Staying active during pregnancy can offer a whole host of benefits to you and baby, such as managing weight gain, adapting to your changing shape, coping with labour and regaining your fitness after the baby is born. Yoga in pregnancy is a great way to stay active and is healthy for you and your baby. It’s not too strenuous and can help you to relax as well as staying fit and building core strength. Read on for how Yoga in pregnancy can help you!
Reduces stress and anxiety
Yoga has been shown to reduce anxiety and to help you to feel calm in pregnancy and labour. It can also improve your sleep. When you learn how to relax and self-soothe using yoga techniques, you’ll find that you’re more comfortable in bed and find it easier to sleep for longer.
The calmer you can be during pregnancy, the better it is for both your’s and the baby’s health. Yoga helps you to take some time out for yourself, teaching you techniques to calm your anxieties, clear your mind and soothe yourself.
Helps with pregnancy aches and pains
Pregnancy yoga focuses on alleviating the aches and pains pregnant women experience, including back pain. By building core strength in your abdominals, you can take some of the pressure off your back as your baby grows.
Helps you prepare for labour and birth
Yoga classes in pregnancy use relaxation and breathing techniques with postures that are adapted for pregnancy.
The breathing exercises you practice during yoga can be hugely helpful during the birth of your baby, teaching you how to manage shortness of breath and work through contractions by focusing on your breath.
Using breathing techniques from yoga during your labour will help you stay calm and breathe steadily through your contractions. Doing yoga during pregnancy may even mean you need less pain relief during your baby’s birth.
What classes should you do?
If you’re new to yoga, look for a class that is specific for pregnant women. Some yoga postures and breathing exercises are not suitable during pregnancy. Because of this, it’s best to find a pregnancy yoga class.
If you’ve been doing yoga for a while, let your yoga teacher know you are pregnant – they may be trained to show you how to adapt your postures. It’s also important to highlight if you have any health or pregnancy related issues so they can adapt the class for you. Focus on improving your yoga technique while you’re pregnant – this is not the time to try new and advanced postures.
There are many styles of yoga and if you choose to start practising yoga in pregnancy you are likely to be directed to the more gentle, slower paced styles such as Hatha. Avoid yoga that takes place in heated rooms, such as Bikram – you could overheat.
As your pregnancy progresses and your baby grows, your centre of gravity will shift because your bump is getting bigger. This means you’re more likely to lose your balance, so take care and move slowly when practising yoga. For standing postures, use support if you need to – a wall or a chair, for instance.
Keeping fit and active is incredibly beneficial for you and your baby. Our antenatal classes cover a range of ideas on different exercises you can try in pregnancy and how it can help with your labour and birth, as well as after baby arrives.
Rebecca Conry @ Baba Mama Yoga puts it beautifully:
“Pregnancy yoga can ease pregnancy and birth. Gentle asana (postures) and movements may help alleviate constipation, swelling in the joints, heart burn and relieve pain. Also, pregnancy yoga helps maintain strength and mobility without stressing the body.
The most important thing to remember is that you are already doing enough. You are making a whole new human being inside you. You don’t need to push yourself, exert yourself or put any more stress on yourself physically, mentally or emotionally.
Gentle movement, asana, mudra (hand gestures) and mantra (chants) as well as breathing can help activate and energise the body. They also help bonding with baby as the baby can hear you from inside the womb from as early as 18 weeks. Relaxation is welcomed and encouraged in pregnancy yoga. Learning restful relaxation techniques and how to use props to find good alignment and comfort which can promote sleep and develop resting strategies for labour. You will also learn how breathing meditation techniques may help you ride the waves of labour.
Pregnancy yoga is about taking time to nurture yourself and your bond with your unborn child. Physically, mentally and emotionally you are going through an enormous change, one that will change you forever. And you are forming an unbreakable bond with your child, your child that you carry for 9 months under your heart. Pregnancy yoga is about creating a tool kit that you can access whenever you need to help you relax, to ease physical discomfort of pregnancy and labour, to connect with yourself and your child and nurture yourself as you go on your pregnancy journey.”