Staying fit and healthy before, during and after your pregnancy will aid you through a happy and enjoyable pregnancy, and can help you through a stress free labour, leading to a happy, healthy and content new-born. Yoga is a safe and enjoyable exercise for pregnant women, you may even be lucky enough to find a class especially for expectant moms.
Before embarking on any new exercise regime during pregnancy it is advisable to consult your health care provider, and even if you are used to practising yoga, be sure to tell your instructor that you are now expecting as some yoga poses are not comfortable or suitable for pregnant women to attempt. Your instructor will be able to adapt your yoga routine to suit your changing body as your pregnancy progresses.
Yoga During Pregnancy
Yoga makes your whole mind and body overall stronger, this new strength will be needed to carry around the extra strain a growing baby puts on your body.
Regular yoga classes during pregnancy will help to boost circulation and also aid with fluid retention. The stretching exercises relieve aches and pains associated with pregnancy.
Back ache is common during pregnancy, and as yoga helps with posture the back ache can be greatly eased. Many pregnant women experience pain from the sciatic nerve, and yoga can also be great for relieving this discomfort.
As baby grows and you near the end of your pregnancy, the breathing exercises you have learnt will help with the diminished lung capacity you now have thanks to baby pushing all of your organs upwards!
In late pregnancy, balance can become a real problem due to your centre of gravity changing, balancing and strengthening poses will help to counteract this uncomfortable stage of your pregnancy.
Once you are familiar with the various yoga poses and you know the limits of your own body, there are several books and videos available to help you progress further, prepare your body for birth and enhance your yoga routine at home. ‘Preparing for birth with yoga’ by Janet Balaskas is a good book to start with.
A stress free labour
Towards the end of your pregnancy, yoga can help you to prepare for birth by practising squats and positions that will enable your pelvic area to open up and help baby progress smoothly through the birth canal.
Yoga helps women to prepare for labour and birth; it encourages breath and body awareness, reduces stress and worry and teaches women to embrace this new situation.
Post Pregnancy Yoga
Although no exercise should be attempted before six weeks after birth, you can still practise breathing exercise and the relaxation techniques learnt during your yoga classes.
After six weeks it is usually ok to resume yoga classes, and some classes encourage you to bring baby with you. In these classes you can enjoy bonding with your baby while getting back into shape.
Post pregnancy yoga (under supervision) will help to strengthen your weakened back and abdominal muscles and also help to restore the pelvic floor muscle tone.
Practising yoga on a regular basis during and after pregnancy will also allow you the inner peace required to love, nurture and care for a new-born with the calmness and serenity they need to stay contented (this is a real bonus at 4am when you haven’t slept for days!).
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