Yoga For Pregnant Women:
Depending on an individuals pregnancy, activities may be limited, or not. Oftentimes, getting a clear “okay” from your health care provider is essential. Conditions such as preeclampsia, cervical issues or placenta problems will likely limit you to any exercise at all. In time, comes new and innovative research on what’s too much physical exercise and what’s just right! In this article we’ll discuss yoga for pregnant women.
More often then not, a moderate-type intensity workout, around 30 minutes a day, is a good starting point. As such, a brisk walk may be a good place to start. Potentially, adding in joint friendly exercises like a stationary bike, or swimming is a good option as well.
Similarly, why not try your hand in yoga? Is there literature that backs the practice of yoga, or certain positions during this time?
A study in 2015 proved that some yoga maneuvers like Happy Baby pose, Ananda Balasana, Corpse pose, Savasana, and Child’s pose, may not be contraindicated as once thought. In fact, this study suggested that yoga can even be safe late in pregnancy. Consequently, in reference to this study, all 26 yoga postures identified, were well tolerated, with no adverse outcomes to mom or baby.
Yoga, when done correctly and cautiously, can be highly beneficial for pregnant women. The soothing and relaxing movements of this ancient practice, help destress the body, and improve many aspects of physical and mental health.
Why Pregnant Women Should Practice Yoga:
Why should you practice yoga in the first place? More importantly, when you’re pregnant?
Surely, it’s tempting to sit back and limit yourself physically. However, there are many benefits to starting a yoga routine during what can be a physically, and emotionally draining, time of your life.
As the production of hormones increase, causing both physical and emotional changes, stress can increase as well. Consequently, making it more difficult to cope. Certainly, stress is nothing to be ashamed of. However, it should not be glossed over, either. Good coping strategies should be practiced. This is one of the reasons why yoga is a go-to for many expecting mothers.
The focus on breath (pranayama) and sequential movement through yoga postures, can help alleviate pent up emotions and inner turmoil. Thus, leading to better health outcomes and a better overall pregnancy experience.
What You May Expect?
Expectations of yoga classes involve focused breathing, gentle warm-up stretches, and asanas. Oftentimes, concluding with a cool down or meditative routine. Typically yoga, such as prenatal, hatha and restorative yoga are best practice.
On the contrary, hot yoga should be practiced with caution. During hot yoga, heated rooms and more rigorous poses may reflect to much stress on the body.
Before any exercise, including yoga, it’s vital to speak with your health care provider. Similarly, it is advised to attend a class with an experienced, certified instructor. Particularly, one that has experience with prenatal yoga.
Secondly, set realistic goals. If there is ever a time to “listen to your body”, this is it. Pace yourself accordingly. Oftentimes, more frequent breaks are needed. Make sure to drink plenty of water before, during and after each session.
Use yoga props when need be. This can be in the form of cushions, a yoga blanket, even a partner.
Why Yoga is Beneficial for Pregnant Women?
Yoga is versatile. Not only is it helpful as a stress aide, yoga is a restorative practice. Furthermore, helping heal the body, improve flexibility, strength, and supporting a healthy wellbeing.
Yoga helps to regain balance in both the body and mind. This has to do with the healing nature of yoga. Studies and literature provide evidence supporting yoga’s ability to induce a sense of calm and serenity. In addition, research has indicated lower levels of inflammation and significant reductions in levels of cortisol. Furthermore, suggesting it may have a positive effect on the brain as well.
Top Benefits of Yoga For Pregnant Women:
Truly, you have to experience yoga, to understand it. Oftentimes, individuals will experience different effects. Surely, this is the case, based on what style of yoga you engage in.
Below we’ll highlight some of the potential benefits of yoga for pregnant women.
Reduces Feelings of Anxiety and Stress:
As beforementioned, yoga has an impact on stress levels. Research has shown this time and again. As your body goes through changes, it can become imbalanced. Thus, coping and dealing with stress, may become less easily navigated.
Yoga can have an enormous impact on your mental well-being. Furthermore, it may not take the stress out of the picture, but simply help you deal with daily obstacles more effectively. Extended bouts of stress is not healthy for either of you. It can lead to health issues and complications both acutely and long term.
