Today, the choice of courses for the preparation of future mothers for childbirth is very wide. Still, many women prefer yoga. And the reason is not a fashionable trend. Yoga for pregnant women allows you to kill two birds with one stone: to prepare for childbirth physically and psychologically. Women who practice yoga during pregnancy safely avoid both perineal ruptures and postpartum depression.
Why Should Future Mother Choose Yoga?
Many doctors admit that future mothers who practice yoga have good physical health and stay optimistic. Their bodies are plastic and prepared for childbirth. With the help of yoga exercises (they are called asanas), you can get rid of various types of pain associated with pregnancy and reduce the pain caused directly by birth.
What exactly does yoga give to future mothers? In short, yoga for pregnant women is not only a set of stretching exercises, but also techniques for cleansing the body, relaxation and proper breathing. The meaning of any yoga exercise is not as myths say, to tie yourself up in three knots or a month without food. Yoga teaches to find convenience in any unusual or uncomfortable situation – physical and psychological. And, of course, it strengthens the body and spirit.
Pros of Yoga for Pregnant Women
Yoga during pregnancy will ease the well-being of a future mother. It:
- relieves drowsiness, weakness, fatigue;
- improves the functioning of the nervous system;
- provides the body with oxygen;
- improves blood exchange between mother and child;
- prepares the back muscles for the upcoming loads;
- prevents from constipation, protects against the appearance of varicose veins.
Yoga Prepares the Body of the Future Mother for Childbirth:
- Asanas strengthen the muscles of the back, abdomen, pelvis and whole body;
- Yoga increases the elasticity of the muscles and ligaments, especially the pelvic. This condition will facilitate the course of labor;
- Yoga for pregnant women will adjust the work of the endocrine system. As a result, the necessary level of hormones will be maintained in the body;
- Asanas increase immunity;
- During classes, the stores of subcutaneous fat decrease and metabolism improves;
- Due to yoga for pregnant women, the lungs of a future mother work more efficiently, providing good supply of the blood with oxygen and improving blood circulation throughout the body;
- Breathing practices will help reduce pain during labor, strengthen or, if necessary, delay pangs of childbirth;
- Yoga for pregnant women teaches to relax properly, which is very important for successful delivery;
- It helps to develop a positive attitude and get rid of feelings of anxiety;
- Yoga gives an opportunity to control and understand your own body and emotions much better. This skill is useful in a stressful and unusual situation of childbirth;
- Yoga for pregnant women increases concentration of attention and improves memory.
If you have not practiced yoga before pregnancy, do not rush with hard yoga workouts. Physical load must be increased very, very gradually. And if you feel some discomfort or pain while doing some kind of asana, stop right away. Properly performed exercises will never cause pain, nausea or dizziness.
Any asanas associated with the “lying on the stomach” position, or for which the abdominal wall must be strained are contraindicated to pregnant women. If you perform balance exercises, it is necessary to lean on a chair or against a wall.
Finally, with some pathologies of pregnancy any physical loadings are forbidden. Therefore, if you have any deviations during pregnancy, before going in for yoga for pregnant women, you must consult your doctor.
The Rules of Yoga for Pregnant Women
At the beginning of pregnancy, you can perform all the poses recommended for women’s yoga in general. The exception is those asanas, during which the stomach tenses. Otherwise, there are no prohibitions. It is worth noting, that in the first trimester inverted poses and even headstands are useful for future mothers.
The most important thing in yoga for pregnant women is to monitor your own well-being. If you feel pain, immediately stop the exercise. Try to avoid unnecessary tension, gently and smoothly perform those exercises that bring pleasure.
Despite the fact that in the first trimester the stomach does not interfere with the practice, yoga may seem complicated to you because of possible toxicosis and poor health. In the second trimester, the situation will improve.
Even if you used to practiced yoga and consider yourself an experienced person in this field, while waiting for the baby, the duration of the asanas should be gradually reduced.
Do not forget about the regularity of workouts. Practice at least 15 minutes a day, but 3 times a week. Yoga for pregnant women will help relieve tension in the back and feel better, both physically and spiritually.
Classes are useful to combine with other types of physical activity, for example, aqua aerobics for pregnant women or walks in the fresh air. All of these not only helps to solve the problem of excess weight, but also gives an excellent, cheerful mood.
Yoga for pregnant women can be practiced up to the 9th month. Trainings should not be intense. The optimal pulse rate should not exceed 120 beats per minute.
Benefits of Yoga for Pregnant Women
It is clear that yoga for pregnant women is developed taking into account the peculiarities of women’s condition. Yoga exercises perfectly strengthen the entire body, gently work with the spine and joints, which carry an increased load during pregnancy. Static postures improve blood circulation in the pelvic region, strengthen the spine and muscles involved directly in the childbearing. All asanas should be performed slowly and smoothly.
