Pregnancy is truly an amazing and glorious time in a woman’s life. Pregnancy really is a miracle. From one cell, we create an entirely new human being. Pregnancy does come with its share of ups and downs, and sometimes it can be hard to accept your new, pregnant shape. But pregnancy is something that should be enjoyed, and celebrated!
With Prenatal Yoga, pregnancy can be even joyful experience. Yoga is an ancient practice that combines physical postures with breathing, meditation and visualization techniques to maintain balance in both body and mind. By practicing prenatal yoga, it provides a gentle form of stretching and strengthening that strengthen the body muscle, build up the stamina to support the changes of physical body. It brings out better awareness and better control of our breathing and this can be an effective tool that helps to calm and reduce anxiety in expecting mothers as well as aid in pain management during labour itself. With this awareness, mothers are more mentally, emotionally and physically prepared for situations when things become more challenging and demanding.
These are some benefits of practicing prenatal yoga:
Increases overall strength and flexibility
Yoga enables the stretching of not only muscles but the tissues that encase your muscles, stimulating organ systems and promoting the circulation of blood and oxygen.
Reduces low back pain & sciatica
As you become acutely aware of proper body alignment, you can carry yourself and your belly in an integrated manner. This can help reduce the degree of pelvic tilt associated with pregnancy and significantly reduce the lower back pain pelvic tilt can cause.
Reduces aches & fatigue in the thoracic and cervical regions of the spine
It can be difficult to find a comfortable space for yourself when trying to sleep. As a result, spinal alignment can become compromised. Certain yoga poses create more fluidity in the spine.
Reduces swelling & inflammation around the joints
A regular yoga practice improves and promotes the circulation of blood and oxygen throughout your body. This, in turn, can reduce swelling and inflammation around ankles and wrists.
Helps physically prepare your body for birth
Prenatal yoga often includes poses to assist in the toning of the pelvic floor muscles. Familiarizing yourself with and strengthening these muscles can allow you to efficiently and effectively use them in labor and push your baby into the world.
Improves emotional well-being
Participation in a group prenatal class provides a supportive community of other women who are experiencing each stage of pregnancy themselves and preparing for birth.
BENEFITS OF PRENATAL YOGA DURING LABOR
Use of deep belly breath sooth and empowers and helps you to listen and respond calmly
Deep belly breathing helps move the body into the action of the parasympathetic nervous system (rest-and-relax response). The body responds to the parasympathetic nervous system by slowing the heart rate and decreasing blood pressure while increasing the release of endorphins. When you consistently practice moving your body in a rhythmic fashion in unison with your breath, you carry with you a powerful relaxation and pain management tool. The imprinted memory of your relationship to your breath can assist in managing the growing pain of a contraction.
Facilitates the labor process
Through yoga, you can learn how to identify when you are holding tension in your body. A tense body is not going to facilitate the birth process as easily. Moreover, when the body is tense, you may experience tension in thought and a withholding of breath. Consequently, a regular prenatal practice can reduce the length of your labor.
Prepares you for use of mediation & visual imagery tools
When it comes time to ride through the most powerful of contractions, visual imagery combined with breath work can be one of the most useful labor tools. Additionally, the opportunity to develop a moment by moment awareness in yoga practice can assist you in attending to labor moment by moment and is an asset to managing labor.
When to start and stop:
Expecting mother can start practicing prenatal yoga after 3 months of pregnancy and must consult their gynecologist before start the class. They may continue the class until a week prior to the labour . (I used to have students who still practice few days prior to their labour)