How Yoga helps during pregnancy and for when you are ready to go into labor and give birth
Yoga during pregnancy (Prenatal Yoga) is one of the excellent ways to stay fit and relax. Prenatal yoga also helps promote the health of baby and plays an important role in preparing for the childbirth. Prenatal yoga is health and restorative form of yoga that boosts your mind, body and soul in addition to preparing your body and mind for the process of labor and delivery of the baby. Researches show that it is safe to practice yoga during pregnancy which can be considered as a multidimensional approach to exercise that boosts stretching, mental concentration and focused breathing.
Yoga during pregnancy can be advantageous in various aspects. Owing to the holistic approach yoga has, it is good for the mother and also for the growing fetus inside the womb. Prenatal yoga offers several benefits to a pregnant woman such as:
- Relaxed and improved sleep
- Physical and emotional balance
- Better energy, stamina and strength
- Greater flexibility
- Improved endurance of muscles which is desirable for childbirth
- Relaxed nervous system that aids better digestion, sleep and immune system
- Less likelihood of developing stress, depression and anxiety
- Better blood circulation throughout the baby yielding several health benefits to both mother and the child
- Relief of symptoms like decreased lower back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, less nausea, headaches as well as less likelihood of shortness of breath
Prenatal yoga should be followed and adopted under an expert supervision. While practicing yoga during pregnancy, basic safety strategies should be kept in mind such as moderation, expert supervision, setting realistic and achievable goals, staying hydrated and cool and avoiding weird and harmful postures. The various yoga positions and postures which are contraindicated in pregnancy include lying on your back especially after 16th week of pregnancy, breathing techniques involving holding your breath or taking short, vigorous breaths, tough stretches or challenging positions that put you under strain, lying on your tummy (prone position), upside-down postures (known as inversions), back bends and strong twists. If prenatal yoga results in excessive efforts, extremes of symptoms, unusual pain, vaginal bleeding, absent or decreased fetal movements or contractions, you should immediately consult a healthcare provider.
Yoga during pregnancy incorporates certain effective principles. Yoga during pregnancy typically integrates:
- Focused breathing- breathing slowly and deeply through the nose while keeping your mind relaxed. Breathing exercises help in reducing or dealing with the shortness of breath encountered during pregnancy and they help you get through the contractions of labor.
- Stretching the body in gentle relaxing way that helps improve muscle tone, endurance and strength
- Achieving inner calm and relaxation and developing a sense of self-awareness
- Postures to develop strength, flexibility and balance
Prenatal yoga can be of great benefit to your physical and emotional health. It prepares the mind and body for the process of childbirth by improving muscle strength, stamina and flexibility. However, prenatal yoga should always be practiced under an expert supervision. Prenatal yoga is proven to be safe and with the right modifications it can help a woman in staying fit, strong and agile in addition to being prepared to give birth to a new life.