If you’re in the family way, you might be thinking of a way to stay fit, and at the same time, keep the child in your tummy safe. In a typical pregnancy, maternity yoga is one of the best options normally approved by doctors. What is maternity yoga? How does it work? What are its benefits, and what should you avoid?
What is Maternity Yoga?
Maternity yoga or also known as prenatal yoga targets to improve the strength and stability that your body’s going to need once you start labor and childbirth. Particularly areas in the pelvic floor, hips, and legs. But, not only does it prepare your body for giving birth, but certain poses that are executed correctly can also help alleviate back pain and tight muscles.
What are the Benefits of Prenatal Yoga?
There are tons of advantages to practicing maternity yoga. Including physical and emotional benefits. Here are some of the many:
May reduce stress and anxiety. The breathing exercises performed in yoga activate the nervous system and hold off a stress hormone called cortisol. It has been observed that people with depression often have high levels of cortisol. Moreover, getting used to and applying these breathing techniques may help you deal with stressful situations more calmly.
Helps prevent weight gain. By not acquiring more weight during pregnancy, a woman will be losing stored fats. She will, then, naturally become lighter than she was before pregnancy. Thus, practicing maternity yoga exercises can help you manage your weight.
May help lower blood pressure. A pregnant woman’s blood pressure and heart rate decrease after performing maternity yoga.
May help improve blood circulation. The movements and stretching in maternity yoga encourage blood flow, and in turn, reduces swelling. Specific poses target the hands, feet, legs, and arms -areas where swelling usually happens. What is more, improved blood circulation helps keep your baby healthy.
Helps better your delivery experience. The movements and poses of maternity yoga aim to strengthen and stabilize your core. In turn, your core muscles become more toned and able to better handle and withstand laboring pains. Women who practiced at least 6 prenatal yoga before birth spent less time laboring compared to those who did not. On top of that, it has also been reported that they felt more comfortable and less pain during and right after labor.
Safety Precautions to Consider
One of the first things you should consider is talking to your healthcare provider. Although prenatal yoga is deemed generally safe, some women are considered high risk and have other complications to consider. Hence, it is always best to consult your doctor first to ensure safety.
Remember to keep yourself hydrated throughout the whole workout. And if you feel that the heat is too much to handle, don’t hesitate to skip a workout session. Extreme heat can make you feel nauseous and dizzy.
Lying on your back is also unsafe because the weight on your tummy puts pressure on your vena cava. This interferes with your blood flow, making you feel dizzy and nauseous. Moreover, movements that involve stretching your abdomens such as closed twists and deep bends are dangerous too because it puts direct pressure on your baby and may cause injury.
Another safety reminder is to just take it easy. If you’re not comfortable with a certain position, don’t force yourself. If you want to take a break at any point during the workout, feel free to do so. And don’t forget to always breathe deeply throughout the workout.
Basic Prenatal Yoga Poses That Strengthen Your Body and Ease Common Pregnancy Discomforts
Backaches and stiff muscles are inevitable, especially in pregnant women. Nevertheless, it’s possible to ease these discomforts. Below are a few examples of simple prenatal yoga poses:
- Start by standing with your feet a little broader than your shoulders.
- Allow your hips to rotate outward aiming to turn your feet to a 45-degree angle.
- Keep your spine upright while looking forward as you inhale and bend your knees toward a 90-degree angle.
- Exhale as you clutch to standing, heightening the strength in the inner thigh, and helping you move back up to a standing position. Your abs will be slightly engaged. This will supply you with added core stabilization.
Cat and Cow Stretch
- Start on all fours with hands and shoulders width apart and your knees parallel to your hips.
- Inhale as you look above, lifting your breastbone and tailbone toward the sky as you gently tighten your lower back.
- Exhale and round your spine into an arch. However, take it easy on your second and third trimesters. Concentrate more on the curve in the upper body rather than the pelvic tuck.
- Stand with your feet parallel to your hips and put your hand aligned to your shoulders on the wall slightly over the height of your hips.
- Slowly walk your feet back until your torso is aligned to the ground.
- Flex the muscles in your thighs and stretch your tailbone back as you reach the top of your head forward.
In summary, if practiced safely, prenatal yoga can definitely be helpful during pregnancy and childbirth. To ensure your well-being, and so as your baby’s, you may want to enroll in a prenatal yoga class. However, keep track of whatever changes or other symptoms you might experience and talk to your doctor about it immediately.