Prenatal yoga can help you cope with the discomforts of pregnancy and improve your labor. Read on to find the amazing yoga benefits for both you and your baby.
It can be hard to get up and exercise with all the stress, fatigue, and nausea that comes along with pregnancy.
But, exercise is vital for a healthy pregnancy, and yoga might just be the key to relief for many of your pregnancy discomforts.
Prenatal yoga can also help get your body and your mind ready for your birthing day and ultimately improve your labor.
In this article, we will cover the top 10 reasons you should consider starting yoga if you have a bun in the oven.
But remember, always get the go-ahead from your doctor before starting any new exercise routine during pregnancy.
10 Reasons To Do Prenatal Yoga
Here’s why doctors, instructors and moms all over the world recommend prenatal yoga:
1. Alleviates Aches And Pains
As your body grows during pregnancy, so do the aches and pains.
Backache is one of the most common discomforts of expecting moms. Yoga poses, like cat-cow, help to relieve this pain by strengthening the abs, stabilizing the joints, and promoting better posture.
Many moms have also found prenatal yoga to help prevent the buildup of muscle tension and ease ligament pain, tight hips, and cramping.
2. Fights Fatigue
Fatigue hits you hard in the first and third trimesters. It’s a struggle just to get through the day.
But, even by taking only 10-20 minutes to practice yoga can help restore your energy and leave you feeling refreshed.
Hit the mat and carry out child’s pose, mountain pose, and some forward bends to rejuvenate your body and your mind.
3. Improves Circulation
Your blood has more tasks than ever during pregnancy. It now has to run an obstacle around displaced organs and filter through to the placenta to provide nutrients to your baby.
This change in blood flow can affect your entire body and can cause edema, fatigue, dizziness, and even high blood pressure.
Regularly practicing yoga can help improve your circulation as your body grows.
Poses like cat-cow, downward dog, and plank can oxygenate the blood, decreasing swelling and promoting an optimal environment for your growing baby.
4. Strengthens Your Pelvic Floor
Pregnancy and birth sure do challenge your pelvic floor. Weak pelvic muscles could leave you with urine trickling down your leg from a simple sneeze, or from not making it to the toilet in time.
Yoga can strengthen, stretch, and lengthen your pelvic floor muscles, which will help to support the extra pregnancy weight and shorten pushing time during labor.
Prenatal yoga will also aid in postpartum recovery, by increasing blood flow to the perineum and preventing prolapse of your pelvic organs.
Incorporate chair pose, yogic squat, and skandasana (wide side lunge) into your yoga practice for a healthy and happy pelvis.
5. Improves Mental Health
Many expecting moms find prenatal yoga great for releasing any inner tension and stress. It’s also an excellent way to learn how to enjoy your changing body.
I always found myself feeling good about my pregnant body after my weekly prenatal yoga class. It truly helped embrace who I was at that time.
Yoga can also prevent depression during pregnancy, and child’s pose is great for relieving anxiety. Melt into Savasana (side-lying) and watch your stresses fade away.
6. Helps You Catch Some Zzz’s
Pregnancy insomnia is for real! Luckily, yoga can help improve your sleep and prevent you from finding yourself awake at 3 am watching yet another episode of Friends.
Because yoga helps reduce stress, regulates the nervous system, and teaches you to listen to your body, you can catch some more Zzz’s.
Create a regular nighttime routine with a gentle yoga practice in it, and you’ll quickly find yourself getting to bed quicker and staying asleep longer.
7. Encourages Baby Into An Optimal Birthing Position
The best position for your baby to be in for labor and birth is head down and engaged, facing your back. This allows for a quicker and easier labor.
Hip openers, like the yogic squat and butterfly pose, create space in the pelvis and encourage baby to move down into the birth canal.
Cat-cow and downward facing dog can help to flip a breech baby later in pregnancy.
Many moms have even found specific yoga poses help to naturally induce labor when they were facing a medical induction.
8. Practice Breathing
Yoga teaches you to control and focus on your breathing. This conscious awareness can make a huge difference in your birthing experience.
Conscious breathing will help keep you calm and even make contractions less painful (or at least distract you from them).
The calmer you are during labor, the more likely you’ll be able to “let go” and allow your baby to come, shortening your birthing time.
9. Develop Stamina And Strength
A prenatal yoga class can help you identify, stretch, strengthen and relax the muscles that you will use during labor.
Poses, such as downward facing dog and warrior II, tone your muscles, preparing your body for the end of pregnancy and the rigors of birth.
I wouldn’t wish a long labor on my worst enemy, but if it happens to you, regular yoga practice could be the ace card that gives you the stamina to get through it.
10. Bond With Your Baby
Prenatal yoga can help us slow down from our busy world and be present with our bodies and our babies. It helps us tune-in and focus and connect.
With prenatal yoga, you practice breathing for two and focus your attention on the little life growing within you.
A guided visualization can help wonders if you’re finding it challenging to bond with your baby. And a couples class is a great way to bond as a family.
I’m sure you can’t wait to hit the mat now that you know how much prenatal yoga can help you cope with the discomforts of pregnancy and improve your labor.
Remember to listen to your body, don’t push it, and enjoy this time with your baby.
This is a guest post written by Jenny Silverstone, mother of two, who gives tips for new moms to keep fit, healthy and safe during pregnancy.