Yoga Provides a Wide Range of Benefits for Pregnant Women
Yoga for pregnant women is a gentle yet effective way to stay in shape and
prepare your body for all the changes it will face in the months ahead.
More and more emphasis is being put on the
importance of staying healthy and active during pregnancy, but it can be
difficult, awkward, or even unsafe to participate in certain activities.
Prenatal yoga, unlike some exercise programs, consists of movements that can be
beneficial to both you and your baby, and can be modified as you move through
In fact, it has become so popular that many
studios now offer special yoga classes for pregnant women. Even if you are new
to the practice, now is the perfect time to start. There are poses that will
help with everything from backaches to nausea, anxiety, and sleeplessness.
Whether you are battling physical ailments or dealing with the roller coaster
emotions that come with pregnancy
hormones, yoga can benefit both your body and mind so you can enjoy your
journey to motherhood.
Is Yoga During
Yes, practicing yoga during pregnancy can be
both safe and beneficial; however – as with any physical activity performed
while pregnant - there are certain
precautions that must be taken.
Before beginning any prenatal yoga program,
it is important that you speak with your doctor to make sure that it is safe
for your particular situation. If you are taking a class, you should tell your
instructor that you are pregnant, or better yet, join a class designed
specifically for pregnant women.
Some poses should not be performed at
certain stages of your pregnancy, and others should be avoided altogether. So,
if you prefer to practice yoga at home, it is recommended that you at least
consult with a professional who can help you decide what postures and movements
would be the safest.
Keep in mind that every woman is different. Size, fitness level, flexibility, and your experience with yoga will all make a difference when it comes to your ability to perform certain poses at each stage of your pregnancy. Some women are comfortable lying on their back well into the second, or even third trimester, while others find that this position can cause nausea and dizziness.
Practicing Yoga Safely While Pregnant
Prenatal yoga offers many benefits, but
there are certain precautions that should be taken to avoid injury to you or
After the first trimester, it is generally recommended that you
avoid poses that require lying on your back as this can reduce blood flow to
the uterus and may also cause nausea or dizziness. However, some women find that
postures such as the pelvic tilt, bridge, or corpse pose provide relief of back pain and tension well into the third
trimester. So, it is important that you listen to your body and refrain for
performing any poses that cause discomfort. Most instructors suggest that these
types of poses be modified and the duration shortened (don't hold them as long)
to avoid any potential issues.
Avoid poses that provide a deep stretch to the abdominal muscles
such as forward or backward bends. Pregnancy hormones that allow the uterus to
stretch also soften connective tissue so you are more susceptible to strains,
pulls, or tears. Plus, you don't want to upset the little one you are carrying.
Take care when practicing twisting poses. Any twists should focus
more on the shoulders and upper back, while avoiding deep twists to the waist
Your expanding belly can affect your center of gravity and impair
balance. For this reason, you may want to do standing poses against a wall or
hold onto a chair for support and stability. You don't want to lose your
balance and risk injuring yourself or your baby.
Avoid inversion poses such as handstands or headstands.
As your pregnancy advances, you may find it necessary to avoid poses
that require lying on your stomach.
Avoid Bikram Yoga. Working out in excessive heat can be unsafe
Make use of props such as blocks, straps, pillows, or towels. These tools can provide greater stability and
make certain poses easier to perform by relieving pressure or strain on your
lower back, hips, or knees.
Be careful. During pregnancy,
your body is constantly changing and a posture that was easy
yesterday may be almost impossible next
week. Sink into the movements slowly and go only as far as you feel comfortable.
Once you feel you have reached your limit – stop! Even if it isn't as deep
as you were able to go before. Listen to
your body and adjust your program accordingly.
Benefits of Yoga for Pregnant Women
Prenatal yoga is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your baby. Even though it is one of the happiest times of your life, many women find that pregnancy brings with it a myriad of issues that can cause emotional stress and physical discomfort.
Since yoga involves both the body and the mind, it is a great way to relieve anxiety, encourage peace, and manage all the challenges and changes you will face throughout your pregnancy.
Performing a short, simple program of gentle poses can really help with a lot of the common issues pregnant women experience. Just look at the benefits....
helps reduce nausea and morning sickness
provides energy and combats fatigue
limits unwanted weight gain
helps improve digestive issues such as acid reflux and indigestion
stimulates the bowels and prevents constipation
reduces fluid retention, swelling, and cramping
improves balance, especially in the third trimester
encourages healthy circulation and blood pressure
helps prevent or improve back, hip, or sciatica pain
keeps the body supple and flexible
relieves tension around the cervix and birth canal, and opens up the pelvis to aid in a easier delivery
helps decrease stress and anxiety, which is important for a healthy mom and baby
helps the body recover faster after delivery
Best Yoga Poses
Butterfly Stretch/Cobbler's Pose
Strengthens inner thighs, opens hips
Sit on the floor or mat with your legs bent, knees pointing out and the soles of the feet pressed together.
Lengthen your spine and neck, looking straight ahead. Make sure your shoulders are down and back, not lifted toward your ears.
Place your hands on your feet and use your arms to gently press your knees toward the floor.
Remain in this position for as long as you feel comfortable. Release and repeat if desired.
opens the pelvis and hips, strengthens legs
and thighs, increases flexibility
Stand holding the back of chair for support.
Spread your feet a little wider than hip-width apart, toes pointing
outward at about a 45 degree angle.
Stand straight with your chest lifted, ab muscles pulled in, and
Slowly bend your knees, lowering your buttocks toward the floor.
Lower your tailbone all the way down to a full squat, keeping your
weight on your heels.
If you are able to let go of the chair, place your palms together in
front of your chest and use your elbows to gently push your knees outward,
getting a deeper stretch in the hips and groin.
Hold this position for a 30-60 seconds, then return to standing.
**If you are unable to keep your heels flat
on the floor, rise up on your toes
**Stack a few books or roll a blanket to sit
on if it is too hard to support your weight
Relieves back pain
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the
Keep your feet about hip-width apart and your toes pointed forward
Lift your hips off the floor and slide a yoga block or roll under
your sacrum (base of your spine)
Keep your arms relaxed alongside your body
Make sure you are comfortable and hold this position for a few
minutes. Keep in mind that poses that require you to be on your back may be
difficult in the second and third trimester, so do not perform this movement if
it causes any dizziness, nausea, or pain.
Press your feet to the floor, lift your hips and remove the yoga
Lower your hips to the floor.
** Many yoga instructors suggest that this
pose be held for less time as your pregnancy advances. In the first trimester,
you may maintain this posture for several minutes, but in the third trimester
you should only hold the movement for a
minute or two to prevent hindering blood flow to the uterus.
I will continue to share ideas about diet and exercise that have helped me along the way. If you have any questions I can help you with, or ideas you would like to share, feel free to contact me or visit our Q&A forum
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