A moderate low-intensity exercise regimen during pregnancy can be beneficial for both mother and the child, suggest experts. All types of exercise can be beneficial in pregnancy but yoga in particular can be very beneficial as it is gentle and highly adaptable to a person’s ability and physical considerations. Yoga has the potential to help improve flexibility, stamina, improve posture and help with relaxing, breathing and balance making it the perfect workout for mommies-to-be!
Advantages of practicing yoga during pregnancy
Practice of yoga both before and during pregnancy is advantageous but needs modifications as the pregnancy progresses as the postures (asanas) need to accommodate the growing fetus and protect the placenta. As with any exercise program, it is best to consult your practitioner and a credible yoga expert and inform them of your pregnancy before beginning. Yoga functions on several levels- physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual therefore it aids in holistic development.
Benefits of yoga are innumerable; it aids you in preconception stage, during pregnancy and post delivery.
Let’s see how yoga works in various stages
Preconception: Yoga can be beneficial for conceiving as it helps physically achieve hormonal balance and channelize energy and vitality to the reproductive area. Pregnancy creates a lot of emotional trauma by way of fear of childbirth, issues of changing body image and depression. Meditation which is a part of yoga helps in developing a positive attitude towards life and pregnancy. Additionally, it brings in an emotional steadiness which is important for conception as the stressful lives that we lead can hamper fertility. Yoga postures make the body flexible, tones up muscles especially the back and pelvic muscles which needs to be strong to undergo the rigors of pregnancy. Yoga is a beneficial way to overcome pain as well as fear of pregnancy. Thus, yoga helps prepare your body, mind and soul for pregnancy.
Pregnancy and child birth: All the stretching and relaxation techniques that yoga offers are ideal form of exercise during pregnancy. It builds up strength and stamina to help your body cope up with the demands of pregnancy and labour. It improves posture and body awareness thereafter aiding when breastfeeding and carrying a baby. The stretching involved in yoga helps tone up the reproductive organs, pelvis and the body as whole to ensure an easy childbirth. During pregnancy your body produces hormones which help your uterus relax making your muscles prone to strains. These hormones affect all your connective tissues, so do not prolong any stretch especially your abdominal muscles. Be alert to what your body is trying to communicate to you, any discomfort arises, you should stop. The breath control techniques of yoga help to provide more oxygen and pumps in charged blood to the baby in the womb. Practicing yoga before and throughout pregnancy increases the chance of natural birth as all the toning that is involved helps in flexibility and strength building. Learning to relax can also help you recover more quickly in between contractions. Yoga helps in pain management during delivery as the breathing exercises strengthens the body to cope with labor pain.
Post delivery: Yoga tremendously helps in the emotional and psychological level by toning up the nervous system, stimulating circulation and concentration. It alleviates both pre and postnatal depression by relaxing the mind. Yoga Nidra (yogic sleep) is one such technique which helps in regaining the point of balance and harmony in every sphere of existence. Other than helping with the aches and pains of pregnancy, yoga deals with mental issues of moodiness and depression. Meditation through yoga will greatly help you alleviate stress, fatigue and weakness. Yoga helps maintain physical fitness post delivery as it helps you regain strength in your lower body especially the pelvic and abdominal muscles. Once the postpartum check up is complete you can start yoga after six weeks from delivery. As usual, a doctor should be consulted before beginning or continuing any schedule of exercises.
Precautions while practicing yoga
Though, yoga can be very beneficial during pregnancy yet some cautionary measurements need to be taken by pregnant women.
To conclude, yoga postures are gentle methods of maintaining your body to be active and agile and reduce the common pregnancy symptoms such as morning sickness, fatigue and irregular bowel movement. It can also help in easy labour and delivery by the relaxation of pelvic muscles. The breathing techniques can hugely help during natural birth. Post delivery yoga helps you regain your body shape, restoring the reproductive system and relieving any post partum issues.
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