Prenatal yoga is a fantastic way to stay active while expecting. It’s mild and low-impact, and it’s good for both your physical and emotional health. Continue reading to find out more about this type of pregnancy exercise, including which postures are safe to do while pregnant and how to begin your own prenatal yoga practise.
What is prenatal yoga?
Prenatal yoga is a flexible kind of exercise that incorporates the mind and soul as well as the body. Gentle stretching and strengthening, mental calming, and developing increased awareness of the breath are all part of prenatal yoga.
What are the benefits of prenatal yoga?
Yoga is an excellent kind of exercise for pregnant women. Prenatal yoga courses are quite popular, and when combined with a cardiovascular activity (such as walking), yoga can be an excellent method for expectant mothers to stay fit. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned practitioner, yoga can help you stay limber, tone your muscles, and improve your balance and circulation while pregnant — all with minimal joint stress.
Yoga can assist you in dealing with the physical challenges of labour, delivery, and new motherhood. Yoga teaches you how to take deep breaths and relax mindfully. One of the first things you’ll learn in a yoga session is how to breathe completely. To practise yoga’s ujjayi breathing method, inhale gently through your nose, fill your lungs as your belly expands, and exhale completely through your nose until your stomach collapses.
Prenatal yoga helps you prepare for labour and delivery. When you learn ujjayi breathing, you will be able to stay calm when you need it the most. Your body creates adrenaline and may produce less oxytocin, a hormone that helps labour proceed, while you’re in pain or terrified. When you’re in pain, a daily yoga practise will help you fight the impulse to stiffen up. You’ll be better equipped to handle stressful situations if you practise relaxation in yoga.
Yoga lowers your and your baby’s dangers. Prenatal yoga, according to a study of ten research papers, lowers your risk of pregnancy problems, pain, and stress, and may even lower your risk of delivering a baby who is tiny for his gestational age.
A healthy community can be found. Yoga’s health benefits extend beyond pregnancy and physical well-being. “Taking a prenatal yoga class is a fantastic opportunity to meet other pregnant women and become involved in a community,” says Cynthea Denise, a licenced nurse and prenatal yoga instructor in Oakland, California. Being in a pleasant, encouraging setting with others can provide a consistent emotional lift and keep you motivated to exercise.
Prenatal yoga poses
During pregnancy, the following positions, or asanas, are beneficial:
The tailor’s or Cobbler’s pose is a seated stance that helps expand the pelvis. Make sure your “sit bones” are securely anchored on your mat or blanket if your hips are too loose. To avoid hyperextending your hips, place pillows or rolled-up towels under your knees.
- Sit against a wall with your soles of your feet contacting each other.
- Gently squeeze your knees apart, but don’t force them apart.
- As long as you’re comfortable, stay in this position.
Pelvic tilt, often known as the furious cat position, relieves back pain, which is a typical complaint during pregnancy.
- Kneel with your arms shoulder-width apart and your knees hip-width apart on your hands and knees. Maintain a straight line with your arms, but don’t lock your elbows.
- As you breathe in, tuck your buttocks down and circle your back.
- As you exhale, relax your back into a neutral position.
- Continue at your own pace.
Squatting: Denise suggests squatting every day to relax and open the pelvis while also strengthening the upper legs. Rest your back on objects like yoga blocks or a stack of books as your pregnancy weight increases. Concentrate on relaxing and allowing your breath to fall deeply into your stomach.
- Standing with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart and toes pointed outward, face the back of a chair. Hold the chair’s back for support.
- Relax your shoulders while contracting your abdominal muscles and lifting your chest. Then, as if you were going to sit in a chair, lower your tailbone toward the floor. Find your balance by putting most of your weight on your heels.
- Maintain this position for as long as you feel comfortable.
- Take a deep breath and, exhaling, propel yourself to a standing position by pushing into your legs.
- Goddess posture is another squatting position for relaxing the hips during pregnancy.
Side-lying position: At the end of an exercise, this is an excellent resting pose.
- Place your head on your arm or a blanket while lying on your left or right side.
- To support your hips, place a body pillow or blanket roll between your thighs.
- Your yoga instructor may lead you through some breathing techniques if you’re in a class.
Other pregnancy-friendly poses include standing warrior, hip rotations, and modified pigeon pose. These forms increase your balance while strengthening your joints and opening your pelvis. Backaches and sciatica can be relieved with warrior poses.
