Prenatal Yoga for Mamas in the Making

Heart health
Wellbeing Tips
September 28, 2018

Want to keep fit during your pregnancy? Prenatal yoga could have a wide variety of health benefits. Get the scoop.

In this always-on world, prenatal yoga can be a wonderful way for moms-to-be to stay in shape, slow down, and spend some quality time with their babies. Learn more about what prenatal yoga could do for you, and check out some of the best prenatal yoga poses that can help you get through the next nine months!

What’s the difference between yoga and prenatal yoga?

If you’re a yoga devotee, you probably won’t find prenatal yoga too difficult to handle. It’s a little bit less strenuous than regular yoga, involves more props, and features a restricted choice of poses. It also doesn’t require you to perform in hot and humid conditions, as this can cause complications for pregnant women.

Prep for labor

According to some, prenatal yoga is a great way to prepare for labor. The mastery of breath control can calm the nervous system and keep you focused during childbirth, while the mental benefits of yoga may make you feel more physically prepared. It’s also a great way to meet others, so for moms-to-be who want to connect with other like-minded women, it can be a fun way to spend an afternoon.

Relieves common pregnancy complaints

Prenatal yoga may give you relief from some of the more common discomforts associated with pregnancy, including carpal tunnel syndrome, nausea, lower back pain, and headaches. Giving you a physical and mental workout, prenatal yoga can be a great way to deal with day-to-day aches and pains. Plus, yoga helps to increase blood circulation, enhancing immunity and decreasing swelling.

Reduces physical pain and increases strength

Studies indicate that prenatal yoga can help to reduce physical pain, including pain in pelvic areas, while also improving the pain and pleasure that pregnant women experience upon delivery. In addition, yoga may be an effective way of increasing strength and flexibility. Not only can this make your pregnancy a little more comfortable, but it can make you more prepared to face the actual birth process.

Decreases your stress levels

Mental conditioning is one of yoga’s key benefits. Numerous studies have demonstrated links between prenatal yoga and reduced stress levels, with recent research indicating that prenatal yoga classes can help to reduce anxiety and levels of stress hormones. In fact, this study showed that just one yoga session reduced anxiety by one-third and decreased stress hormone levels by as much as 14%. And that’s not all! A couple of other studies have shown that prenatal yoga may be helpful for women with depression.

Is prenatal yoga safe?

Good news! Prenatal yoga is generally considered to be safe for pregnant women. Research on prenatal yoga has only really begun over the last couple of years, but studies have shown a vast number of potential benefits. In a 2015 study, pregnant women were asked to perform 26 different poses while their vital signs and fetal heart rates were monitored. No negative effects were recorded, and none of the participants reported any contractions or changes to their baby’s movements.

Of course, there are some caveats that pregnant women should be aware of. ACOG recommends that pregnant women avoid “hot yoga,” and also suggests that women with conditions like preeclampsia or certain types of lung and heart diseases should avoid exercise, full stop. Just be sure to take precautions and read up on the prenatal yoga poses that are safe for expectant moms. Remember, it’s important to check with your doctor before you embark on a new form of exercise, especially during pregnancy.

5 prenatal yoga poses to try

Considering prenatal yoga? Here are some of the best prenatal yoga poses to practice for moms-to-be:

  • Ankle-to-knee pose. If you’re preparing for labor, the ankle-to-knee pose is a fantastic hip-opener.
  • Child’s pose. Taking the pressure off your belly, the child’s pose is great for the hips and lower back. If you’re already a yoga enthusiast, you’ll know that this pose often serves as a bit of a break in the middle of the session, making it ideal for prenatal yoga.
  • Cat pose. Helping to shift the weight of your baby away from the spine, the cat pose is a great way to give your back a bit of time off. Given that back pains are so common during pregnancy, this is one of the crucial prenatal yoga poses to try.
  • Bound-angle pose. Another awesome hip-opener, the bound-angle pose is a great choice for those who are prepping for labor.
  • Extended triangle pose. Working the legs, opening up the shoulders, and energizing the hips, an extended triangle pose is a great way to improve your sense of balance.

For any mamas in waiting, prenatal yoga could be a great workout, promising a wide range of physical and mental benefits.