Prenatal yoga: The Positive Impact Of Yoga on Pregnancy

Jul 26, 2019

pregnant woman doing prenatal yoga pose next to mirrorAuthored by freelance writer Jane Sanwood

Research published in the American Journal of Perinatology has revealed that prenatal yoga benefits the mother and baby, reducing the risks of complications and premature births. This can help alleviate any concerns pregnant women and partners may have about whether it is safe to practice yoga during pregnancy and how often.

What is prenatal yoga?

Prenatal yoga is a form of gentle exercise specifically designed for pregnant women. It focuses on poses that are safe for the developing baby and beneficial for the mother, helping to maintain flexibility, reduce stress, and build strength in preparation for labor.

The positive impact of yoga on the mind makes it a powerful resource when it comes to helping to keep women healthy and happy during pregnancy. It can also play a vital role in keeping you physically strong in pregnancy and labor.

When to start prenatal yoga

Ideally, expectant mothers can begin prenatal yoga during their second trimester, after the 14th week of pregnancy. This timing is generally considered safe and coincides with the period when many women start feeling more energetic and less nauseous.

Does prenatal yoga help with labor?

Yes, practicing prenatal yoga can be highly beneficial for labor. It helps in building strength and stamina, which are crucial for coping with the physical demands of childbirth. Additionally, the relaxation and breathing techniques learned in yoga can aid in managing pain and staying calm during labor.

How often should I do prenatal yoga?

It’s recommended to practice prenatal yoga three to four times per week. However, even a once-weekly session can be beneficial. It’s important to listen to your body and adjust the frequency of practice accordingly.

Is prenatal yoga safe?

Prenatal yoga is generally safe for most pregnant women. However, it’s essential to consult with your healthcare provider before starting any new exercise regimen during pregnancy. Also, practicing under the guidance of an experienced prenatal yoga instructor is advisable.

It goes without saying, though, that you should seek guidance from an experienced yoga instructor about what poses to practice and which ones to avoid.

Calming the mind

With relaxation being a priority during all stages of pregnancy, the meditative aspect of yoga is key. Aim to focus on deep breathing exercises regularly each day. It can be helpful to practice meditation with loved ones at home, as this will help make for a calming atmosphere all round.

With studies showing the potential impact of stress in pregnancy on the baby, finding ways to be relaxed when pregnant is very important. It is a good idea to try some gentle poses each bedtime to help relieve any aches and bring on sleep.

Avoid overstretching, and aim instead for comfortable poses and deep, gentle breathing. The child’s pose (balasana) is a particularly effective stretch when it comes to reducing anxiety, gently alleviating any aches in your back and helping you relax.

The pose is safe at all stages of pregnancy. Just be sure to support your front with a bolster as your belly grows to prevent any undue pressure being exerted on your body.

Building strength

While relaxation is key to a healthy pregnancy, it is also important to keep working on your physical strength throughout. This will stand you in good stead as the baby grows and your body stretches and changes shape.

It goes without saying that you will also need to have bags of strength and stamina for the labor and in the weeks after the birth. With this in mind, focus on some poses that are great for building strength and which are safe during all stages of pregnancy.

The warrior II pose is a good option, as is the tree pose. Both of these test your balance and work your leg and core muscles. As your bump grows, consider standing near a wall or surface for support, as your center of gravity shifts and your balance becomes less secure.

Prenatal yoga can help you connect with your baby

Practicing yoga regularly during pregnancy gives you an invaluable opportunity to bond with your baby. It can be daunting to feel and witness your body changing in unfamiliar ways. Taking time out regularly for yoga can help you become more aware of your body and at ease with its changes.

Rather than concentrating on the uncertainties that may lie ahead, try to use the meditative aspect of yoga to help you embrace your changing body and visualize your baby growing inside. This may help replace a good deal of anxiety with excitement.

The takeaway: Prenatal yoga can help you develop physical and emotional resilience

Pregnancy is an exciting time, as well as a daunting one. As well as dealing with the physical changes that come with pregnancy, women may find themselves struggling with anxiety or uncertainty about what the future holds. Practicing yoga regularly, by yourself and/or with others, can help you become stronger both physically and mentally, while also giving you the chance to nurture your relationship with your baby.