Prenatal yoga is a healthy practice to pick up during your pregnancy, but you might be wondering what specific benefits practicing yoga during pregnancy can give you - read on for our top benefits of prenatal yoga and some tips to get you started, so you can see a positive difference during your pregnancy!
Supports the changes in your body
Our bodies are constantly changing, and that’s, even more, the case during pregnancy. The body experiences a faster pace of change, and can sometimes need help adjusting, or compensating for the changes. Prenatal yoga is a great way to support your body in the ways it’s changing, as it gives you a healthy and safe way to stretch muscles and strengthen them, helping you to support your pregnancy belly.
Tones key muscle groups
Prenatal yoga can help to tone your body, especially in key areas for the birthing process including your pelvic floor, your hips, and your abdominal core muscles. Toned muscles have a perfect balance between length and strength, and this is important during pregnancy! Building up and maintaining your muscle tones during pregnancy through yoga can help to minimize any aches or pains during your pregnancy, and can also help you if you want to return to your pre-pregnancy body after delivery.
Prepares you for labor and birth
Prenatal yoga classes can help you to realize just what your body can do and how it can open up. Labor and birth is a stressful time and women can experience fear, leading to their bodies to tighten up and creating more pain. If you practice yoga techniques like deep and mindful breathing, you can help your body to relax and loosen, which will help you along the birthing process.
Connects you with your baby
Even going to a prenatal yoga class once a week will help you to remember to take time out of your busy schedule to do something for, and bond with your growing baby. If you start when you first fall pregnant, you’ll start to notice how your body responds differently to yoga poses, showing you all the physical changes that are happening within your body, and noticing how your baby is growing inside of it.
Relieves common pregnancy complaints
Being pregnant comes with a lot of side effects, including lower back pain, nausea, insomnia, headaches, carpal tunnel syndrome, and shortness of breath. Yoga can help alleviate some of these symptoms, by stretching and toning the muscles to help the blood circulate throughout the body. Additionally, the deep breathing that you do in yoga can help to bring oxygen to your baby and to your own body.
Studies have shown that mindfulness yoga, which combines the physical movements of yoga with meditation, can also help to alleviate depression or anxiety which many people suffer from during pregnancy.
Makes your pregnancy healthier
Unsurprisingly, research confirms that a healthy mother has a higher chance of having a healthy baby. And studies have actually shown that mothers who practice yoga regularly during their pregnancies are less likely to have an early labor or to deliver a low-birthweight baby.
Allows you to make friends with other like-minded people
One of the best benefits of a prenatal yoga class is the community you can find. It’s a great way to connect with other expectant mothers, and you can connect with people going through the same experience as you, which makes it easier to ask for advice, almost like a pregnancy support group. Sharing pregnancy with other people going through the same can help to ease any anxiety you may be feeling about motherhood.
Things to keep in mind for prenatal yoga: It’s important to protect yourself and your baby during any kind of exercise when pregnant. Here are a few safety guidelines to consider.
Talking to your doctor
Before beginning any exercise, make sure you have the all-okay from your doctor. Some conditions, such as back problems or heart disease, as well as increased risk of preterm labor, mean that prenatal yoga may be risky for you.
While pregnant, you won’t be able to workout out as much or as hard as you used to. Try at least 30 minutes of moderate activity a day, and don’t push yourself too hard - any length of workout is still good and can help you to stay in shape and prepare for labor. And remember, if you can’t speak properly while working out - you might be pushing yourself too much.
Stay cool and stay hydrated
Make sure you practice yoga in a well-ventilated room that you can breathe in, that won’t get too warm. This can help you avoid overheating. Making sure you drink plenty of water before, during and after your workout can also help you to stay hydrated.
Watch out for certain postures
Your instructor should tell you which poses you can do while pregnant, but some things to watch out for are to maintain normal spine curvature - you can do this by bending from your hips instead of your back. Also, avoid lying on your belly, or your back. You should also avoid doing any deep forward or backward bends, as well as twisting poses that put pressure on your abdomen. You can modify poses and use props to accommodate changes in your body and center of gravity. Remember, if you’re not sure it’s safe - ask for advice!
By Amy Cavill
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