Prenatal yoga: What you need to know
While it’s true that pregnancy is a beautiful time in a woman’s life, it’s also very challenging. All those changes your body is going through can be scary, uncomfortable, and overwhelming. Not to mention that you keep thinking about what could go wrong and if you’re going to be a good mom, and so on. Don’t worry. You’re not alone. The majority of pregnant women experience the same thoughts and feelings. The problem is that, in time, these things can affect you physically and mentally. So, what can you do? Well, one solution for improving your well-being is to practice prenatal yoga. And since you might not be familiar with this practice, take a look at our guide to “Prenatal yoga: What you need to know.”
Introduction to prenatal yoga
Whether or not you’ve practiced yoga before getting pregnant, prenatal yoga is a bit different. But before we dive into this topic, we have to debunk a popular myth. Many pregnant women are terrified that any form of exercise will harm their babies. And this couldn’t be further from the truth. In reality, we highly recommend staying active during your pregnancy. That will strengthen your body and prepare it for childbirth. Of course, you shouldn’t overdo it. Just stick to moderate-intensity physical activities, and you’re good. And these can include everything from walking and running to aerobics and yoga.
What is prenatal yoga?
The first stop in our guide to “Prenatal yoga: What you need to know” is understanding the concept. The main difference between prenatal and other yoga types is that it is specifically designed for pregnant women. That means that it considers all the changes your body goes through during this time. And this includes nausea, discomfort, poor balance, decreased mobility, and so on. All these things make it more complicated and dangerous for pregnant women to practice some of the traditional yoga poses.
Thus, prenatal yoga aims at providing safe exercises for pregnant women. On the one hand, it avoids dangerous twists and poses that pressure the belly. On the other hand, it focuses on relieving some of the pain in the body and making it firmer so it can carry the baby and prepare it for childbirth.
What are the benefits of prenatal yoga?
As previously mentioned, staying active during your pregnancy is highly recommended. That will improve your physical, psychological, and emotional state. But let’s go into a bit more detail to understand the benefits of prenatal yoga better.
No. 1 It relieves stress.
There’s nothing more important than finding ways to relax during your pregnancy. And the main reason for this is that stress can harm you and your baby. And since stress, anxiety, and depression go hand in hand, you have even more to worry about. But here’s where prenatal yoga comes to the rescue. Some studies show that this exercise helps relieve stress and manage or even prevent prenatal anxiety and depression. So, it’s worth a try.
But be advised, prenatal yoga doesn’t work wonders. You should do your best to avoid or reduce stress factors during your pregnancy. For example, if you have a very stressful job. Or, if you’re planning on relocating, make sure you stay healthy through this process by seeking help. You can ask your family and friends for a helping hand and hire professional movers.
No. 2 It strengthens your muscles.
Gaining weight and carrying a baby for nine months strain your body. And many pregnant women experience lower back pain and widespread pain as a result. What is excellent about prenatal yoga is that it stretches and strengthens some of the most important muscle groups in your body. Thus, it helps relieve and even prevent some of that pain. Furthermore, it also tones your pelvic floor muscles in preparation for childbirth. And the good news is that this will also make it easier for you to get back in shape after giving birth.
No. 3 It helps build a support system
What is excellent about prenatal yoga classes is that you meet many moms-to-be. All those women are going through the same thing as you. Therefore, they can offer you advice and support throughout this process. And this is great, particularly if you don’t have too many friends with kids. Having a good support system can relieve some prenatal anxiety and help you enjoy your pregnancy. Plus, who knows? Maybe you’ll even make some life-long friends.
What to expect in each trimester?
You can start practicing prenatal yoga as soon as you become aware of your pregnancy. But as your body changes, you should know what to expect:
- During the first trimester, even though you have more mobility, you’ll likely experience nausea and fatigue. So, you shouldn’t exert yourself; otherwise, your symptoms will worsen.
- During the second trimester, your overall stat will likely improve, and you’ll have more energy for practicing yoga. Nevertheless, during this time, you should avoid poses that put pressure on your belly and sharp twists.
- During the third trimester, you’ll likely experience difficulty in maintaining your balance and tire faster. And this is why, during this time, prenatal yoga focuses on the relaxation of the entire body. For example, light stretches can help relieve some of the body’s discomfort.
When is it unsafe to practice prenatal yoga?
Even though prenatal yoga is safe for pregnant women, each pregnancy is different. For example, you might suffer from certain medical conditions or have a high-risk pregnancy with certain restrictions. Therefore, you should always consult with your doctor first. Then, once your doctor clears you, you can start enjoying it.
What’s important to remember is that you shouldn’t avoid physical activity during your pregnancy. And as you’ve seen in our guide to “Prenatal yoga: What you need to know,” prenatal yoga represents a safe way to stay active. It can also help improve your physical, emotional and mental state. Of course, you can also combine it with other physical activities, just as long as you don’t exert yourself.
Mayoclinic: Prenatal yoga, What you need to know
Healthline: The best prenatal yoga videos
Verywell Fit: A Complete Guide to Prenatal Yoga