Yoga Offers Important Benefits During Pregnancy
Pregnancy may be one of the most wonderful times of your life, but it's not without its discomforts. As your belly swells, aches and pains, insomnia, nausea, and headaches become increasingly common. Practicing yoga a few times a week not only reduces these symptoms but may make labor and delivery a little easier.
9 Advantages of Yoga During Pregnancy
When you practice yoga regularly during your pregnancy, you'll enjoy a few of these benefits:
- Stronger, More Flexible Muscles. Yoga asanas, or poses, tone, stretch, and strengthen all of the muscles in your body, including the core muscles you'll use during childbirth.
- Fewer Aches and Pains. Improving muscle tone in your abdominal and pelvic floor muscles can reduce low back pain, a common complaint during pregnancy, and ease muscle cramps and other aches and pains.
- Improved Endurance. Yoga not only strengthens your muscles but also improves your lung capacity. As you perform each pose, you'll inhale and exhale deeply. When you take deep breaths, more oxygen-rich blood reaches your muscles, which can help improve endurance and stamina during delivery.
- Less Nausea. Nausea during pregnancy affects up to 85 percent of pregnant women, according to the American Pregnancy Association. Yoga poses and breathing exercises may help relax muscles in the abdomen and diaphragm, easing nausea.
- Fewer Headaches. Headaches during pregnancy aren't uncommon and can occur due to hormonal changes, dehydration due to morning sickness, weight gain or stress. Yoga offers a safe way to relieve or reduce headache pain naturally.
- Reduced Pre-Term Labor Risk. Practicing yoga regularly may also decrease the likelihood that your labor will start before your baby is full-term. In an Indian research study, pregnant women who practiced yoga had significantly lower pre-term labor rates than participants in the control group.
- Less Depression and Anxiety. Concerns about childbirth, the health of your baby, and the changes to your family, even if they're welcome, can trigger stress, anxiety, and depression during pregnancy. Yoga and meditation offer an effective way to reduce these symptoms. In fact, pregnant participants in a University of Michigan Health System reported that their depression symptoms were significantly reduced after 10 weeks of mindfulness yoga.
- Better Sleep. Reducing stress, anxiety, nausea, and pain through your yoga poses, meditation, and deep breathing may make it easier to sleep at night.
- Natural Labor Pain Relief Option. Meditation and deep breathing, two essential aspects of yoga, can help you remain calm and may even ease pain during childbirth.
When to Start Yoga
If you began practicing yoga before you became pregnant, you can continue to attend classes or practice on your own during all three trimesters, although you may need to make a few modifications and use more props as your pregnancy progresses.
It's best to start yoga during the second trimester if you haven't practiced it before. Prenatal yoga classes offer an excellent way to tone your body and calm your mind whether you're a seasoned yoga veteran or a novice.
During classes, you'll learn safe poses that relieve pregnancy-related aches and pains and other symptoms and help prepare you for labor and delivery. You'll also enjoy the support of the other women in the class, all of whom are also mothers-to-be.
Although yoga is safe for many pregnant women, it's a good idea to check with your OB/GYN before you begin classes. If your pregnancy is high risk or you had pregnancy complications in the past, yoga may not be recommended, although you can still enjoy the benefits of deep breathing and meditation.
Are you interested in attending a prenatal yoga class? Contact us for information on enrollment.