby has to be rescued from her body. And then when her baby has been rescued, her body is discarded. Yeah, I feel like crying.

Esther Gallagher: [00:17:40] Yeah, me too.

Jane Austin: [00:17:41] Yeah, like I get chills. Like, how can that be? How can we have a culture that has so little respect for women that once the precious baby and the baby is precious, but once that baby like. Like then. Then it’s like the OB sort of signs off. Like I managed to rescue the baby from the dangerous woman’s body, and then the care’s over, right? And then, oh, then somebody else is in charge of the baby, we’ll give the baby to the pediatrician.

Jane Austin: [00:18:09] And then what happens to a woman’s body? You know, zero care has been given to her. And to me, like that is like it’s an abomination. It’s so tragic. I mean, I think it’s like and, you know, this is like, woo woo. But I think it’s soul wounding for women. For them to be so discarded postnatally. 

And, you know, one of the things I try to do is to help women be empowered in their pregnancies so that they know that they have value and that they are worth it, like they are worth care. And I talk to women all the time about doula care and, you know, I’ll say in my prenatal classes, I’ll say, What’s your postpartum plan? Yeah, what’s your postpartum plan? 

And I’ll tell them, you know, your partner taking two weeks off of work is not a postpartum plan. That’s nothing. That’s actually that is the equivalent of zero postpartum care, because they’re also really tired, too. And they’re overwhelmed, too. And, you know, I think partners don’t-

Esther Gallagher: [00:19:13] And what do they know about it? 

Jane Austin: [00:19:14] And what do they know about it?

Esther Gallagher: [00:19:16] Who’s taught them anything about what it means or looks like or smells like or. Right. Is needed or absolutely what not to do. Yeah. Nobody.

Jane Austin: [00:19:23] Yeah. Yeah. You know what you get? You get a baby care class. From one of the local hospitals which, you know, baby care classes are sweet. And take one if you’re inclined, but you don’t need to be taught how to put a diaper on. You’re going to do a bazillion of them. The first couple are going to suck. You’ll figure out how to do them. You know, go online, get a video, whatever, you know, watch a video or whatever. So yeah, that, you know, planting that seed for them to figure out what they need to do in that postpartum period to feel nourished and fed. And who are the people in your life that you can call upon? 

And if like, you know, 2 or 3 people don’t immediately come to mind, then you need to call in some other people like who is going to be there. And I know that you were a postpartum doula for my sister, Mary. Yes. And Jessie was my postpartum doula. And I talk about her to this day. To this day. I remember Jessie would walk through the door of my, you know, postpartum house and within. Five minutes. There was an amazing smoothie right by my right on the table next to my nursing station you know. And it wasn’t like, Oh, Jessie, will you make me a smoothie? Like it was just, there it was just there. And I would literally look at that smoothie and practically cry a little like, Oh, there’s a smoothie.

Esther Gallagher: [00:20:54] Yeah.

Jane Austin: [00:20:55] And you know, I think sometimes women don’t. I mean, of course, because we’re not educated, but they don’t understand how much energy it takes to take care of a baby just to be taken care of, a baby. 

Esther Gallagher: [00:21:07] And your healing and recovery. You know, if you if you’d broken your leg, nobody would expect you to do anything. Right?

Jane Austin: [00:21:13] Exactly. Exactly right.

Esther Gallagher: [00:21:15] And you haven’t broken a leg you’ve given birth.

Jane Austin: [00:21:17] Cultures all over the world nourish and feed their women in pregnancy and postpartum. Right. Those women get the best cuts of meat or, you know, the most nutritious food and the biggest portions so that they can be nourished and fed and be strong and rebuild their own bodies, take care of their children, of course, but rebuild their own bodies. 

You know, so, you know, I literally tell a woman, you know, when she’s in that postpartum period that all she’s going to do is eat, sleep, drink, go to the bathroom and feed the baby. And then she looks at me like, well, what am I going to do the rest of the time? It’s like there is no rest of the time. There’s no rest of the time. Like, where’s the shower? That’s not on the top five list. So maybe a shower if somebody holds the baby while you take a shower.

Jane Austin: [00:22:14] And I think that concept of, you know, jumping out of your postpartum bed and, you know, going out in the world and oh, my God, you look like you, you know, you didn’t even have a baby. And like, that’s a compliment. Like, that’s a compliment. And our culture is like, you look like this life altering, soul changing thing didn’t even happen. 

That’s amazing. I’m like, that’s Good. Isn’t that so great? Yeah, Look is right, and it’s so unrealistic. And then women, like, squish their bodies into Spanx and go out and like, Oh, it hurts me. It hurts my soul because it’s not what women need. Women need to be fed and nourished and taken care of and get some sleep So they don’t lose their mind and get rest. Sleep deprivation is so powerful. What are the stats on that? Like I want to say 800 to 1000 hours of sleep a woman will lose in her child’s first year of life. Yeah.

Esther Gallagher: [00:23:18] That’s crazy. That’s crazy. Babies are sleeping.

