How is Yoga Beneficial for Pregnant Women?
While you're pregnant, you might be limited to certain physical activities, especially for women who are late into their pregnancy. However with time, comes new and innovative research on what's too much physical exercise and what just right! Obviously vigorous and tenuous exercises regimes late in pregnancy is most likely not the best option for you or the baby, but at the same time, you want to stay active and healthy as you go through the entirety of pregnancy.
One such study in 2015 proved that some yoga maneuvers like Happy baby pose, Ananda Balasana, Corpse pose, Savasana, and the Child's pose, Balasana may not be contraindicated as once thought. In fact this study suggested that yoga can even be safe late pregnancy and all 26 yoga postures were well tolerated with no adverse outcomes to mom or baby.
This is where yoga comes in. Yoga, when done correctly and cautiously, can be highly beneficial for pregnant women. The soothing and relaxing movements of this ancient practice, destress the body and improve many aspects of your physical and mental health.
Throughout this post, we'll go over the benefits of yoga for pregnant women. We'll discuss why this practice can be so beneficial for women going through a pregnancy.
Why Pregnant Women Should Practice Yoga
You might be wondering why you should practice yoga in the first place, especially when you're pregnant. In truth, it can be tempting to sit back and limit yourself physically during your pregnancy. However, there are many benefits to starting up yoga during this stressful time in your life.
It’s no secret, but pregnancies can be hard on a woman's body. As your hormones and belly balloons, stress increases and life becomes harder to handle. Stress is nothing to be ashamed of, but it does need to be dealt with. This is one of the reasons why yoga can be so great for pregnant women!
When you calm your breath and smoothly move through appropriate yoga postures, you will feel better and more apt to let go of pent up stress and inner turmoil. This will lead to better health outcomes and a better overall pregnancy.
What You May Expect?
Some of the expectations of one class involve focused breathing, gentle warm-up stretches, postures, as well as a cool down phase. Typically forms of yoga such as prenatal, hatha and restorative yoga are best because of there intensities.
Yoga such as hot yoga, is not necessarily recommended because it can involve more rigorous poses and heated temperature rooms.
Before Prenatal Yoga, Always...
Speak with your doctor and attend a class that has a professional yoga instructor.
Set realistic goals. Even if you don't reach that 30-minute goal, listen to your body. Pace yourself accordingly, and if you need a 10 rests during your session, then take them.
Stay hydrated. Make sure to drink plenty of water before, during and after. Make sure you have also properly eaten and fueled yourself.
Why Yoga is Beneficial for Pregnant Women?
Yoga is more than just a stress relief tool for women during pregnancy, though. Yoga is a restorative practice that helps heal the body, improve flexibility, improve strength, and increase your wellbeing. While you're pregnant, your body can become out of balance.
Yoga helps you regain balance in both the body and mind. This has to do with the healing nature of yoga. Yoga postures are scientifically proven to induce a sense of calm and serenity within individuals. Yoga also dials back stress hormones and reduces inflammation throughout the body.
Yoga can seem inconsequential or unimportant, but as a pregnant woman, you have a lot to gain from this ancient practice. We'll talk more about the specific benefits of yoga in the next section, though!
Top Benefits of Yoga For Pregnant Women:
1. Reduces Feelings of Anxiety and Stress
As I mentioned before, yoga has a big impact on stress levels. It's easy to get stressed out when your body is changing. But, yoga helps ease these changes and makes it easier to stay calm in the face of new challenges. Large amounts of stress are not healthy for you or your baby. It can lead to health issues and complications.
In addition, you want to take care of your mental health during your pregnancy. Many women report feeling anxious during their pregnancy. In some cases, feelings of anxiety and depression can linger after you have given birth.
Yoga won’t cure depression or anxiety, but it can help reduce the symptoms of mental illness. In some cases, it can even act as a preventative measure against more serious mental health problems after pregnancy.
A study in 2012, looked at how integrated yoga into a normal pregnant women's life could effect quality of life and interpersonal relationships. The study found that the "yoga group" showed significantly greater improvements in several domains. This included physical, psychological, environmental and social domains of the WHO quality of life Inventory. Meaning that yoga seams to be a noninvasive and cost-effective way that women who are pregnant can improve overall quality of life.
