During pregnancy, a couple will do anything to ensure safety to the women and fetus. As time passes, pregnant women start feeling lazy and weak, which is not a good sign. Feeling tired is often misunderstood as being lazy or weak, but it shouldn’t. Today, families have acknowledged the need for overall physical endurance and health for females. So they have started asking the mothers-to-be to have a walk and some exercise as part of their schedule. It’s common knowledge that pregnant women can’t have vigorous or strain full exercise routines. Even jogging has to be stopped after a few months.
Yoga, with it’s growing acceptance in western culture, has also proven to be healthy for pregnant women. It helps a person with flexibility, muscle building, stress release, and a balanced mental state. Yoga is among the few exercise types that can be tailored for each trimester. Along with it, your instructor will also prepare you for labor in a way that the childbirth process smoothens for you.
What is Prenatal Yoga?
During pregnancy, a woman’s body goes through a lot of changes. These changes are broadly physical and hormonal. While none can anticipate the intensity of hormonal changes, as it differs from women to women and from time to time, on the other hand, everyone is aware of the physical changes and their timeline. Prenatal yoga is a specific type of yoga during pregnancy. It mostly contains breathing exercises, gentle stretching, postures, and relaxation techniques. If the woman has already been a practitioner of yoga for a long time, she may indulge in bit advanced yoga exercises.
These exercises change from trimester to trimester. During the first trimester, the fetus is still in the implanting stage, so exercises are gentle; otherwise, chances of miscarriage might rise. Many experts will also advise you to wait until the second trimester for starting yoga. Still, in the end, it depends on your judgment and doctor’s advice. During the second trimester, many women confidently and with doctor’s advice start practicing yoga.
As this is the middle trimester, instructors will begin monitoring your breathing rate and will advise you exercises accordingly. If a woman hasn’t been much active before this, she might feel light-headed or nauseated. It isn’t worrisome as some diet changes and breaks between exercises will be consulted to her. Now, this is the part where most precautions are needed, as, during the third trimester, a woman’s joints are loose, and breathing usually gets heavier. Even the weight of the fetus starts developing. Light back and side stretches and postures are advised. Meditation is the key to deal with mood swings, hormonal changes in the body, stress, anxiety, and restore mental peace. So it is done throughout every trimester.
Some insights into the exercises in prenatal yoga:
- Breathing- Women are encouraged to focus on maintaining normal breathing by slowly and deeply breathing in and out. As we have discussed till now, prenatal causes shortness of breath, that’s why prenatal yoga focuses on breathing techniques.
- Gentle stretching- During pregnancy, you might shut from a lot of daily activities and rest a little more. It can cause stiffness, so during prenatal yoga, women are encouraged to have basic stretching movements too. It can be of the neck, spine, arms, and through other different body parts.
- Postures- While standing, sitting, or lying on the ground, the woman has to move her body into different but simple positions gently. These movements are aimed at developing strength, flexibility, and balance.
- Cooldown and relaxation- At the end of each prenatal yoga session, the instructor will make you relax your muscles and restore your heart rate and breathing rhythm to normal. You might be asked to listen to your breathing, pay close attention to the sensations, thoughts, and emotions. Some instructors even use a traditional method of repeating mantras or words that bring about a state of self-awareness and inner calm.
Benefits of Prenatal Yoga
So far, you have read that prenatal yoga is a healthy practice to adopt during pregnancy. Below you will be learning what prenatal yoga can do specifically:
Supports Your Changing Body
Women who are experiencing pregnancy, their bodies are always changing. Sometimes these changes can be too hard to adapt also. Prenatal yoga practice is designed in a way that supports the changes that happen in a pregnant woman. The stretching exercises are designed and made practiced in a way that no muscles feel extra pressure, and it doesn’t get pulled. In this, their lower body is also strengthened for the growing belly in the future.
Every exercise in prenatal yoga focuses on this part; a pregnant woman’s stability in breathing rate is more beneficial to her than medicines and rest. The deep but gentle belly breath, which is also a rhythmic pulsation and not just a strong, swift breath, encourages softness throughout pregnancy. This part ensures mindfulness as the woman is asked to feel the softening of muscles in different areas of her body.
Prepares for Labor and Delivery
Preparing a woman’s body for labor and delivery means ensuring that there’s no adherent stiffness, especially in the abdomen, back, and lower parts. It also included sharing stories of labor and making them imagine it. It will help them in being mentally prepared for it. The woman needs to trust herself that her body will be open and flexible for labor. Labor requires a lot of physical and mental strength. Through stretching and muscle building, a woman can gather required physical strength, and by mindfulness, she is able to triumph it mentally.
Promotes Connection With Your Baby
By going for prenatal yoga even once per week, mother-to-be takes out time for their busy schedule and housework to bond with their baby. The breathing and meditation exercises have been theorized to be able to connect the mother and baby consciously. As the pregnancy progresses, the body’s different responses to yoga poses will be a reminder of other physical changes happening in your body.
You’ll Meet New Friends.
For us, as a human community matters a lot, it can be a few people for some or many for others, but having community matters. During prenatal yoga sessions, pregnant women also get to socialize with many other pregnant women. The conversations might include some useful pregnancy tips, human bonds (to keep anxiety & stress low), the experience of another woman’s previous pregnancy, good maternity hospitals, and more. At the end of the day, having a friend who can understand what you are going through helps a person a lot.
So we can conclude that along with a growing trend, prenatal yoga is also a genuine help for pregnant women. You can ask for a reference for a good prenatal yoga class from your obstetrician, gynecologist, or family and friends. As a pregnant woman, you should always take care of what you are experiencing while doing any kind of activity. Share with the professional if a particular muscle is hurting too much or breathing rate is unusual, or if you are experiencing anything unusual. When to start prenatal yoga? The answer to this question is always on how you are feeling about your body and your medical expert’s advice.