Stretching exercises of yoga for pregnant women will make the muscle tissues more elastic. This gives the woman the opportunity to avoid perineal injuries during labor.
Breathing exercises are particularly important for pregnant women. They are recommended to be performed several times a day. They additionally supply the mother and the child with oxygen. Most importantly, yoga breathing practices will be very useful during labor. They will ease the pain, help to avoid weak labor activity, and also hypoxia in the child. Those who practiced yoga during pregnancy, claim that the techniques of cleansing the body will help reduce toxicosis or get rid of it in general.
And, perhaps, most importantly, yoga for pregnant women will help a future mother cope with mood swings and will make her more confident. All in all, the main task of any yoga practice is to find a balance between the body and consciousness.
Yoga Poses for Women during Pregnancy
To warm up your muscles, most yoga workouts start with this pose. Feet farther than hip-width apart, knees slightly bent and toes pointed straight ahead. Your palms should touch “heart center” (in front of your chest). Close your eyes and take a deep breath.
- Inhale and sweep your arms out and overhead, slightly bending back.
- Exhale and stand upright, returning your hands to your heart center.
- Repeat 10 times with full breaths.
This pose strengthens your entire body. Stand with your feet farther than shoulder-width apart. Face your right toes forward and left toes out. Bend your left leg, placing your left hand on the thigh, eyes looking down.
- Inhale, then as you lift your right arm above your shoulder and turn your head, exhale. Eyes looking up. Place your left arm on your thigh for a better support.
- Hold for 1 full breath as you lower your right arm and straighten leg. Return to starting position. Repeat 5 times with full breaths.
- Reverse feet and repeat sequence on the other side. The technique is the same.
Stand with your feet wider than hips, with a stack of pillows on the floor behind you. Bend your knees to lower your hips into a deep squat, sitting on the pillows, palms together at your heart center.
- Close your eyes and take a deep breath through your nose as you relax your pelvic floor (the muscles surrounding the vagina). Hold for 10 full breaths.
- Note: Supported squat pose is not recommended if you have any signs of premature labor.
Cat (Cow) Pose
Kneel on all fours. Inhale and gently arch your back, tipping your tailbone up, eyes looking up toward the sky.
- Exhale and round your back as you tuck your chin in toward your chest.
- Sit back on your heels into Child’s Pose and relax for 1 breath.
- Repeat 10 times. Remain in Child’s Pose for 5 slow breaths to cool down.
- You can use this move during labor.
Sit on a pillow in a comfortable, cross-legged position, your hands on your lower belly. Close your eyes and take a deep breath through your nose, keeping your face and jaw relaxed. Focus on relaxing your pelvic-floor muscles. Slowly exhale and repeat.
Veerbhadrasana (Warrior Pose)
- Improves balance in the body, averting the possibility of falling during pregnancy.
- Tones the arms, legs and lower back.
- Increases stamina. This helps deal with delivery.
Badhakonasana (Butterfly Pose)
- Improves flexibility in the hip and groin region.
- Stretches the thighs and knees, relieving pain.
- Alleviates fatigue.
- Helps facilitate smooth delivery when practiced till late pregnancy.
Konasana (Standing, Sideways Bending, One Arm)
- Keeps the spine flexible.
- Exercises and stretches the sides of the body.
- Helps alleviate constipation, a common symptom of pregnancy.
Viparita Karani (Legs Up the Wall Pose)
- Relieves backache.
- Improves flow of blood to the pelvic region.
- Eases swollen ankles and varicose veins, common symptoms of pregnancy.
Shvanasana (Corpse Pose)
- Pregnant women need to monitor their blood pressure constantly.
- Relaxes the body. Repairs cells. This helps self-healing which is vital, as pregnant women should avoid taking pills.
- Relieves stress.
How Does Yoga for Pregnant Women Prepare for Labor?
Yoga for pregnant women addresses the physical challenges inherent to pregnancy, such as a shifted center of gravity and lower back pain. Yoga moves will help alleviate aches and build strength in your legs, back and abdominals. All of these prepare you for giving birth. Yoga can also ease labor and delivery, with moves that relax the hip muscles and use gravity to your advantage. Yoga for pregnant women is a great way to get physically stronger and emotionally healthier during pregnancy. Even if you’ve never practiced yoga before, the modified moves taught in prenatal yoga are both safe and beneficial to expectant moms. Plus, women with difficult pregnancies may find comfort in yoga’s gentle motions and breathing.