Jane Austin: [00:23:21] Babies are sleeping. You know what we’re doing while babies are sleeping? Laundry, right? 

Esther Gallagher: [00:23:27] So not right. Yeah. And it’s interesting in my practice as a postpartum caregiver. How. Hard it is for moms to let go of that. You know, they just don’t. You know, I don’t want to be the person saying, you know, if you don’t sleep, bad things are going to happen. Right? But. You know, my approach is, so how much sleep are you getting in a 24 hour period? You know, and if it’s five hours, it’s you should be shooting for 12 and getting eight. Right. Right. And if you’re getting eight, then you should be shooting for 15. Getting 12. I don’t care. You know what I mean? Like the baby’s sleeping 12 hours, give or take. So, like, you could too if you slept when the baby sleeps. Right. 

Jane Austin: [00:24:24] People hate hearing that, though, moms always say, oh, people say that. I hate that. And I think it’s because part of that is that seems completely unattainable. Right. That it’s just completely out of the reality. But it wouldn’t be if you were able to let go of some of those other expectations of what you think you should be doing and what you think you should look like and what you think you know, whatever you think in terms of getting back out there, you know, getting on your pregnancy jeans, you know or your pre-pregnancy jeans, you know what I say about those? 

I won’t say it on this podcast, but blank that! Blank those things, blankety blank. Okay. So but what I do say, I do really encourage women to buy some transitional clothing, you know, especially once you’re like getting out and about. Now, the first thing I tell you, first thing I tell them to do is before you have your baby, buy yourself a beautiful pair of jammies. Like something like, you know, like ones that you look at the price tag and you’re like, oh, I’m not going to get those even though they’re so cute.

Jane Austin: [00:25:40] Get those because you’re going to wear them and you’re going to wear them and you’re going to wear them.

Esther Gallagher: [00:25:44] That’s such great advice.

Jane Austin: [00:25:45] Well, I give that advice because I remember one of my dear, dear friends, Laura Todaro. Laura, who’s now a certified nurse midwife. 

Esther Gallagher: [00:25:45] Yes. Excellent.

Jane Austin: [00:25:58]  Yeah, she’s incredible. She’s my absolute hero. You know, she had two kids and she just made her way through nursing school, midwifery school. But even way before that, she was a sage. And she came over to my house across the bridge with her own tiny baby in tow when I was postnatal like postpartum in the first week or so. I want to say day three. That’s when I remember it being, I don’t know when it was actually in the soup. I was in the soup of postpartum and she brought me a pair of jammies, beautiful cotton jammies. And I love those jammies. In fact, I’m like, I’m embarrassed to say I haven’t thrown them away.

Esther Gallagher: [00:26:43] How old is your kid now?

Jane Austin: [00:26:44] She’s 20, but it’s just-I actually, I kind of cut the fabric and I put it away just to have, like, a piece of fabric from this time that was so potent and so full of tears, of overwhelm and tears of joy and so loving my baby. I had a really hard time breastfeeding. So I was really conflicted. But this fabric literally holds my tears. And I just couldn’t I couldn’t throw the whole thing away like, I didn’t keep them all. I just cut off like one of the legs part that wasn’t too faded. 

Everything else was like, stretched out. So that’s the first thing I say is get yourself a beautiful pair of jammies that you just feel nice in and they feel good and you’ll wear them, you know, button down if you’re planning on breastfeeding or even if you’re not, you know, the being able to kind of be free in your clothes, it feels nice. And if you’re bottle feeding, being able to have some skin to skin contact with your baby. So like nice button down jammies.

Esther Gallagher: [00:27:47] Well, there’s another practical element to all this, which is, you know, despite what many women feel compelled to do, it’s much healthier in those first six weeks ish to be roaming around in jammies that if you do go to the door for some unknown reason, you’re sending a message to the people who are on the other side of that door. That you’re not up and dressed and ready for prime time.

Jane Austin: [00:28:20] Oh, that’s brilliant. I hadn’t thought of it in that way. But yeah!

Esther Gallagher: [00:28:25] Some people say keep your bathrobe on a hook next to the front door and put it on before answering the door. What you have on underneath, you’ve got your bathrobe on. You look like you’re ready to go to bed and people won’t stay.

Jane Austin: [00:28:40] They’ll  hand you the food that they brought and they’ll leave. Yeah, well, that’s great.

Esther Gallagher: [00:28:45] Even if they come in for a visit.

Jane Austin: [00:28:47] They won’t stay long.

Esther Gallagher: [00:28:47] They’ll recognize that you are in baby mode and that, you know, things need to be brief.

Jane Austin: [00:28:56] I love that. Yeah, that’s brilliant.

Esther Gallagher: [00:28:58]  Yeah, it’s usually the UPS guy. And he’s used to it, believe me. They’re used to seeing. I have funny stories about. About the UPS guys.

Jane Austin: [00:29:09] I have a hilarious story about what my friend the plumber saw that I had no idea who, I thought my husband had forgotten something and came right back in. And I was wearing my jammies and my top open and I was like, What did you forget? And there was the plumber. It was a friend’s husband. I was like, Oh, he said, That’s the best. 

