Having a child is one of the blessed feelings in the world. You are all ready to step into an all-new phase of your life. It is very important to understand that during pregnancy, your body can go through a number of changes, which ultimately creates stress on your mentally and physically. Prenatal Yoga is a way to stay fit both bodily and mentally during pregnancy. Prenatal yoga is a compilation of yoga poses for pregnant women that can increase your strength and flexibility required during labor and delivery. It also promoted breathing and relaxation techniques for easier and more comfortable delivery of the baby.
What are the Benefits of Pregnancy Yoga?
Prenatal yoga not only helps in managing the mental and the physical state of mind, but it also balances the emotional state. Prenatal yoga is a healthy practice to be practiced during pregnancy as it allows you to stay calm and feel great during the utter amazing nine months of your life. The following are the benefits of performing prenatal yoga.
- It readily supports the changes occurring in your body: During pregnancy, the body changes are accelerated and so it is required that you adjust and compensate to it. Prenatal yoga poses are basically designed in order to support these changes happening in your body. It indulges in yoga poses that make it easy for you to stretch muscles and strengthen their bodies especially the lower part of the body.
- It tones the muscles group: It helps in toning of your physical body especially the pelvic floor, hip, and abdominal core muscles in order to prepare them for the delivery process. Through the prenatal yoga practices, will help to perfectly tone your muscles, creating a right balance between the length and the strength so that it is neither too tight nor too lax. Going with poses like lunges and gentle backbends can help you in reducing the aches and pain during those nine months and also bring your body back into shape after the successful delivery of your child.
- It readily prepares you for labor and delivery: It is not easy giving birth to a child because everyone’s body reacts differently to the process. Some bodies would open up and some will tighten up. Prenatal yoga can help your body to loosen and relax and get through the mammalian cycle of birth with minimum pain, medication, and discomfort. It helps your body to readily prepare for the delivery process so that during the stressful condition you don’t panic and can go through a smooth and easy delivery process.
- It also promotes the connection between you and your baby: Prenatal yoga classes are organized generally once a week, asking you to take some time off from your busy schedule and create a special bond with your baby. With the increasing number of months of pregnancy, the response of your body to the different yoga poses is different owing to the physical changes taking place in your body. So it grows the connection you have with your child.
- It provides relief from the common pregnancy complaints: Experiencing normal pain and discomfort during pregnancy is normal since your body is trying to handle a lot of changes all of a sudden. So common pregnancy discomforts like lower back pain, nausea, insomnia, headaches, shortness of breath and carpal tunnel syndrome are normal to experience. Yoga will ask you to stretch and tone your muscles, in turn stimulating proper blood circulation throughout the body in a healthy manner. Deep breathing exercises will bring in the needed oxygen to your body and also to the baby. Not only this, a good mindful hour of yoga combined with the elements of yoga poses and meditation practices can result in improving the emotional state of the pregnancy. It can provide you comfort through its physical and emotional steps.
- It promotes a healthier form of pregnancy: Practicing prenatal yoga can result in a healthier baby and also a healthier you post the delivery. Women, who actively practice yoga during their pregnancy, are less likely to suffer from preterm labor or the delivery of a low-birth-weight baby.
- Aids in your knowledge through the interaction with the other pregnant women: When you start with the prenatal class, you meet a number of pregnant mothers who are expecting. You can discuss your lifestyle and food patterns with them and also gain some information about pregnancy that you are unaware of. Your journey of pregnancy will become easy with some friends that are going through the same.
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What Happens During A Typical Prenatal Yoga Class?
For women who will are expecting their first child and do not know what prenatal yoga class is all about, the following are the types of exercises that are involved in the class.
- Deep breathing: You have to practice breathing in and out slowly and deeply through the nose so as to provide your body with the necessary oxygen. The breathing techniques practiced in a prenatal yoga class can result in the reduction or managing shortness of breath during pregnancy and also prepares for the contractions during labor.
- Gentle stretching: A simple and easy stretching will involve the different areas of your body like necks and arms in full range motion.
Postures: Your body will be developing strength, flexibility, and balance through the practice of prenatal yoga. For your support, blankets, cushions, and belts can be used.
- Cooling down and relaxation: You will be required to relax your muscles and restore the resting heart rate and breathing rhythm. This will improve your body’s response to self-awareness and inner calm.
Best Yoga Asanas for Normal Delivery
During pregnancy, it is very important that you exercise so as to promote a healthier baby and a smooth labor and delivery process. These prenatal yoga positions are easy and do not require any specific challenge for their practice.
- The Cat stretch or Marjariasana: It requires you to stretch your neck and shoulders and remove any stiffness. It makes your spine flexible because the back has to handle more weight as the pregnancy progresses. It improves blood circulation and makes your reproductive organs nourished.
- Standing Sideways and bending on one arm or Konasana: It makes your spine flexible and alleviates constipation.
- Standing sideways using both arms or Konasana: It stretches and tones your arms, abdominal organs, and legs.
- Warrior Pose or Veerbhadrasana: It leads to improvement in the balance of your body and even tones your arms, legs and lower back.
- Triangle pose or Trikonasana: It maintains the physical and the mental balance of your body and reduces back pain and stress.
- Butterfly Pose or Badhakonasana: It leads to improvement in the flexibility in the hip and groin region and alleviates fatigue. It also promotes a smooth delivery if practices until late pregnancy.
- Legs up the Wall pose or Viparita Karani: It helps in reducing backache and improves the flow of blood to the pelvic region.
- Corpse Pose or Shavasana: It relaxes your body and even repairs the body cells. It also balances your emotional state of mind and relieves any stress.
- Yoga Nidra or Yogic Sleep: It helps to reduce tension and anxiety and also regulates blood pressure. It deep relaxes all the cells of your body.
Are There Any Specific Guidelines That Have To Be Followed Before You Start With Prenatal Yoga?
Yes, it is important that you talk with your health care provider before you begin with your yoga classes since they might allow you to do the same only after studying your pregnancy reports. Also, practice yoga for 30 minutes every day and avoid poses that make you feel uncomfortable. Also, stay hydrated while practicing yoga since this avoids overheating and related aspects. Avoid deep bending poses and postures that put pressure on your abdomen.
Having a baby is not an easy task considering the fact that your body undergoes a lot of changes and you have to bear them. But with proper practices, happy and content mind and healthy routine, the nine months of your pregnancy will be the best months of your life. Choose a yoga instructor that has a small class size and a nurturing environment.
- Effects of prenatal yoga: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials
- Systematic review of yoga for pregnant women: current status and future directions
- Effects of yoga intervention during pregnancy: a review for current status
Author Name- Dr. Seang Lin Tan
Professor, Obstetrics & Gynecology
Dr Seang Lin Tan is an internationally renowned physician in the field of infertility and a pioneer in the simplification of in vitro fertilization (IVF). In his role of Chair of Obstetrics and Gyncology, and of Gynecologist-in-Chief at the McGill University Health Centre, Dr. Tan has brought generational change to the challenges of human infertility, assisting countless families and positioning the University at the forefront in this field. In 1996, he created the McGill Reproductive Centre (MRC) and then founded the originelle.com – Fertility Clinic & Women’s Health Centre. He served as Founding President of the Global Chinese Association of Reproductive Medicine (GCARM) and as Founding President of the International Society of In-Vitro Maturation of Oocytes (IVM) in 2004. He is the Founder Treasurer and then Vice-President of International Society of IVF (ISIVF). His numerous research publications are available on ResearchGate