A pregnant woman needs to have regular exercises to become healthy and to have a successful labor. Doctors also recommend the mums-to-be to do regular exercises to keep their body in shape. If you are pregnant or has been pregnant before, you may have experienced having cramps, sore muscles, and others.
Yoga is ideal for pregnant mothers as it doesn’t require many movements, and it mostly consists of stretching and meditating postures. Also, yoga is designed to stretch the body’s muscles and not to strain them, which is ideal during pregnancy.
- 10 Benefits of Yoga During Pregnancy
- When to Start Pregnancy Yoga?
- Yoga Poses to Avoid When Pregnant
- 6 Types of Yoga Poses to Avoid During Pregnancy
- 12 Things to Bring to Yoga Classes
10 Benefits of Yoga During Pregnancy
We have already established that yoga is suited for pregnant women, but how exactly does it benefit a mother-to-be’s health? A prenatal yoga is one of the best activities that you can do for yourself, and for your little baby who is growing inside your stomach.
It is necessary for you to find the most suited yoga practice for you, whether If you’re going to sign up in a yoga studio, develop a practice on your own at home, or by using a good yoga DVD that you found from a CD store.
Here are several benefits that you can get from practicing yoga:
Develops Strength and Stamina
As your baby grows inside your tummy, you would sufficient strength and energy to carry you and your baby’s weight. Practicing yoga can help strengthen our arms, shoulders, backs, and hips.
Increases Our Circulation
Circulations are improved in our body’s joints and help elongate our muscles during yoga practice. Upon the circulation of blood in our bodies, our immunity increases and the swelling decrease, which helps create a healthy environment for a growing baby.
A mothers balanced would be challenged physically once a fetus grows in her body. And you would then be emotionally drained, which is due to increased estrogen and progesterone levels. During yoga posses, you would tend to focus on your breathing and holding, which enables you to fine-tune your body’s balance emotionally and physically.
You Connect with your Baby
A prenatal yoga has the ability to let us focus on what’s happening in our bodies. Working out with your breathing and doing each yoga pose, you’ll become more aware of what’s going on within your body.
Helps Relieve Tension
Yoga practices can help relieve your tension on your upper back, hips, lower back, shoulders, neck, and chest. As your baby grows inside you, you tend to develop more stress in these parts of your body. And since a pregnant mother’s belly size increases, women would tend to have a lower back curve.
The hips would then get tighter because of the baby’s added pressure in the belly, and when the breast increases in size, the chest and upper back would acquire more tension, along with the shoulders and neck.
Improves Your Breathing
Good breathing is a great benefit that you can get in yoga, as you can use this during labor and labor contractions. If we breathe consciously, our heart rate and blood pressure will be regulated, which keeps us in a relaxing mode. A calm mother would be equals to a calm baby.
Relaxes the Nervous System
Deep breathing would allow our nervous system to go into a parasympathetic mode, which is responsible for our body’s relaxation. A relaxed body would make the digestions of operating properly, the immune system would be at its optimal, and you would tend to sleep better at night.
It can be quite comforting to be surrounded by another group of pregnant women, who can understand and empathize with what you are currently going through.
Allows Time for Nurturing
Yoga allows us to take a break from our busy days, which means through the practice of yoga, you not only take care of yourself but also with your baby.
Prepares you from Labor
During each yoga pose, you would also be conscious of your breathing, which can be quite challenging especially if it’s your first time. This activity transfers to your time of labor, which somehow makes you a bit more at ease during labor because of breathwork.
When you inhale deeply, you would acknowledge the tension that you have felt, and when you deeply exhale you’ll let go more of the tension with each breath you take.
When to Start Pregnancy Yoga?
If you’ve never done yoga before, the time for you to start yoga pregnancy would be before the second trimester, which is after 14 weeks of being pregnant. According to the yoga guidelines, if you are not used to doing yoga before pregnancy, you are advised to not undergo any yoga postures in your first trimester.
Unfortunately, the most common time for miscarriages to happen is during the first trimester. There is no evidence that practicing yoga or other exercises in the first trimester can harm your baby, but to make sure that you and your baby are safe, most yoga teachers recommend that you not practice yoga during your first 3 months.
During the Second Trimester
As for your second trimester, you would less likely feel sick or tired during a long class. However, if your baby is conceived by using IVF treatment, some yoga instructors recommend you to wait for 20 weeks before starting a yoga class. This is because conceiving a baby through IVF is not as easy as it looks.
There is also a case that if you’ve had an IVF treatment, you would likely get pregnant with twins or more. Carrying multiple babies would put in a higher risk of miscarriage, so it is best to always be cautious.
However, if you do decide on taking yoga classes during your first trimester, you should first stick to breathing and relaxation exercises before moving on to other postures. If you’ve done yoga before, you should slow down and be aware of your body’s changes.
Yoga Poses to Avoid When Pregnant
If you are an enthusiastic yoga practitioner, you might even want to continue doing yoga during pregnancy. Since each yoga pose has its own risks and benefits, it is important for you to know which yoga poses is suitable for you to try and which of them you should avoid, to prevent causing harm to you and your baby.