You can also use this 7-yoga-pose illustrated sequence whenever you’re upset, anxious, or just need some “me time.”
Yoga safety precautions during pregnancy
When you’re pregnant, you need to be especially cautious with any exercise.
Consult your obstetrician-gynecologist. First, check with your doctor to see if beginning or continuing a yoga practise is safe for you. If you’re given the go light, look for a pregnant yoga instructor. If that isn’t possible, make sure your instructor is aware of your impending arrival.
Take measures in general. To stay hydrated, follow the standards of safe pregnancy exercise, such as drinking plenty of water before, during, and after your workout.
Take it easy on yourself. As you stretch, take deep, regular breaths. If you’re a seasoned yoga practitioner, know that your usual regimen will need to be tweaked over time. Denise advises, “Listen to your body and trust what it tells you.” Make an adjustment or ask your instructor to recommend a different position if you’re experiencing pain or discomfort. Hold positions for as long as you’re comfortable, and don’t push yourself past pain or weariness.
Be mindful of any changes in your body. During pregnancy, your joints loosen up, so ease into yoga positions slowly and carefully. Take your time because your progressively developing girth will impact your sense of balance.
To avoid losing your balance and risking injury to yourself or your baby, conduct standing poses with your heel to the wall or use a chair for support in your third trimester. Props like blocks and ropes can also help you move through different poses more steadily.
Avoid laying on your back beyond the first trimester, especially if you’re pregnant. Lying on your back can put strain on your inferior vena cava (the vein that sends blood from the legs to the heart) and cause blood flow to your uterus to decrease. It can also make you dizzy, induce shortness of breath, and make you feel nauseated.
When lying down, use a wedge or pillows to lift your upper body. Alternately, limit your time flat on your back to one minute and alternate rolling over to your side for 30 seconds between each back exercise.
Headstands and shoulder stands aren’t necessary. “Starting an inversion practise during pregnancy is not a good idea,” Denise explains. These poses are dangerous for most pregnant women because they put their head below their heart and risk falling or fainting.
Hold positions for a short period of time. Standing stationary for too long lowers the rate of blood flow back to the heart in some pregnant women, so it’s critical to stay moving.
Avoid positions that involve severe abdominal muscular stretching. Injury can be caused by deep forward and back bends, as well as deep twists. Stretching exercises that are painful or produce muscular soreness should be avoided.
When it’s hot and humid outside, avoid doing yoga. Do not participate in Bikram or hot yoga courses (in which the room is heated to 90 degrees or greater), since this can result in serious overheating, warns the author.
How do I choose a prenatal yoga class?
Yoga is for everyone, and every expecting mother may find a prenatal yoga session. Seek out personal recommendations, and if you don’t like the first instructor you try, look for another. Yoga should be beneficial to your body, mind, and soul throughout pregnancy.
Here’s where you can look for a pregnant yoga class:
- For an in-person class, use Yoga Finder or Yelp.
- Try one of these apps or online yoga courses.
- Request a referral from your doctor, a social media network, or an online community bulletin board such as NextDoor.
- Look for ads in your neighbourhood hospital or prenatal health centre.
- When should you start prenatal yoga?
When will I be able to begin prenatal yoga? You can begin prenatal yoga courses at any point throughout your pregnancy after receiving consent from your healthcare physician. Continuing with your normal yoga class (unless it’s hot yoga) through the first trimester is definitely safe if you’ve been practising yoga before your pregnancy.
- What is a prenatal yoga?
Prenatal yoga is a comprehensive approach to fitness that involves stretching, mental centering, and concentrated breathing, similar to other types of birthing preparation sessions. Prenatal yoga appears to be safe for pregnant women and their newborns, according to research.
- How many times a week should I do prenatal yoga?
Without becoming too sore, 2-3 times per week should suffice. If you haven’t already, take a prenatal class. These programmes are designed to help you cope with the discomforts of pregnancy while also preparing you for a more bearable delivery.
- Does prenatal yoga help with birth?
Yoga during pregnancy can help a baby’s birth position.
By enabling the pelvic bones and ligaments to open and move apart from one another, yoga positions may also help optimise the baby’s position for birth. As the due date approaches, the baby’s head will have greater area to snuggle towards the bottom of the uterus.