That’s the best welcoming I’ve ever had. I was like, Oh my God, my big giant postpartum tits. I was like, Pardon me, Scott. Oh, my God. Crazy, crazy, crazy. But the other thing I do say for women, because there’s this expectation that their bodies shouldn’t look like they just had a baby, you know, they often don’t feel good in their prenatal clothes anymore because, like, those are like, they’re stretched out clothes.

Jane Austin: [00:29:58] So once she’s kind of ready to take off her jammies, take off the bathrobe and go into the world, I recommend that she not, you know, pine away for her pre-pregnant jeans and go out and buy some clothes that fit her body. And those are the transitional clothes. 

And you wear those, you know, that 16 or that 14 or that ten or that eight or that six or like whatever it is. Or four like whatever it is that is a size that fits your postpartum body so that you have clothes that you can move in, that you feel good in because they fit you. And then, you know, maybe as you start to reduce a little bit in that postpartum year or so, you get rid of the tens and you buy a pair of eights or whatever, you know.

Esther Gallagher: [00:30:49] Well, and and you know, remember we referenced this on a previous show. You know, your breasts are larger while lactating. So you’re going to weigh more just because you have bigger boobs and, you know, your body naturally is going to hold some weight around the hips and thighs. That’s milk making stuff. And so, you know, you should expect that you’re going to weigh 5 to 10 pounds extra for the course of your breastfeeding trajectory. 

Now, gradually that will whittle away as you gradually wean your baby. If you do that, if you wean precipitously, your appetite’s going to stay in check for another six weeks and you’re going to have to gradually lose your appetite. 

Esther Gallagher: [00:31:42] But in any case. It’s you know, it’s important to recognize that that’s what we’re talking about when we talk about a postpartum body. That it’s a very specific body and you know there’s a reason why first peoples in America called us changing woman, like their goddess is changing woman Because you know, we just are like butterflies and we’re just constantly moving and changing in terms of how our bodies are architecturally. 

And so, you know, if you’re having more children, you’re going to go in and out of this body. Again and again with variations on the theme. So I think that’s wonderful, wonderful advice, you know, to just know that you’re going to enjoy this more if you’re not imagining something that just is frankly absurd.

Jane Austin: [00:32:40] Or comparing yourself to other people. You know, we see that woman and oh, my God, she lost all her pregnancy weight in six weeks or something. Well, that’s actually not healthy. You know, there’s a biological imperative that we do carry, you know, a little bit of extra weight. And, you know, I think that for some women they are told that, oh, if you breastfeed, you’re going to lose all the weight really quickly. I found the same thing. 

I carried an additional 5 to 10 pounds until I literally would like feed clover like a banana, and I’d lose a pound or she’d start eating avocado or eggs or whatever. And once she started eating more solids, I mean, I breastfed both my kids until they were about 19 months ish, which was not all peaches and cream, I’ll tell you. So if you want to hear the horror stories of that. But I literally remember, like as soon as she was not, my body wasn’t required to provide her soul sustenance without me consciously changing my diet or anything. 

The weight slipped off and to the point that, and I see this in women, they’ll get a little underweight. At one point I did get a little bit underweight. I’m like my head’s too big for this skinny body. I gotta, like, bounce back up a little bit. So anyway, I just think that, like, allowing yourself to be in that transition and I love that, you know, that concept of changing woman because we’re always changing, right? From monarchy to, you know, our menstruation to perimenopause, menopause. And, you know, that’s a lot of hormonal fluctuations and, you know, a lot of body changes. So being kind to yourself is a way to not have to fight that all the time.

Esther Gallagher: [00:34:36] Oh, hallelujah. Yeah, hallelujah. And enjoy it. 

Jane Austin: [00:34:44] Well, and like, not being in a battle with your own body.

Esther Gallagher: [00:34:47] My midwife said to me when I was 18 years old and about to give birth to my first kid, she said. Well wouldn’t it be nice to be a soft receptive place for your baby. You know, and I thought, yeah, yeah. Who wants to be skin and bones for a new baby, right? Like, we want to be snuggle snuggle snuggle. So that was, you know, not to body shame anybody of any shape or size, but it was a nice invitation at that, you know, we’re talking 1978 when, you know, the onset of the anorexia era. 

And so to hear that from a woman I very much loved and respected and who I knew, cared about women and cared about me, was very, very good. Because if it had been up to my partner, I would have weighed 10 pounds. You know what I mean? Like, that was empowering for me to kind of know like, okay, there are people who care about you and people who want you to be somebody for them, right? And that was just a really super nice message to get.

Jane Austin: [00:36:08] Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. It’s important. It’s important, you know, and the culture doesn’t tell us that. No, the culture says, you know, you have to look a certain way. And, you know, it’s unfortunate, but there are people like you, like me, like your midwife and lots of women in the tribe to support each other and care for each other. And, you know, we need that. I ask women all the time, you know what? You know, I was talking to a woman today, pregnant women new to town. And I said, do you know anybody in town? 

