Pregnancy Exercise : Benefits of Prenatal Yoga
Pregnancy yoga helps women to connect to their bodies and their babies in the womb.
They learn how to move more intuitively and to trust and have confidence in their bodies during birth. Pregnancy yoga helps women sleep better and keeps aches and pains, that are common later in pregnancy, at bay.
As the bump starts to get bigger and heavier and the centre of gravity shifts, some women may start to experience back pain, rib pain, hip pain and shortness of breath. Regular yoga practice can help fine tune our balance both physically and emotionally, as we breathe through the poses.
How could pregnancy yoga help you?
1. Builds strength, helping the body cope with the extra weight of the baby. Yoga poses strengthen the hips, back, arms and shoulders
2. Helps with general mood (which can be very volatile with the hormonal changes) and brings women more energy ad a feeling of wellbeing.
3. Pregnancy yoga provides women with techniques (such as breathing exercises and positions for birth) to use during labour, to help them feel empowered, in control and to have the right mind set to deal with whatever turn their birthing takes.
4. Relieves tension in the lower back, hips, chest, upper back, neck and shoulders. As the baby grows, more stress is put on these specific muscle groups in our bodies.
5. Calms the nervous system. Through deep breathing, the nervous system goes into parasympathetic mode, which is responsible for relaxation and helps us to sleep better. This is beneficial for both mother and baby. Helps regulate the blood pressure and heart rate.
6. Improves circulation which is under a lot of stress from the extra fluids and blood during pregnancy. Swelling is less likely and immunity is enhanced, creating a healthy environment for the baby.
7. Yoga gives the new mother time out from the pressures of daily life and time to focus on herself and her pregnancy. This helps her to learn to nurture herself and her baby. A regular yoga practice during pregnancy does not provide any guarantee of a 'natural birth' or 'perfect' birth, if anything it makes women realise that there is no such thing as the 'ideal birth', but helps them to stay calm and open minded and embrace the experience.
It may also help women to cope better when things don't go according to plan (as so often happens). The movements, breathing and sound techniques learnt from yoga can encourage the body to relax and open, supporting the labour, speeding up contractions and assisting and facilitating the whole labour process. Additionally the recovery after the birth will usually be better for women who are fit and healthy from their yoga practice throughout pregnancy. They are less likely to suffer from prolapsed organs, pelvic floor weakness or incontinence and can apply the techniques they have learnt for their labour to cope with those exhausting, stressful first months to gain energy and stay calm.