An expectant mother’s instinct is to provide the best for her baby from day one. Eating a balanced diet and exercising are at the top of the list, but the strains of weight gain and fatigue often hinder one’s motivation to hit the gym. One of the best ways to counteract these symptoms is through the practice of yoga during pregnancy.
8 Benefits of Yoga During Pregnancy
During pregnancy, a woman’s body undergoes many changes that cause her physical stress and mental well-being challenges. Pregnancy yoga help to reduce these physical and mental stresses.
Pelvic Floor Muscles
Prenatal yoga classes are tailored to meet the needs of a pregnant woman by focusing on strengthening and stretching the core and pelvic floor muscles needed for labor and delivery.
Muscle Tension and Flexibility
By encouraging low impact positions, yoga can alleviate muscle tension and improve flexibility in pregnant women as their ligaments begin to stretch to accommodate their growing baby.
Shoulder and Back Strength
As highlighted on parents.com, prenatal yoga’s shoulder and back exercises will encourage better posture during and after pregnancy when muscles can be strained from nursing or hauling a stroller.
In addition to the strengthening benefits of yoga, prenatal classes also encourage participants to focus on their breathing as a way to connect to their body and baby, which is a great way to practice controlled breathing used during labor.
Yoga emphasizes teaching a breathing technique called ujjayi which “requires you to take in air slowly through your nose, filling your lungs, and [exhaling] completely until your stomach compresses”, according to babycenter.com.
Carpel Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome, a common complaint among pregnant women, can be alleviated through pregnancy yoga. Yoga utilizes poses that open the shoulder and that open and support the wrists which help.
Being fit in general will make labor and delivery easier overall, however, Prenatal yoga classes are designed to assist women to work on specific muscle groups that aid in the birthing process.
Building up core strength during prenatal yoga practice can help women with pushing more efficiently during childbirth.
Learning how to do Kegel exercises, can help strengthen pelvic floor for better muscle control during delivery and a speedier healing after birth. Yoga practices deep breathing and meditation, which are excellent coping techniques.
Using these practices during labor will ease tension caused by the extra adrenaline the body produces during this time, and in turn will speed along the process of childbirth.
Yoga for pregnant women classes offer the opportunity to bond with other women who understand the ups and downs of pregnancy. This builds confidence with ladies who are pregnant. Practicing prenatal yoga provides a support network that may ease postpartum blues, as well as help women connect with their growing babies.
Not every expectant mother has the opportunity to attend formal pregnancy and childbirth education classes. Yoga during pregnancy classes provides an informal platform for women to network and learn from one another. During prenatal yoga sessions women spend time discussing aspects such as what to expect during labor, how to naturally manage labor pain, and what poses might be helpful during labor.
Seek Advice Before Starting Yoga During Pregnancy
As with all exercise programs, it is best to talk with your health care provider prior to starting yoga especially if you are experiencing complications with your pregnancy.
If your health advisor gives the go-ahead, try to find a yoga instructor trained in prenatal yoga. At the very least, make sure your instructor knows you’re expecting.
Yoga During Pregnancy Precautions
Hot yoga and Bikram classes should be avoided during this time due to the risk of overheating.
As pregnancy progresses, ligaments and joints can easily be injured so it is important to avoid positions that are uncomfortable such as headstands and inversions.
Remember to follow the rules of safe pregnancy exercise, such as staying hydrated by drinking lots of water before, during, and after exercising.
With these precautions in mind, prenatal yoga can be an excellent exercise choice to develop full body strength, practice breathing techniques and connect with your baby during pregnancy.