Yoga has a lot of benefits for pregnant moms and even the simplest yoga practices can help moms-to-be feel better during their pregnancy. Plus, yoga can help increase the strength, flexibility and endurance of muscles needed for childbirth. Here are five reasons we think yoga is a plus during pregnancy and why this ancient practice could help you–and your baby – be healthier.
#1 Yoga is Relaxing
Pregnancy can be stressful – and stress can lead to poor sleep, anxiety and exhaustion. According to the experts at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, yoga is a safe exercise program for most pregnant moms, with some modifications. Simple yoga practices like breathing techniques, gentle stretches, and simple postures can help relieve tension in your body and mind. Plus when you begin your delivery, you can apply the same techniques to help manage your breathing and work through contractions.
#2 Yoga Builds Strength
Carrying a baby during nine months of pregnancy and delivering a baby is work that requires strong muscles. In addition, as the baby grows, the body changes shape and there is more stress on the lower back and hips. A pregnant mom’s breasts also grow, which puts pressure on her upper back, chest and shoulders. Certain yoga poses, such as the Goddess Pose, Sun Salutation or Tree, strengthen muscles and decrease tension in these areas. To be sure you are doing safe poses during all stages of your pregnancy, look for a certified prenatal yoga instructor who understands the changes that are going on in your body.
#3 Yoga Flow Helps Your Blood Flow
Yoga is good for circulation, and increasing blood flow to all your joints and muscles helps you and your baby stay healthy. Good circulation also helps reduce swelling and creates a stronger immune system.
#4 Yoga Helps You Bond
Prenatal yoga is a great way to think about how your body is changing and bond with the new baby that is growing within you. Furthermore, each deep yoga breath helps a pregnant mom relax, and that relaxation is transmitted to her baby. If you are pregnant, yoga classes can also be a great place to make new friends and share what you are experiencing. And after you give birth, you can continue the friendship at mommy-baby yoga classes.
# 5 Yoga and Preparing for Delivery
As mentioned earlier, the simplest yoga practices–breathing deeply and consciously relaxing–can help you prepare for the physical and mental demands of labor and birth. And the breathing techniques you learned in your prenatal yoga class will help you manage your labor and relax. Furthermore, you’ll be thankful for the strong muscles you built during your prenatal practice.
Before you begin a prenatal yoga program, check with your medical doctor or health care practitioner. And be sure to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water before, during, and after any form of exercise.
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 American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, “Committee Opinion,” Number 650, December 2015.