Oftentimes, anxiety is a common symptom during pregnancy, rightly so. In some cases, feelings of anxiety and depression can linger well after you have given birth. While yoga may not be a cure, it can provide symptom relief.
A study in 2012, looked at how integrated yoga in a “normal” pregnant women’s life could effect quality of life and interpersonal relationships. The “yoga group” showed significantly greater improvements in several domains. This included physical, psychological, environmental and social domains of the WHO quality of life inventory. Meaning that yoga seams to be a noninvasive and cost-effective way that women who are pregnant can improve overall quality of life.
Helps You Sleep Better at Night:
Many women report a more difficult time with sleep and staying asleep. Oftentimes, spiraling and effecting there day to day feelings and normal operations. Oftentimes, your sleep schedule is not as consistent as it once was. Yoga can help. Similarly, other relaxation hobbies can help get your sleep back on track.
A reduction in levels of stress, anxiety, and physical discomfort, equates to better sleep. With the help of yoga and other mind-body practices, can positively help support a better night of rest.
A study in 2008 looked at integrated yoga on stress and heart rate variability in pregnant women. There was a significant “perceived” stress reduction of 31% in the yoga group vs. the control group.
Can Help Make Childbirth Easier:
Potentially one of the most influential aspects of yoga on pregnancy, for sure! You might be a master of handling stress, but delivering a baby is not easy on your body. The muscle strength needed to push a baby out, is quite demanding. Prenatal yoga is an approach that encourages stretching, mental centering, and focused breathing.
Moreover it can help improve muscle endurance and strength.
A systematic review in 2015, concluded that prenatal yoga may help reduce pelvic pain. Furthermore, improve mental conditioning (anxiety, stress, depression), and perinatal outcomes (i.e. complications, delivery time).
One of the many reasons it’s important to stay semi-active during your pregnancy. Luckily, yoga and certain poses help strengthen muscles that are used during the birthing process.
Decreases Headaches and Physical Pain:
Being pregnant is a source of joy and excitement for many women. However, there is no denying that pregnancy can have its downsides. Nausea, headaches, body aches, and malaise are just some of the common symptoms associated with pregnancy.
Unfortunately, many pregnant women report having these types of symptoms. There are ways to manage these symptoms. For example, potentially reducing aches and pains of pregnancy. In fact, yoga can help you feel a lot better overall.
Discomfort is a major concern, right? In a study in 2009, pregnant women partook in a prenatal yoga program study. There was significant data showing that women who took part in this prenatal program, reported fewer discomforts then the non-yoga group.
Much of the discomfort is a consequence from your muscles and ligaments being pushed and pulled. Your baby needs to grow, so your body expands to accommodate this need. Yoga can help better prepare the muscles for such changes throughout the stages of pregnancy.
It Will Be Easier to Lose The Baby Weight?
Like aches and pains, extra weight is another reality of pregnancy. Your body needs that excess fat “stores” to properly grow your baby. So, you will naturally gain weight as you go through your pregnancy. Consequently, many women worry about losing baby weight after their pregnancy.
Gaining weight during pregnancy is normal, but doesn’t mean that you have to keep that weight on. Similarly, you should strive for a healthy weight gain, and not excessive.
Yoga can make it easier to lose weight, after you have delivered your baby. Yoga burns calories and helps lessen weight gain, but it also keeps the body nimble, toned, and flexible. This is important for post-pregnancy weight loss.
You Gain Social Support:
Depending on circumstances, attending yoga classes with others alike, may be possible. This can be highly beneficial and effective for your pregnancy.
Pregnancy can be hard on both your body and mind. Consequently, interacting with other women who are going through the same struggles, you will feel more connected and healthy. In addition, it might be easier to stick with your pregnancy yoga routine with the help of some new friends!
Are There Any Precautions You Should Take & Final Thoughts?
Yoga is not inherently dangerous for pregnant women. However, you’ll want to take some precautions to keep your and your baby safe. Firstly, speak with your doctor and make sure you’re suited for physical activity. After all, every woman’s pregnancy is different.
Once you are cleared for yoga, listen to your body. It’s okay to push yourself, but don’t overdo it, especially just starting out. If you feel pain or excessive discomfort, don’t be afraid step back. Try and partake in less vigorous styles or poses. Work your way up!