With pregnancy come a number of physical and emotional changes which can make it hard to keep up with the changes – a change in priorities, frequent mood swings, lack of strength and a constant feeling of nausea are the very few drastic changes brought about in the body during pregnancy.
Preparing the Body for Childbirth
To help the body adapt to these changes and grow accustomed to nine months of constant transition, women all over the world are not turning to prenatal yoga, to benefit themselves and their soon-to-arrive babies.
A safe approach during pregnancy, with numerous health benefits, prenatal yoga promotes stretching, blood circulation, calmness of the mind and body, focused breathing, and centering of thoughts apart from improving sleep patterns, reducing stress and anxiety, and increasing flexibility. Prenatal yoga help expecting mothers relax and also helps them trust that their bodies will open up to accommodate the labor and birthing process. Prenatal yoga is picking up the pace and is quickly becoming the go-to workout for the development of strength for the mother and the overall health of the baby, too.
Why Women are Turning to Prenatal Yoga
Although pregnancy is a physical upheaval for all women, some might have a comfortable pregnancy while for the others, it can be an emotion turmoil. In a time of constant fluctuations in hormones, mood swings, stress and anxiety are common occurrences. Yoga helps create a feeling of calmness as expecting mothers immerse their mind and body in asanas and meditation. This helps develop a feeling of peace and calm, and awareness of the thoughts and feelings that may be overburdening the mind.
• Breath work and Breathing techniques
An increase in oxygen intake increases blood flow to the abdomen and helps create a feeling of calm by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system. This, indirectly, helps the unborn baby. Breath work practised during asanas and pranayamas, helps prepare the kind and body for deep and mindful breathing that helps loosen the body, and is also required during contractions in labor, and childbirth.
• Prenatal Yoga Helps Improves Strength and Flexibility
Strengthening the hips and thighs while practising yoga gives the mother a choice of position for delivery. Since a squat is a common birthing position, hip-opening poses like squats help in softening and widening the pelvic area. Stretching the hip flexors helps counteract the tightness that might occur during hormonal shifts and labor. Holding a squat for about 45 secs -1 min should help with hip opening. Yoga asanas like the cat-camel pose can help place the baby in a better position for an easier delivery process.
• Fewer complications during and post child birth
Research suggests that prenatal yoga increases the chances of having a health baby, improves the weight of the baby at birth, decreases the chances of preterm labor and any other pregnancy related problems.
• Tones muscle groups
Prenatal yoga not only helps calm the mind, but it also helps the pelvic floor hit core muscles to prepare the baby for childbirth. It helps tone the muscles to the extent where they are neither too relaxed, nor too tight. Poses like lunges and gentle back-bends help reduce the pain the body has to deal with during the nine months of pregnancy. The muscle groups also help the body tone up post childbirth.
• Bonding with the baby
Prenatal yoga facilitates taking the time out of a busy life and busy schedule to establish a bond and connection with the baby. Poses like the Virasana aid in taking deeper breaths and connecting with the rapidly changing miracle body.
• Reduces common discomforts
Research has suggested that prenatal yoga can successfully help reduce or cure common pregnancy discomforts such as, lower back problems, nausea, insomnia and headaches. Yoga stretches and toning postures improve blood circulation throughout the body. Deep breaths help with more oxygen intake which is beneficial for the body, muscles and the fetus health. Studies have shown that mindfulness yoga helps provide relief during the sometimes over-emotional gestation period.
Research has shown, women who do not practise prenatal yoga during pregnancy, experience a pain-intensity score which is twice as high as that of the women who practised prenatal yoga twice to thrice a week.
A Wellintra client stated that regular practise of prenatal yoga helped normalize her blood pressure and to her surprise, even prevented rapid weight gain. She also reported a reduction of swelling in the body. She experienced lesser incidents of feeling lightheaded and comparatively fewer episodes of morning sickness.
Increased blood flow due to yoga helps stimulate the brain, reduce stressful thoughts and lessen anxiety.
Since the elevation of the diaphragm during pregnancy causes a slight difficulty in easy breathing, Prenatal Yoga and deep breathing exercises can help improve the intake of oxygen by the body.
While prenatal yoga is highly recommended during pregnancy, make sure to consult your team of doctors before taking up and physical exercise. For all the expectant mommies who are new to any form of exercise, try to begin with slow walks before moving up the pregnancy fitness ladder, and turning to prenatal yoga.
At Wellintra, we have some of the best fitness trainers and prenatal yoga experts in the country. Call us to arrange a free prenetal yoga trial session!