Can yoga help with pregnancy complications? Can pregnancy-related pain be eased by yoga? Is it good for the baby?
As it turns out, prenatal yoga has been deemed a great way to prepare your mind and body for pregnancy.
Studies have shown that yoga intervention can lower prenatal disorders as well as relieve your level of pain and stress related to pregnancy. It is also more effective than walking or the traditional prenatal exercises. Here are five benefits of doing yoga while you’re pregnant.
Breathing Helps Prepare You for The Process of Labor
When you’re pregnant, focusing on your breath daily will help prepare you for labor. Learning to sit with discomfort will allow you to better handle the intense experience of giving birth. Ujjayi breathing can be a very useful tool. Learning to breathe into your belly can teach you to use your abdominals more efficiently. Meaning, you’ll get more oxygen into the body which will give you more strength.
Eases Pain in the Back and Morning Sickness Symptoms
One of the main symptoms of pregnancy that women experience is morning sickness. The constant nausea at the beginning of pregnancy can prevent you from working, taking care of your family, or other responsibilities. That feeling can be reduced through deep breathing.
Back pain can also become intense as the pregnancy evolves. A daily yoga practice will help you gently release pain and ease muscles. The beautiful thing about exercise through yoga is there’s no intense movement needed to ease the pain that commonly occurs with pregnancy.
Yoga Relaxes You Which Prevents Anxiety in the Body
Although you have yet to meet the baby living inside of you, you are deeply connected to him/her already. This is why it’s essential to stay in a relaxed state of mind all the time. As a woman living in 2017, you will likely work up until the third trimester. Your job probably comes with some levels of responsibility and stress. Nobody in the office will take it easy on you because you have a pregnant belly. Would you really want them to? This is why yoga is a good way to relieve the daily stress you’re facing. Gentle stretches can deeply relax your muscles and your mind.
You Nurture Your Pregnancy Feet
Pregnancy shifts your center of gravity which puts a new pressure on your feet and all the muscles/joints associated with them. Not only do they support more weight than usual but they can retain a lot of water so many women will have swollen feet during their pregnancy. When you don’t care for your feet, you may experience two problems associated with pregnancy; pronation and edema. This can result in foot pain as well as leg cramps. Edema can be treated by elevating your feet often. Legs on the Wall is a yoga pose that allows you to gently lift your legs so feet are in the air. In addition to yoga poses that lift your feet over your heart, you may find that an Ayurveda diet helps ease swelling.
Flexibility and Pain Release in the Hips
Yoga while you’re pregnant can greatly comfort hip muscles and the structure of your front and back hip bones. It also helps to increase flexibility. There are hormones your body will naturally release during your pregnancy but preparing your muscles will help with the birth. Lunges help the hip flexors stay flexible. They stretch the ligaments in your hip, leg and pelvis which will allow you to stay stronger through pushes during labor. As one set of muscles work, the opposing muscles promotes it. For your hip flexors to contract, the back of your hips need to relax. That’s why it’s important to work your front and back muscles in the hips. There are plenty of poses that promote a gentle exercise for pregnant women.
A daily yoga practice while you’re pregnant comes with a number of health benefits. It helps you sleep better, increase flexibility, decrease nausea, headaches, stress and shortness of breath. When you don’t have these problems, your baby is most likely to go full term.
Meera Watts is a yoga teacher, entrepreneur and mom. Her writing on yoga and holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, Yoganonymous, OMtimes and others. She’s also the founder and owner of Siddhi Yoga International, a yoga teacher training school based in Singapore. Siddhi Yoga runs intensive, residential trainings in India (Rishikesh, Goa and Dharamshala), Indonesia (Bali)