In this section, we will tell you which postures that you should avoid during each trimester, and why you should avoid them.
6 Types of Yoga Poses to Avoid During Pregnancy
Bending, twisting, and overstretching your ligaments can be harmful to you and your baby. So, here are several yoga postures that aren’t suitable for pregnant women:
Deep or Closed Twists
This pose can compress your internal organs and affects the supply of blood and oxygen to the fetus.
Long Breathing Techniques
Breathwork is often associated with yoga practices, this is good for pregnant women, but make sure that you don’t hold your breath for too long. Also avoid Breath of Fire or Bellow Breath, which requires rapid belly movements.
Prone or Belly Down Poses
These kinds of poses would require you to lay flatly on your back or abdomen on a surface. This can exert pressure on your abdomen, which is not recommended in any trimester of pregnancy.
This pose requires you to overstretch your abdominal ligaments. Therefore, this should be completely skipped, especially if you are in your second and third trimesters.
Full inversion poses include headstand and shoulder stand where your head is pointed towards the ground, is definitely not recommended at all and should be avoided at all costs. Not only would it disturb your belly’s weight, or accidentally fall down and acquire injuries (which could lead to miscarriage), it would also cause you to get dizzy or nauseous during pregnancy.
Yoga poses that involve body transitions, such as the Sun Salutation pose, or moving forward to backward, should be avoided in any trimesters of pregnancy as it can affect to the implantation of the embryo.
12 Things to Bring to Yoga Classes
Once you have asked your friends to recommend you with a good yoga studio, which can be good for pregnant women, and now ready to start your first yoga class. Some of you might be wondering what stuff you would need to bring to the studio.
Worry no more as we would list down all the things you would need to bring, which are all necessary for a yoga class. Here several essential things you need to use and bring in your pregnancy yoga:
Comfortable Yoga Attire
This is actually obvious, but a lot of people who are new to yoga doesn’t know what attire to wear during their practice. Since you are pregnant, you should wear tight but not too tight yoga attire, where you can move freely and comfortably.
Some yoga studios sell bottled waters, while others have their water dispensers in their studios. Either way, you should bring your own bottled water to save money from buying in the studio, or save plastic cups which is placed beside their water dispensers.
Most yoga studios provide their practitioners with usable yoga mats, but it’s not guaranteed that you’ll be provided with a clean and ready to use a yoga mat, especially if you’re in a crowded or donation-based yoga studio. Therefore, it would be best if you bring your own yoga mat.
Yoga mats tend to get slippery once you are all sweaty, and since you are pregnant, you might sweat a lot more than normal even when you are doing simple poses. Drops of sweat on your mat can cause it to get slippery, which can cause you to slip and fall. So to be safe, use a yoga towel that has a good grip on your skin and mat to avoid slip accidents.
Since yoga is an activity that can make you sweat, you should pack a face towel with you to wipe the sweat off your face or back to help lessen that wet, sticky feeling on your body.
Change of Clothes
Once yoga class is over, you should also bring a set of change of clothes to get out of your wet yoga attire. Not only would feel a bit better, but it can also keep you from getting sick which can be harmful to your baby.
Being pregnant would always make you feel hungry, and a hungry mother is not good for a baby. Therefore, you should always bring some healthy yoga snack with you just in case you get hungry during breaks. You can either buy yoga bars with you or make your healthy snack like club sandwiches.
Sometimes during yoga poses, there would be times where your muscles get suddenly tight. Therefore, you should bring some self-massaging balls with you to help relieve any tension in your body, and relax your pressure points by rolling the balls on that tense body part. You can use these anytime you want when you’re at home.
Shoes are another obvious necessities to bring in yoga classes. You can either use your running shoes, or specialized yoga shoes or socks for a more comfortable yoga practice. Some yoga shoes are sometimes made with thin fabric with anti-slip on its bottom to avoid slipping on the mat. Not only are they light, but they are also extremely comfortable to the feet.
Sometimes even when you are doing some simple pregnancy yoga poses, you would still find them hard to perform, so if you found the poses a bit too challenging to do, you can use straps or blocks to help you achieve the said poses.
Sometimes yoga teachers require their pregnant practitioners to use a yoga ball for certain yoga poses. Do not worry if you think that they might make you do some overstretching poses, as they won’t do it. They might just require you to lift the ball over your head or just swing it side to side of your body.
Headbands and Ponytails
Your hair can get in your face while doing certain poses, which could interrupt you and ruin your concentration. Therefore, you should always bring a headband a few ponytails with you, so that you’ll still have an extra one just in case you lost one, to keep your out of your face and prevent it from ruining your concentration.
And there you have your ultimate of how you can start your pregnancy yoga. Make sure that you bring all the necessary items for your yoga practice, and have a talk with your yoga instructor to know which poses are good for you and your baby. Just follow all the instructions that are listed here in this article and you’ll be ready to start in no time.