And she said, I know a few people. I said, do you know any like pregnant women? And she’s like, Not really. And I was like, Well, look around, say hi. It’s so much easier to make connections when you’re pregnant than in that postpartum period, especially if you’re feeling isolated and alone. So I strongly recommend, you know, going to places where other pregnant women are when you’re pregnant, whether it’s, you know, going to childbirth classes, going to natural resources, if you’re in San Francisco or just, you know, whatever the resource centers are for pregnant women and new mamas wherever, you know, in your own communities, like where are they? Like find them now when you’re pregnant.

Esther Gallagher: [00:37:21] And meet those new moms because, you know, they too, may be a little isolated because like you, they may have just arrived on the San Francisco scene and not had a chance to  cultivate much by way of community. And, you know, they may really welcome a sister who’s just right behind them in the trajectory, you know, to to reach out to as well. So yeah I think show up at the the little playgrounds and meet you know, meet the moms who are strolling the little babies to the playground and stuff like that.

Esther Gallagher: [00:38:01] Well, I have a great way for the mamas. One of the things I offer in my classes is that I offer a free prenatal class. If the pregnant women stay and hold babies in the postnatal class. So I teach a pre and postnatal class back to back three times a week.

Esther Gallagher: [00:38:14] So smart. 

Jane Austin: [00:38:15] So they can stay, you know? So it’s a thank you. The free prenatal class is a thank you for them to be willing to stay and help out with the babies. And then that way they can actually see for themselves who’s on the other side of the river. What it looks like, how much work it takes to, like, care for a baby, you know? So it’s I love being that. I love creating the opportunity for there to be a bridge, you know, and all the a lot of the pregnant ladies just stream out because, you know, we’re all busy and we got stuff to do. 

But sometimes they stay and they’ll say, Oh, I’ll stay. I just have to grab a snack or move my car. It’s like, Yeah, grab a snack, move your car, come on back. And we’ll be here. And you know, the new moms appreciate so much just having somebody hold their baby for a few, you know, for a few moments while they do some yoga postures.

Esther Gallagher: [00:39:08] Well, and you know, for some pregnant moms, they can’t, this might sound a little heavy handed. They can’t wait to get their hands on a baby. That’s the whole idea, right? So getting some practice fields with other babies, it’s really sweet, pretty juicy and pretty fun. And it’s really pretty funny, too.

Jane Austin: [00:39:27] Really juicy. I have 41 week moms, 41 week pregnant moms. I’m like, come on down. Yeah, I’ll give you a small one. Get a little tiny baby nuzzling up to your bosom. That gets the oxytocin levels elevated. So that’s, you know, strategy. Got some midwife tricks to get those labors started. So it’s super sweet. So she is really pregnant. I’m not going to say, oh, pick up a six month old baby. Like I’ll hold the six month old. You hold the six weeker.

Esther Gallagher: [00:40:00] Try on a little one for size.

Jane Austin: [00:40:02] Try on a little one. So yeah, it’s really sweet. And sometimes women will do it once in their pregnancy. And sometimes I’ve had women over the years who’ve done it their whole pregnancy and got, you know, free yoga the whole time because they donated their time, you know, And I’ve had young women, I had a 19 year old woman once, and she was pregnant and she came and held babies. Actually I’ve had two women who were in their teens, 19 over the years who held babies through their pregnancies many times and felt like it helped them so much like come in to their mothering. 

But like, that was already there. But to trust that they had all that they needed to mother those babies and they were already all that they needed to be even at that tender age,you know that place, you know, to have something that gives you that confidence. And I have to say, I had a student once, many years later, I received a big- and it was one of these moms, one of these 19 year old moms- got a big fat envelope in the mail. And I was like, Oh, what is this? And it was a wedding invitation. So it was like ten years later, I feel like crying. I was like, Oh my God.

Esther Gallagher: [00:41:25] Look at that. That’s super sweet.

Jane Austin: [00:41:28] Yeah, it was, you know, being a part of this really special time in her life and maybe a time that was a little overwhelming. And to have the yoga practice for herself, being able to hold babies in the postnatal class, she never forgot that and I unfortunately was busy that weekend but it was like what an honor for somebody to remember and to think of inviting me into this other beautiful, transformative time in her life, this ritual. Because that was there that first time or one of the other times. 

So yeah, that is great. I know I love my mamas so much. I ran into three of them on the way over. Literally adorable. Literally three of them. Maybe four, actually. Yeah.

Esther Gallagher: [00:42:19] This is a great neighborhood for it. Oh, I have to say, I know it’s kind of the new Noe Valley, right?

Jane Austin: [00:42:24] Lots of babies, lots of babies, lots of strollers, Lots of babies on mamas bodies. 

Esther Gallagher: [00:42:29] Yeah, that’s great, Jane. Well, and, I mean, I just also want to put in a plug to our still pregnant moms that another legendarily fun thing that Jane offers is, is a prenatal class for moms and their partners. It could be whatever kind of partner you have or want or  can come up with, but you get to show up and do all kinds of super fun sort of labor practice.

