Yoga During Pregnancy

Author: Female For Life | 25 Mar 2012

Tagged: Pregnancy Fitness, Yoga Pants

Pre natal yoga is the perfect way to get your body prepared for childbirth and the months of minimal sleep and stress after birth, especially if its your first child.
Pre-natal yoga aims to teach you a series of gentle yoga poses that help in developing your breathing techniques which make childbirth easier and less stressful.
The poses are especially designed to take into account the increased flexibility, albeit increased tendency to injure that mum feels when she is pregnant.

How Yoga aids Breathing & Relaxation

The correct breathing techniques are widely known to alleviate the strain of labour. One only has to watch Hollywoods depiction of childbirth to know that labour can be stressful and the correct breathing is vital in keeping mum calm.

A key breathing technique used during pre natal yoga is that of Ujayi. In simple form Ujayi teaches breathing in through your nose slowly and deliberately, completely filling the lungs and belly, then slowly exhaling until the stomache compresses. Ujayi breathing is slow and deliberate and when mastered will help you feel calm and relaxed aiding the body to produce oxytocins, the hormone that aids birth.

What are the benefits of Pre-Natal yoga techniques?

• Increased level of blood circulation around the uterus
• More controlled movement of the diaphragm through breathing exercises.
• Boosting of your strength and confidence.
• Increased energy levels and decreased physical and emotional tiredness and stress
• Improved posture, stability and balance.
• Increased general health and optimism around the childbirth experience

Safeguards to Take During Pregnancy

The safeguards you take outside of the yoga room apply within the yoga room.
• Ensure you advise your yoga instructor is aware you are pregnant. Ensure that he/she has enough experience to adjust postures to suite your new changing body and if he/she does not, get a recommendation of where to go.
• Avoid any poses or movement that requires you to lie flat on your back as these can reduce blood flow to the uterus.
• Avoid poses that require extreme stretching of the stomach muscles as during pregnancy you are more prone to injury and muscle strain
Make sure you wear comfortable and appropriate yoga wear and / or maternity sportswear to make sure you are not pressing against your stomach.
• Be gentle and kind to your body, take things slowly, breathe, relax and enjoy the experience

1st Trimester – First 3 months
Pre natal yoga in the first trimester is fairly similar to most yoga classes. But be aware of the changes in your body. This is not a time to work on improving your yoga abilities, it is a time to relax, breathe and prepare yourself for the months ahead.
2nd Trimester – 3 – 6 months
The rush of hormones during pregnancy will have started to have an effect on your flexibility, balance and joints. Continue to be extremely watchful, getting regular guidance from your instructor and avoid any pose that makes you feel uncomfortable, or dizzy.
3rd Trimester – 6 months to Birth
All standing poses will require some external form of support – either a walk or chair. Begin to focus more on your breathing, your core and thinking positive and confident thoughts about pregnancy and childbirth.