2. Helps You Sleep Better at Night
It’s harder to fall asleep when you're pregnant, especially with all the changes going on in your life. You might find that your sleep schedule is not as consistent as it once was. Luckily, yoga as well as other forms of relaxation exercise and fitness can help get your sleep back on track.
With reduced levels of stress, anxiety, and physical discomfort, you are guaranteed to have a better night of rest. Going to bed wound up and anxious can make sleep hard for anyone. But, as you start to practice prenatal yoga regularly, your body's biological clock can be fixed!
A study n 2008 looked at integrated yoga on stress and heart rate variability in pregnant women. There was a significant "perceived" stress reduction of 31% in the yoga group vs. the control group!
3. Can Help Make Childbirth Easier
This is one of the most important benefits of prenatal yoga. You might be a master of handling stress, but delivering a baby is not easy on your body. The muscle strength needed to push a baby out is actually quite demanding.
A systematic review in 2015, concluded that prenatal yoga may help reduce pelvic pain, on top of improving mental conditioning (anxiety, stress, depression), as well as perinatal outcomes (complications, delivery time).
This is why it is important to stay semi-active during your pregnancy. Luckily, yoga and certain poses help strengthen the pelvic muscles that are used during the birthing process.
So, not only will you feel less pain and soreness as your body grows with the baby, but you will also have a much easier time pushing out your child.
4. Decreases Headaches and Physical Pain
Being pregnant is a source of joy and excitement for many women. However, there is no denying that pregnancy can have its downsides. Nausea, headaches, body aches, and malaise are just some of the common symptoms associated with pregnancy.
Unfortunately, many pregnant women do report having these types of symptoms. However, his doesn't mean that you can’t reduce the aches and pains of pregnancy. In fact, yoga can help you feel a lot better.
Discomfort is obviously a major concern and issue with pregnant women. In a study in 2009, pregnant women partook in a prenatal yoga program study. It was concluded that there was significant data which showed that women who took part in this prenatal program, reported fewer discomforts then the group that did not.
A lot of the pain associated with pregnancy comes from your muscles and ligaments being moved around. Your baby needs to grow, so your body expands to accommodate this need.
You can’t entirely rid your body of aches as it changes, but yoga makes your muscles stronger and prepares them for the many stages of pregnancy.
5. It Will Be Easier to Lose The Baby Weight
Like aches and pains, extra weight is another unfortunate reality of pregnancy. Your body needs extra padding and fat to properly grow your baby. So, you will naturally gain weight as you go through your pregnancy. As a result of this, though, lots of women are worried about losing baby weight after their pregnancy.
Gaining weight during pregnancy is normal, but doesn’t mean that you have to keep that weight on, or that you can’t stop dramatic weight gain during pregnancy. In fact, yoga can make it easier to lose weight after you have delivered your baby.
Yoga burns calories and helps lessen weight gain, but it also keeps the body nimble, toned, and flexible. This is crucial for post-pregnancy weight loss.
6. You Gain Social Support
Depending on your circumstances, you may have time to take prenatal yoga classes with other pregnant women. Not everyone will have the chance to do this and many opt for at-home yoga. However, if you can meet other women in a yoga class this can be highly beneficial for your pregnancy.
Again, pregnancy can be hard on both your body and mind. However, when you interact with other women who are going through the same struggles, you will feel more connected and healthy. In addition, it might be easier to stick with your pregnancy yoga routine with the help of some new friends!
Are There Any Precautions You Should Take & Final Thoughts?
Yoga is not inherently dangerous for pregnant women. But, you do want to take some precautions to keep your and you're baby safe. First off, talk with your doctor and make sure you're okay to do physical activity. Every woman’s pregnancy is different after all. So you want to hear what your doctor has to say.
Once you are cleared for yoga, try to listen to your body. It's good to push yourself, but you don’t want to overdo any physical activity. So, if you feel pain or excessive discomfort, don’t be afraid to take a step back and do some less intense yoga poses.
Thanks for coming by, we hope this post was helpful! See ya next time!