Jane Austin: [00:43:10] Yeah, absolutely. Oh, it’s one of my favorite things that I teach because obviously every woman has her own story with a partner, whether she has one or not. And I have had women who are single moms who do it with their doula. But it’s good to have it be somebody that you’re connected to, Of course. Obviously, you know, a close friend or a doula even.

Esther Gallagher: [00:43:35] Well, and maybe in any case, hopefully someone who’s committed to being with you in labor.

Jane Austin: [00:43:42] Yes, yes, yes, yes, absolutely. That’s the person who needs to be there. But for the women who have partners and you know, we were speaking about this, it’s like in that postpartum period, like all of a sudden, you know, kind of culturally men in particular and female partners, too, to some extent. But men in particular are expected to step into the red tent and know how to be with the laboring woman, like, what the heck are you supposed to do?

Esther Gallagher: [00:44:10] Yeah. What minute of their life prepared them for that?

Jane Austin: [00:44:13] Yeah, exactly. Nothing, nothing. And maybe a good childbirth prep class will do that, Of course, I hope. But the workshop specifically, I laugh about it because I think that the partners think that they’re just sort of coming along for the ride like that. She just sort of like said, you had to come to this thing. And so you go and the truth is, is that I basically talk to the partners the whole time. And the mama, the pregnant mama that is the one coming along for the ride. Like she’s the one coming along for the ride. 

And partner, I’m going to help you figure out. It’s really twofold. Like, I have some stuff that I think would be helpful for you to know, but just letting them know if they know her. And they really show up for her that they can be great support. And it doesn’t mean that they’re always going to do everything right. And yeah, women in labor will tell you if she doesn’t want something, don’t worry about that. But that they have some capacity to like really give them confidence that they have some capacity to show up, you know, and give them some tools to help them do that.

Jane Austin: [00:45:23] And it’s fun and it’s silly. And even the most reluctant  dad is like, I was helpful. I mean, I’m sure there are people that leave and they don’t find it that helpful. And I’m sorry about that. But the vast majority of people and I love kind of razzing the ones who are the most like, Oh yeah, you know, like, why is she making me do right? 

I love kind of poking at them a little bit because it’s also a way to kind of keep some levity, too. And, you know, you thought you were going to be watching football this afternoon or I mean, that’s a stereotype, but you know what I mean? Like, you thought you were going to be doing something else other than listening to this lady remind you to take a deep breath.

Esther Gallagher: [00:46:11] Well, and you know what? I think often it’s the case, even for those folks who manifest that cultural norm of like, I’m a man and therefore I don’t belong here. And therefore, I don’t need to know. Stuff that, you know, given an opportunity and an actual welcome while there’s a lot of, you know, sort of received and cultivated resistance you know one opportunity can be all that it takes for them to say, oh yeah, that came from someplace that I don’t really honor. 

And I really do want to turn myself in the direction of my partner and my child and this project that we’re doing together, whether we do it as a team or not. We’re In this and we can either play together or not or not. And maybe it would be fun to play together, right?

Jane Austin: [00:47:16] Well, I always say the best, like, preparation for childbirth and for parenting together is to be connected to one another and to trust one another, you know, because you’re going to be parenting this child, hopefully for your entire life long.  Whether you’ll be together or not, I can’t guarantee that. But you will be, you know, hopefully parenting together.

Esther Gallagher: [00:47:41] Yeah, absolutely.

Jane Austin: [00:47:42] And it’s, you know, it’s a lifelong journey. It’s your child’s lifelong journey.

Esther Gallagher: [00:47:47] Yes, absolutely. Well, this has been really fun.

Jane Austin: [00:47:56] I knew it would be! I feel like we’re not even done yet.

Esther Gallagher: [00:48:00] We could probably do three of these.

Jane Austin: [00:48:02] Yeah, I got more to say.

Esther Gallagher: [00:48:05] Oh, good, good, good. Well, we don’t have to close up quite this moment. Like, let’s turn back in the direction of postpartum.

Jane Austin: [00:48:17] Okay.

Esther Gallagher: [00:48:18] How is that? And do a little more on that before we close up for today.

Jane Austin: [00:48:23] And well, I would love to talk a little bit about it because I think there’s a lot of just misinformation out there on so many different levels. But even just on the physical level, you know, we invite women to come back into the postnatal classes after a vaginal birth and even a cesarean birth when the uterus has completely involuted. So she really shouldn’t be bleeding pretty much at all because if she’s bleeding, there’s still weight in the uterus and that puts a ton of strain on the ligaments that support the uterus. 

And if there’s weakness in the pelvic floor and for many women there are and if there’s postural misalignments that don’t support the proper evolution of the uterus, it can absolutely cause some just complications postnatal and I’m speaking mostly about pelvic organ prolapse. So doing too much too fast can actually have really pretty intense ramifications. And I don’t say that to be sort of draconian and scare you, but it’s really I want women to know, and this is  a very heavy statement. So take a deep breath. And I will tell you that your gynecological future can depend on how well you take care of yourself postpartum.

