Yoga is a great way to stay fit and healthy both physically and mentally. Did you know it can be even more beneficial during pregnancy?
Prepare for Labor: Labor takes a toll on the body. You’ll be using muscles you have not been accustomed to using, and yoga can help strengthen and stretch those areas to help prepare for labor. The pelvic floor, core, and hip muscles get worked and toned in yoga, preparing your body for labor.
Relieve Symptoms of Pregnancy: Prenatal yoga is great for relieving common symptoms of pregnancy, including back pain, nausea, headaches, and even Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. The muscles getting worked, in addition to preparing you for labor, can also minimize the pains experienced during those nine months of pregnancy.
Keeping in Shape: It’s important to maintain a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy. Picking up (or keeping up with) a yoga routine is a great way to get the right amount of exercise in without overworking your body. It can also transition your body back into shape post-pregnancy.
Prepare for Labor: One of the keystones of yoga is proper breathing. For many, a main goal of yoga is to reach tranquility. It’s no wonder that yoga will help a woman during labor! Keeping calm and breathing can be the toughest things to do when pushing a baby out of your body, so any practice with this simple routine will go a long way when it comes time to deliver.
Bonding & Support: If you choose to join a yoga class, especially one focused for prenatal yoga, you may find it a good opportunity to bond with other mothers. Being in a space with like-minded women who are going through the same thing as you, at the same time, can be beneficial to your mental state to have someone who relates to you. This can also be a time you feel more connected to your baby–being more aware of the little life growing inside you as you move your body.
“Me time”: During your pregnancy you may feel overwhelmed by trying to balance your daily life with a little one growing every day. Not only are there extra responsibilities to take care of your baby, but the aches and pains of pregnancy can become stressful at times. Plus, chances are since you’ve been pregnant, everyone is checking in on you. Now you can take some time for yourself. Prenatal yoga could be something you do to unwind and get away from the stresses of everyday life since it’s a mind and body workout experience.
Before you go packing a bag and a yoga mat, you will want to check out these precautions:
Avoid Hot Yoga: Some forms of yoga, called “hot yoga” or Bikram Yoga, are practiced in an environment that has been made hot or humid. These forms of yoga are not safe for pregnant women, as the excessive heat could cause hyperthermia. For the same reason, pregnant women are encouraged to stay away from hot tubs and saunas. Hyperthermia can lead to symptoms like dehydration, muscle cramps, exhaustion or nausea (at the mild end of the spectrum). On top of that, if you experience hyperthermia during early pregnancy, it can raise the risk of brain and spinal cord birth defects in the baby.
Be Aware of Uncomfortable Poses: Be sure to avoid or modify full body twists, laying on your stomach, and major bending poses while pregnant as they can be difficult and uncomfortable for both you and your baby. If you’re an avid, experienced yoga practitioner some poses might be okay for you to continue to practice. Either way, novice or professional, we highly suggest talking to your doctor about what is safe for you and your baby.
Don’t Push Yourself: Yoga is not for those looking for a hard sweat or that just-hit-the-gym feeling. While it is a workout, it’s also meant to be a full mind and body experience in a calm and soothing way. You shouldn’t push yourself hard during a yoga routine or any exercise while pregnant, especially if its uncomfortable or unsafe. If you’re looking for something with more edge and excitement, then yoga may not be the best fit for you.
If you’re considering taking a yoga class, but don’t know where to start, perhaps the best place to start is your local community center! Sometimes they will hold free prenatal classes, while yoga studios may offer a deal for first-time visitors. We highly recommend, especially if you’re brand-new to yoga, to start out with a certified instructor. Self teaching as a newbie using books or apps online can be cost-saving and more flexible for your schedule, but you also run the risk of hurting yourself or your baby by not performing the poses correctly. If you’re brand-new to yoga, having others around you to encourage and guide you during this exercise may be your best route. Looking for a new doctor to help answer all your questions about pregnancy and wellness? Schedule an appointment at any of our three locations!