Women's experiences of using the Alexander Technique in the postpartum: ‘…in a way, it's just as beneficial as sleep’

Hanefeld N, Glover L., Jomeen J. & Wadephul F. (2021) Women’s experiences of using the Alexander Technique in the postpartum: ‘…in a way, it’s just as beneficial as sleep’ European Midwifery, 103, 103155.



This study forms part of a larger exploration of women’s experiences of the Alexander Technique (AT) in the first year following the birth of their baby. You can read the complete study here (Hanefeld 2021). 

Seven women with differing levels of AT experience were interviewed. Participants described using the AT as a self-care method which enabled a mind-body reset particularly citing the AT practise of lying in semi-supine for active (or constructive) rest. This reset offered benefits beyond simply resting and influenced various aspects of psycho-physical well-being. The women talked about how they are aware of habits which can hinder taking time to self-care. The study concluded that the AT may be a significant self-care intervention for women in the potentially challenging postpartum period.

Hanefeld N. (2021) Exploring how women use the Alexander Technique: psycho-physical re-education in the postpartum. [Doctoral thesis, University of Hull] https://hydra.hull.ac.uk/resources/hull:18382



Background: The postpartum is a transitional period and potentially challenging time of heightened vulnerability for women where self-care is compromised. Mothers can ignore their needs while prioritising baby care. The Alexander Technique (AT) is a holistic self-management technique shown to be effective in managing some psycho-physical tension issues and heightening self-efficacy and self-care. The AT has potential to help compromised aspects of maternal well-being in the postpartum. Objective: To explore how women familiar with the AT use it for the key postpartum issues of Sleep and rest, one of three superordinate themes identified in a qualitative interview study. Design: Semi-structured interviews via Skype. Research approach: Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Participants: Seven women, with varying levels of AT experience, 4–13 months postpartum. Findings: Participants used a variety of self-care strategies through modifying their self-management with respect to Sleep and rest. Identified sub-themes were the ‘knitting’ of maternal and infant sleep, how participants rested using the AT and recognising maladaptive habits. Key conclusions: Further research into the AT as an approach to supporting perinatal well-being is warranted. Implications for practice: The AT has significance for self-management, self-care, addressing maternal needs for rest, restorative sleep as well as tension issues in the postpartum.

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