Esther Gallagher: [00:50:03] Hear, hear.

Jane Austin: [00:50:04] Period. Hear hear. Yes, yes, yes. So that is, and we don’t really know that because we don’t get postpartum care. So doing too much too fast can not only just deplete you and make you miserable, you know, mentally and emotionally, but also physically. Your body needs time to recover. Right? 

And so giving yourself some space now, it doesn’t mean you don’t do any kind of movement, Of course, stretching out the shoulders, of course, you know, tapping into that deep breath that helps you activate the transverse muscles in your abdomen and lifting the pelvic floor like that kind of stuff, for sure. But, you know, I literally had a woman tell me today now, this is appalling that this happened today, meaning like the obs have not followed any of the research. 

She had her ob tell her at her last visit that in order to get back into shape and tone her abdominal muscles, that she should do crunches like we have known for a decade, a decade that women should not overwork the rectus muscles in those early days postpartum because it actually exacerbates a potentially problematic situation where the abdominal muscles, the superficial muscles, the rectus muscles are actually separated. So we know that. And anybody that works with postpartum women, which I would argue obs, do not because they don’t really offer care to that population.

Esther Gallagher: [00:51:51] Obstetricians don’t study physical therapy. No, unfortunately, there are two distinct venues, Right?

Jane Austin: [00:51:59] Well, not even not even studying physical therapy. But how about muscle structures of a postpartum woman’s body? Yeah, let’s just start there.

Esther Gallagher: [00:52:10] What is a new mom going to be able to do or not do. And for six weeks.

Jane Austin: [00:52:14] And what is going to support postpartum recovery of those abdominal muscles? And I’m not even talking about OBs knowing very specific exercises and numbers of reps you should do like that’s you know, but to have this doctor in this day and age tell a woman like they told they told women that ten years ago. Right. And kind of we all were saying do kegels and crunches like back in the day, you know 20 years ago, like when that’s what the fitness industry was telling people to do. 

But what we know now is that the women’s bodies postpartum you need to start at the foundation of the abdominal core and the true core, which is the pelvic floor, respiratory diaphragm, transverse abdominals. And some people will even, you know, include the multifidus, which is the smallest muscles that support the spine that are closest to the spine.  

So, yeah, like being able to understand those muscle functions in those early days and weeks. Postpartum is definitely going to help you and you don’t need to have a physical therapist, but just understand that how you hold your body will impact your postpartum recovery, Understanding that how you breathe will impact your postpartum recovery. So it’s simple stuff. It’s not rocket science. 

Esther Gallagher: [00:53:37] Yeah and I try to remind my new mama’s. Listen. Even if you were put on bed rest during your pregnancy, you have nine months of human growth hormones coursing through your system. You’re not going to lose much. So don’t despair. Really, what’s going on is you’ve been sort of hyper estrogen and hyper progesterone and human growth hormones. So, you know, you can afford to rest and recover and do the foundational things first. And not sort of just fly into prime time immediately.

Jane Austin: [00:54:27]  And definitely not going to like regular, like yoga classes. I’m always so chagrined and so saddened when I hear that, you know, women are going back to their regular classes, like immediately postpartum even, you know, after even after the evolution of the uterus, like a lot of the postures that are done in yoga are not appropriate for new postpartum moms. And we just don’t know that.

Esther Gallagher: [00:54:51] You still have a lot of oxytocin and prolactin which soften the ligament structures. So yeah, relaxing. And that was the one I was searching for. And so, you know, you have a different kind of body that isn’t structurally on a molecular level, isn’t structurally the kind of body that’s going to be able to do some of the things that an athlete would expect their bodies to do, a tennis player or a basketball player. 

And on the other hand, you have a body that can do things that they can’t do either. And that’s the part we leave out. I have my t-shirt on. I should have taken this off, Jane so you can see it. I have this t-shirt on that I wear even though I’m post-menopausal. Jane’s going to read it to you.

Jane Austin: [00:55:48] It says, I make milk. What’s your superpower? I make milk. What’s your superpower? That’s awesome.

Esther Gallagher: [00:55:55] So there’s so much that your body is doing. And that it it is gaining now from being postpartum and from holding your baby at the breast and walking your baby around and, you know, hopefully you’re doing all of these things with a certain mindfulness and a certain somatic awareness that allows you to relax where you need to relax more and and firm up where you need to firm up to give yourself support. 

You know, it’s a wonderful opportunity to get in touch with your body at a new, deeper level, I think. We’re not invited to do that very often, which is why your classes are so fantastic.

Jane Austin: [00:56:41] And we also think about going from being pregnant to not being pregnant is one of the most rapid physiological changes that can happen, you know, short of being born and dying. You know, I mean, it’s such a huge shift that happens. And because everything is very stretched out from pregnancy in that early period postpartum there’s a lot of instability and there’s more instability in the postpartum period than there is even in the prenatal period, because there can be instability prenatally, but everything’s sort of stretched out and contained in a way, right? 

