Is Yoga Beneficial During Pregnancy?
Who Is Yoga For?
Yoga is for everyone, including pregnant women. The fact that there are so many different styles of yoga means that there is something suitable for everyone. Yoga has been practised for centuries by men and women, both old and young. The health benefits of this unique practice are undeniable.
The physical strengthening and toning offered by yoga, combined with the calming, meditative, restorative elements have made it a universally popular form of mindful exercise.
Is It Safe To Practice Yoga During Pregnancy?
Pregnancy is an individual journey experienced by each expectant mother. Every woman is unique, as is every experience of pregnancy; therefore not all types of yoga are suitable for all pregnant women. Pregnancy yoga, however, is a specific type of yoga tailored to suit the changing physical and emotional needs of the mother to be. It can be safely practised by most pregnant women from the start of pregnancy, providing there are no specific medical conditions determined by medical professionals.
How Is Yoga Beneficial During Pregnancy?
During pregnancy, all women experience significant physical and often mental changes. It is an exciting journey which can also be challenging, and a number of adaptations need to be made as the body changes in preparation for the birth. Pregnancy yoga can help women manage some of these changes in a calm and positive way, helping them to be healthier in both body and mind.
Breathing and Relaxation
Breathing is an extremely important part of labour and also an integral part of yoga. Prenatal yoga teaches various breathing techniques which can be used to aid in relaxation any time during the pregnancy and during labour. Pregnancy yoga has a calming effect on the mother, which is subsequently transmitted to the unborn child; it may also help the mother to connect to her unborn child.
Learning specific pregnancy safe breathing techniques can help improve circulation and the flow of oxygen around the body as well as helping to relax and reduce stress. Learned breathing techniques may also help some women cope during labour, teaching them techniques to help relax when they most need to. Tension during labour ultimately leads to more pain, so deep breathing exercises can help the mother fight the urge to tense and panic when she feels the pain with contractions. Learning to focus on the breath can help all of us feel more in control of our thoughts and bodies and this is extremely useful during moments of tension or anxiety. It may even mean that less pain relief is required by the mother during labour.
Yoga breathing during pregnancy should be guided by a professional, it is also not advised to hold your breath during pregnancy.
Strengthening To Alleviate Pain
The practice of yoga can help to tone and strengthen all parts of our bodies, including areas which are under greater strain during pregnancy such as the abdominal muscles and the pelvic floor. Strengthening the pelvic floor is highly beneficial as a weak pelvic floor can increase the risk of a prolapse of the uterus, bladder or rectum, as well as urinary incontinence and heightened abdominal pain.
Many of the traditional classical yoga poses are adapted during pregnancy yoga to help to accommodate changes to the body. Teaching open twists and fluid poses, helps to create space in the body as well as helping to relieve some of the frequent complaints associated with pregnancy such as heartburn and swollen limbs. It can also help to alleviate pressure which often builds up in the lower back during pregnancy.
Keeping In Shape
Exercising during pregnancy is important to maintain general health and wellbeing. Yoga is recommended by the NHS as a safe type of exercise during pregnancy, as it helps to strengthen and tone the body. Staying active during pregnancy also helps women to regain their shape and fitness quicker after giving birth.
Pregnancy yoga is a great place to meet and bond with other women in the same situation – many lasting friendships are formed during this time.
How We Can Help
ProPhysiotherapy offer a wide range of pregnancy related services including Pregnancy Yoga. For more information on our services, get in touch today.