During pregnancy your body goes through many changes, which creates stress on you mentally and physically. A way to maintain a healthy mind and body is prenatal yoga. Prenatal yoga focuses on poses for pregnant women, in order to increase strength and flexibility. It also helps pregnant women to develop proper breathing and relaxation techniques for easier and more comfortable labor.
What are the Benefits of Prenatal Yoga?
Prenatal yoga is good for overall wellness. It is a form of exercise that also speaks to your pregnancy wellness.
There are many benefits to prenatal yoga including:
- Improved sleep
- Reduced stress
- Increased strength, flexibility and endurance
- Decreased lower back pain
- Decreased nausea
- Decreased carpal tunnel syndrome
- Decreased headaches
- Reduced risk of preterm labor
- Lowered risk of intrauterine growth restriction (condition that slows the baby’s growth)
In addition to the benefits listed, studies have found there is a relationship between prenatal yoga and the reduction of hypertension-related complications, as well as, improvement of fetal outcome.
Prenatal Yoga and Pregnancy Support
While you are pregnant, it is important to build a strong support system. Oftentimes, this support system will include family and friends. However it can be beneficial to expand your support system to include other pregnant mothers. While participating in a prenatal yoga class, you are given the opportunity to meet other expecting mothers whom you can share your concerns with. More importantly, meeting other expecting mothers gives you the chance to talk with someone going through pregnancy.
Joining a Prenatal Yoga Class
There are many important factors to take into account when choosing to learn prenatal yoga. The safest way is to take a yoga class designed for pregnant women (prenatal yoga). It is important you look for classes taught by a certified prenatal yoga instructor, as they are familiar with the specific poses to avoid and which ones to focus on.
What You Need to Know
Remember to moderate your yoga routine to about 30 minutes and to never push yourself. Yoga is a means to relax, so there is no reason to push yourself, which isn’t safe or healthy for an expecting mother.
While there are many benefits to yoga, it is important to remember not all yoga is safe for pregnant women. Yoga, such as Bikram, and other practices of yoga that require a hot environment, are not safe for the expecting mother. Doing those hot forms of yoga can cause hyperthermia. Any poses in which you lie flat on your back, or require a lot of abdominal stretching, are also not recommended for pregnant women. Additionally, women who are at risk of premature labor are not recommended to practice prenatal yoga. It is important to consult your doctor before starting prenatal yoga.
MayoClinic Staff (2013, January 22). Prenatal yoga :What you need to know: Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/prenatal-yoga/
National Association of Complementary & Alternative Medicine (2014). Prenatal Yoga: Retrieved from http://www.nacams.org/yoga/disciplines/prenatal-yoga/
Williams M (2014.). Yoga is Beneficial During Pregnancy: Retrieved from http://www.bastyrcenter.org/content/view/836/