So once the baby’s out, like everything’s really soft and super duper mobile. And so I would argue that it’s even more important to go to postnatal classes than prenatal classes. I mean, I would say go to prenatal classes.

Esther Gallagher: [00:57:34] If you were going to choose, right.

Jane Austin: [00:57:35] If I was going to choose because there’s a lot out there in the yoga world, like I was saying, that is not appropriate for postpartum women. There’s very like, I don’t do the deep back bending poses pregnant. Postnatal women do not need to do deep back bending poses. 

You know, we don’t do full wheel in a postnatal class. You know, even if I have a mom who’s six months down the road, like she might be able to do full wheel if she’s a yogini but not in the postnatal class. You know there’s other postures, other great backbends in the postnatal class to help build strength in the back, but not that one. So, you know, unless you know what to avoid, it’s really easy to get injured.

Esther Gallagher: [00:58:19] Yeah. Well it’s, you know, it’s the same in so many things. I’ll just say, you know, I don’t want to send my postpartum moms to a masseuse that doesn’t understand postpartum bodies. I don’t want to send my postpartum moms to a physical therapist who hasn’t studied pelvic floor and pelvis and, you know, abdominal structure.

Jane Austin: [00:58:47] I have a bias for that, too. I really think that if you’re going to see a physical therapist who does pelvic floor work is that they have to have the education to do internal work. Like I can’t imagine why if you were working with that population, with the mama population, that you would not hone that skill to be able to do internal assessments. 

Now, it’s not everybody’s cup of tea to do that. But then don’t do orthopedics. Work on people’s knees. Right? Because you need to, from my perspective, if you’re going to do PT, having that next level of understanding of what’s going on in a woman’s body is so important. So important.

Esther Gallagher: [00:59:36] Yeah. Great. Well, now I want to come to your class and hold babies.

Jane Austin: [00:59:41] You can come any time!

Esther Gallagher: [00:59:42] I know. I should, yeah.

Jane Austin: [00:59:44] If you want to come and do the prenatal class just to see what I’m teaching these days, you know, there’s always an evolution. You know, I’ve been teaching for a long, long time. So I always add new things and learn new things and get inspired by new things. So any time you want to come, you are more than welcome. So come as my guest and then hold babies.

Esther Gallagher: [01:00:06] I will,totally will. Yeah great. What do you think? That’s a pretty full day.

Jane Austin: [01:00:14] I think that’s good. Yeah, I think that’s good. But I’d love to come back.

Esther Gallagher: [01:00:18] Great. And we will have you back.

Jane Austin: [01:00:20] Awesome.

Esther Gallagher: [01:00:22] Hopefully the computer didn’t shut down. It looks like we’re still recording, I hope. 

Jane Austin: [01:00:29] Unless you think there’s anything else you want to add on this particular podcast.

Esther Gallagher: [01:00:33] Well, no, I think. I think that’s pretty nice and full.

Jane Austin: [01:00:38] Do you think the moms would want just a very short breath awareness practice?

Esther Gallagher: [01:00:43] Yeah, that would be lovely.Let’s do five minutes of that.

Jane Austin: [01:00:47] Oh, awesome. Okay, good. All right. So you’ve been listening, listening, listening. So if you’re not driving, if you happen to be and if you’re cooking dinner or you’re doing something else while you’re listening and can’t do the very short breath awareness, I’m going to ask that you make a commitment to yourself and go back and  do this simple, simple breath awareness practice. At some point.

Esther Gallagher: [01:01:15] They can pause this. It’s a podcast so they can come back when they’re done with their chores.

Jane Austin: [01:01:19] Yeah. So that’s what I mean. That’s what I mean. So don’t just be like, okay, I’ll let it run while I’m doing my dishes or doing whatever, you know, finishing up my doctoral thesis. No, you wouldn’t be listening to the podcast and doing that. But, whatever you’re doing, so. So take a moment if it’s safe for you to do so. Sit in a place that’s comfortable. 

You want to be on your sit bones. So you actually want to feel that connection of the bony structure, the pelvis on whatever you’re sitting on. So whether it’s your chair or a floor cushion, whatever it is, and then just let your eyes close. And of course you can have a babe in arms or babe nearby for the pregnant or for the new mamas, of course. 

And then just take a moment as you feel that physical connection of your sit bones making contact with whatever you’re sitting on. Just let that physical connection be a reminder to stay here. Allow that grounding and rooting of the pelvis to keep you rooted in this moment. And then from that place, from that grounded, from that rooted place begin to grow the spine. 

So let your spine get nice and long. So what we’re doing is we’re creating a container for your deep breath. So the sit bones are rooted. The spine is long and reach the crown of the head up toward the sky.

Jane Austin: [01:02:57] Now the stage has been set. And let your focus turn to your breath. And then just notice for you. How your breath feels in your body. Maybe the breath feels really smooth and deep and even. Or maybe. There’s a little bit of shallowness in your breath, so just observe. So don’t judge, just notice. So just notice, like what’s happening and maybe there’s a shift in the breath as you begin to pay attention. That’s not uncommon. 

