Bernadette de Gasquet is a French doctor and professor emeritus of yoga specialising in abdominal exercises and perineal rehabilitation. She has been working for years trying to raise awareness about the mechanisms used during labour and delivery to maximise the natural potential of human physiology.

In this article:

Why don’t we hear more about Dr. de Gasquet?

Excellent question and the answer is simple. Dr. de Gasquet’s vision questions past and current knowledge and practices, which is significant. It scares people because she questions the foundations of obstetrical medicine and teaching practices used in universities for generations. It’s not easy to visualise anatomy in movement. The theory provides some insights, but it is hard to clearly represent mechanisms used in a movement, including the biomechanical mechanisms used during childbirth.

Personally, I was floored by this inspiring woman’s logical point of view about obstetrical medicine. After hearing about her experiences and observations, I understood how things I would unconsciously do with women in labour had meaning.

During my 10 years working as a maternity nurse, I often suggested positions to women in labour that seemed to help many. But I never really knew why or how the helped.

The comparisons and examples (even funny ones) related by Dr. de Gasquet bring us back to the basics of humanity, to bipedal men and women. Nature is well designed, and the adaptations the body makes during pregnancy and childbirth respect human anatomy and physiology. We can help nature by promoting proper breathing, better positions and more relaxation.

Today, our technological resources are necessary under certain conditions. But you have to start by letting nature do its job, allowing each structure to play its expected role.

To continue reading, go to Childbirth Over Time and Around the World.

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