Just like how all things need to be looked into when it comes to health, similarly, health needs prime attention in pregnant ladies.
During pregnancy, women have to battle out between mood swings to hunger pangs for tangy things. There are fatigue and sickness. But in one of these tough times when you are expecting, pregnancy yoga is of major help.
Such is the love for yoga that former Miss Universe and B-town actress Lara Dutta who is now the proud mother of a baby girl launched her prenatal yoga DVD ‘Heal with Lara’ under prenatal yoga expert Tonia Clarke.
This explains the role and importance of pregnancy yoga which is fast developing as a fitness trend among would-be mothers.
First, let us identify how maternity yoga can help moms-to-be to happily welcome motherhood.
Health Benefits Of Doing Prenatal Yoga Exercises
Here are some amazing benefits of doing pregnancy yoga exercises for normal delivery:
1. Facilitates Labor
Did you know that maternity yoga is an excellent way for an expecting woman to condition and prepare her body and mind for the birth of her baby? Physical exercise, meditation as well as relaxation do wonder in terms of both maternal and foetal health.
When you practice yoga during pregnancy for an hour on a daily basis every day between 18 and 20 weeks, then gestation until childbirth helps to increase the birth weight. By improving muscle strength and flexibility, yoga prepares a woman’s body for labour prior to the event.
2. Reduces Pain
Yoga has the ability to reduce aches and pains which come with advanced pregnancy, since it helps in stretching of muscles, improving breathing and boosting blood circulation.
3. Improves Sleep
During advanced pregnancy, sleep is hard to come by due to the restricted positions in which the preggie mother can rest. An activity like yoga not only reduces stress, anxiety, and pain associated with pregnancy, it also improves the quality of sleep and rest during pregnancy.
4. Calm The Nerves
If you are going through any kind of emotional turmoil, your baby will feel it too. It is important to be peaceful and calm your nerves even in stressful situations. Sometimes it can be hard, but that’s where yoga can help.
Yoga trains you for deep breathing, which calms the nervous system and helps you maintain a relaxed demeanour. The calm nervous system also aids with the digestion, helps you sleep better and maintains good immunity, all of which help keep the mom and the baby healthy.
5. Increase Blood Circulation
Yoga involves a lot of stretches and moves to get your blood flowing. These postures are designed to help improve blood circulation in the body.
Improved blood circulation decreases swelling of the body particularly feet, which is a common problem during pregnancy. It also helps improve immunity, which creates a healthy and nourishing environment for the baby.
Other benefits of improved blood circulation include improved sleeping patterns, digestion and overall stamina as your body receives the optimal doses of oxygen.
Let us now find out how yoga for pregnant women can help moms-to-be to stay in shape.
1. Vakrasna (Twisted Pose)
- In this prenatal yoga poses, you need to sit erect with feet stretched in front.
- Inhale and raise your arms. Remember that your palms should be facing down.
- It is time to exhale now. Now twist your body from your waist towards your right. In doing so, you will have to move your head and hands to the same side.
- Now inhale and come back to your original position and repeat this posture on the other side.
On the benefit side, this maternity yoga helps you exercise your spine, hands, legs, neck and gives a gentle massage to your abdominal organs.
2. Utkatasana (Chair Pose)
If you want to strengthen your thigh and pelvic muscles then doing yoga during pregnancy would help you immensely.
- In order to go about doing this prenatal yoga exercises, get yourself to stand erect and keep your feet parallel to each other.
- As you inhale for 2 seconds, raise your heels and arms at shoulder level.
- Exhale slowly then sit in squat pose on your toes. If you feel a bit of discomfort standing on your toes, then stand normally keeping your feet flat on the ground.
- Now inhale, get up slowly and stand on your toes.
3. Konasana (Angle Pose)
This pregnancy yoga helps you keep the flexibility of waist and helps you keep your fat in the waist region under control. You can do this asana easily with the support of the wall.
- To do this prenatal yoga poses, stand erect by keeping your feet 24 inches apart.
- Raise your right hand up while keeping your elbow in a straight position.
- Go in for a nice upward stretch and as you inhale, bend sideward towards your left.
- Now exhale and come backrest your hand.
4. Paryankasana (Ham’s Pose With One Leg)
This maternity yoga posture aims to strengthen the abdominal, pelvic and thigh muscles.
- To do this asana, lie down on your back and straighten your legs.
- Fold your right leg knee in a posterior position and keep it as long as you can take it.
- Repeat it and then straighten your legs.
5. Hast Padangusthasana (Extended Hand Pose)
This is one of the easier poses when it comes to prenatal yoga exercises and helps you stretch all your muscles from head to toe, particularly pelvic and thigh muscles.
- Practice this asana by lying down on your back. Straighten your legs and keep your body in one line.
- See to it that your hands should be in T-position with your palms facing down.
- Slide your right leg towards your right side. If possible, hold toe with your right hand.
- Come back to your original position by sliding your leg. Repeat the same on the left side.
With the responsibility of being pregnant, comes a few precautions too. Only if you’re experienced, you can go for flow style of yoga but if you’re a beginner then prenatal yoga comes with certain precautions and limitations.
A few poses to be avoided while pregnancy :
Upside-down yoga poses – These include headstands, handstands and shoulder stand to name a few. Lying flat on the back for more than a couple of minutes after the first trimester – Lying on the back tends to exert pressure on the inferior vena cava, the vein which carries blood from your legs to your heart thereby causing dizziness, breathing problem and nausea.
Lying on tummy – This pose should be avoided as it stretches tummy muscles following deep forward and backbends. It further leads to tearing of muscles that are usually expanded by the uterus as the fetus develops within.
Yoga that involves breathing techniques – Avoid holding your breath and poses such as Pranayam that involves rigorous breathing.
Yoga poses that demand body balance – You should always do such poses with the support of a prop, chair or a wall as I’d already mentioned that centre of gravity shifts following weight gain.
Twisting poses especially in the second trimester and third trimester.
Hot yoga classes – For this kind of yoga room is heated to 40 degrees and also higher, which may be dangerous for the baby.
Vigorous, aerobic or any kind of intense yoga.
A quick tip for you moms to be – You should always keep a blanket or towel under your knees while practising prenatal yoga.
You can also go for a yoga block, a pillow or couch cushion, apart from a yoga mat. Never practice yoga directly on the floor. Always have some water nearby to keep your body hydrated.
Hope this post on yoga for pregnant women helps you enjoy this special time with your baby. Stay healthy!