So from where you are in this moment. I just invite you to begin to deepen your breath just. Just a little bit. So we don’t want to be aggressive. And you can get the visual if it’s helpful for you that the rib cage, the lower ribs are opening up. The rib cage is opening. As you inhale, think about the ribs opening up like an umbrella opens. And then when you exhale, the ribs drop down. So we feel that kind of expansion and contraction happening in your ribs. 

And then keeping that visualization. Bring your focus and your awareness to that dome shaped smooth muscle called the diaphragm. Now, the diaphragm is what separates the chest cavity from the abdominal cavity so that when we inhale and the ribs open up, the diaphragm presses down. It moves down. And then when we exhale on the ribs, kind of draw in slightly, the diaphragm lifts back up into its dome shape.

Jane Austin: [01:04:53] So on the inhale, it moves down. On the exhale it lifts. And then as you allow your breath to really move through your torso, releasing any gripping or holding in the belly and allowing your belly to be receptive to breath. So as you inhale and the diaphragm moves down, there’s an expansion of your belly. And then as you exhale, the belly will sort of snuggle back in by your spine a little bit as the diaphragm lifts back up and the ribs drop down. 

So just stay with that visual, visualizing really that physiological function of the breath and the body. And then we’re going to take it just one step deeper. Or maybe two steps. So as you inhale and the breath expands, the lower ribs, the diaphragm moves down and actually puts pressure on your abdominal organs, putting pressure on your pelvic organs, and there’s a releasing down on your inhale of those muscles deep within the pelvis. 

So there’s some pressure that’s being applied from the downward movement of the organs. And then as you exhale, that pressure is released. And the pelvic floor actually lifts back up. So you can think about the pelvic floor and the diaphragm having a synergistic relationship, which means they work together. So the ribs open, the diaphragm descends, the belly fills that downward pressure.

Jane Austin: [01:06:39] So you’re not pushing or bearing down, but you might feel a little bit of pressure moving down. And then reverse the pathway. Pelvic floor muscles lift up. Belly draws in. Diaphragm lifts. Ribs drop down. So stay with that visual. If it’s helpful for you using all those anatomical structures, if that’s helpful. If not, just breathe in and out. Let your belly expand as you inhale. Let your belly sink back by your spine on your exhale. 

So that’s all you really need to know. But that other stuff is sometimes helpful. So just a few more moments here with that deep breath. And we’re reopening or maybe establishing the lines of communication between your respiratory diaphragm and your pelvic diaphragm. So just sitting for another few moments. And just know that you can tap into this breath at any time when you’re feeding your baby or when you feel yourself getting a little overwhelmed or anxious. 

Find that length in the spine and then just deepen your breath. And it sounds so simple, but it’s surprising how often we don’t do that. So just give yourself the tool and the power of your conscious breath. It’s good for you. It’s soothing to your nervous system. And it just helps us feel better. And when you’re ready, if you close your eyes, feel free to open that. 

Esther Gallagher: [01:08:54] That is lovely. I think the somatic experience of that I’ll speak for myself of just being able to have the organs and the muscle structures in concert with each other.

Jane Austin: [01:09:09] Yes, that’s a beautiful way to say it. Yes. Thank you.

Esther Gallagher: [01:09:11] Kind of harmonizing.

Jane Austin: [01:09:14] She’s a poet.

Esther Gallagher: [01:09:15] It’s really, really a lovely and gentle reminder, but also gives us a hint of the power of all that for pregnancy and postpartum. Like, for getting the baby out and for nourishing the body. Hallelujah. Together.

Jane Austin: [01:09:35] Hallelujah. Really nice. Yeah. And it’s so simple. You’re so welcome. And mamas, you so deserve just that moment. So take it. Please, please, please.

Esther Gallagher: [01:09:49] Yeah, yeah. Thank you. Oh, my God. What fun.

Jane Austin: [01:09:53] I’m so glad I got to offer you a little. A little something, something.

Esther Gallagher: [01:09:56] Yeah. Yeah. Lovely. And we’re going to say goodbye. But just remember, we try to get a podcast out as often as we can, and. And we want you to look up Jane whenever you can and find out more about her. Jane, how would people find you?

Jane Austin: [01:10:25] Oh, the best way is through my website and it’s just And you know I got all kinds of goodies on there and you can get on my mailing list and newsletter and all that good stuff if you want.

Esther Gallagher: [01:10:38] Fantastic.

Jane Austin: [01:10:40] Oh, gosh. Thank you. Yeah. Esther, what a hoot. And a blast. Yay! Anytime, anytime.

Esther Gallagher: [01:10:46] Yeah. All right, everybody. Well, take care and we’ll catch you next time. Ciao. Ciao.


The content provided in this article(s) is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical or other professional advice. Neither Sarah Trott nor Buckeye Media LLC (DBA Fourth Trimester) are liable for claims arising from the use of or reliance on information contained in this article.