When you’re pregnant, at some point, the traditional methods of exercise you may be accustomed to, like running, or lifting weights at the gym, just aren’t viable options. Prenatal yoga is a great alternative to adopt during pregnancy to help expectant mothers get into or stay in excellent shape, but there are some specific things yoga can do to contribute to a healthy, happy pregnancy.
Supporting your changing body
Your body is going to change rapidly and dramatically during pregnancy. A regular yoga class can help you adjust and compensate for these changes as they come about, keeping you in balance and providing you a physical foundation to support the growing baby in your belly.
Strengthening the muscles used in labor
Prenatal yoga helps exercise the muscles you will use in labor, especially toning your core abdominal muscles and working the muscles in your hips and pelvis. Developing and maintaining muscles that are neither too relaxed, or too tight is an important goal for optimal balance. This will lend to a body that is primed and prepared for labor and will help your body return to a toned condition after delivery.
Preparing you mentally for labor
The prospect of giving birth and all the life changes a new baby will bring are enough to put our anxiety levels into overdrive; furthermore, actual labor can be a sort of practice in mental chaos. Prenatal yoga will help you develop tools to remain calm and present both before and during labor. The mindful breathing, and other deep meditative characteristics of yoga will allow you to center yourself mentally and emotionally, allowing your body to do what it needs to do physically during labor, and mitigating the connection of fear with tension that can sabotage your focus.
Connect with your baby
Going to a yoga class each week is a great time to leave behind the rigors of everyday life and focus on bonding with the baby growing inside you. As your pregnancy progresses, the different poses will also help you stay in tuned to how your body is changing physically. There are many exercises in prenatal yoga that are intended to connect you with your baby. You will feel how some poses are meant for both of you.
Helps with pain and insomnia
Prenatal yoga may provide relief from some of the more common downsides of your pregnancy. Lower back pain, nausea, headaches, carpal tunnel syndrome can all be helped by regular yoga classes. Stretching and toning your muscles will aid in blood circulation, and strengthen the muscles in your core, lending to better back support and easing chronic pain. The structured breathing you do during yoga also helps activate the parasympathetic mode in your nervous system, which is responsible for the mechanics of relaxation, both in your mind and in your body, which often lends to more quality sleep.
You Could Have a Healthier Pregnancy
Research has confirmed that the healthier and more prepared for labor you are, the healthier your baby will be. A 2005 study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that women who regularly practiced yoga were much less likely to encounter labor complications, and more likely to bring a baby to a healthy and full term.
Connect with other mothers
One fantastic benefit of taking a regular prenatal yoga class is that you will be taking it with other mothers who are going through the same things you are. There is often a community feel and classes become a support group for mothers to be, and lead to lasting friendships. Sharing your journey with others who can truly relate to can ease anxiety you may feel about your pregnancy, labor, or just being a mother.
Prenatal yoga may be an impactful addition to your routine as you take this journey. But, there is only one way to find out. Take a class to see if it is right for you.