The Benefits of Prenatal Yoga
Whether you were an avid yogi prior to becoming pregnant or not, working on your downward dog while growing your baby provides multiple benefits for the both of you!
Yoga is not a one-size-fits-all workout. There are Yin classes, Vinyasa classes, heated classes, and meditation classes, just to name a few. There are the classes you leave feeling like you accomplished a marathon, and those that have you feeling relaxed and inspired. There are classes for first timers and beginners all the way to those who can stand on their head for 10 minutes at a time.
Prenatal yoga tends to be on the slow and gentle side of the yoga pendulum, but you can find experienced instructors who can give you a more challenging workout, if you are craving one. American Pregnancy states that prenatal yoga is good for overall wellness, but that it is also a form of exercise that also speaks specifically to pregnancy wellness.
The Benefits of Prenatal Yoga
The list of complaints that accompanies a pregnancy can get long. There is nausea and back pain, heartburn and insomnia, increased risk of depression and anxiety. While there are no guaranteed solutions to pregnancy ailments, there are ways to help lessen them. Prenatal yoga has been the topic of many research studies linking the exercise to overall pregnancy and labor wellness. The following are the most well-known and discussed benefits of prenatal yoga:
- Improved sleep
- Reduced stress
- Improved mental focus
- Increased strength, flexibility and endurance
- Decreased lower back pain
- Decreased nausea
- Decreased carpal tunnel syndrome
- Decreased headaches
- Reduced risk of preterm labor
- Lowered risk of intrauterine growth restriction (condition that slows the baby’s growth)
In addition to these benefits, studies have found there is a relationship between prenatal yoga and the reduction of hypertension-related complications, as well as, improvement of fetal outcome.
Science News reported that one study found that the practice of yoga while pregnant "can lessen physical pain, including in the lower back, a particularly hard-hit area of the body during pregnancy. Multiple studies have also shown that prenatal yoga may help alleviate mood disorders such as anxiety and depression. That’s an important finding, considering that close to a quarter of women may experience depression during pregnancy.”
As your body continues to grow, the movements and poses you will practice are doing more than you can imagine. The exercise is preparing the body for labor. While prenatal yoga is not a substitute for a birth education class, it does help the body and mind practice relaxation, strength exercises, and stretching.
Another benefit of attending prenatal yoga classes is that you are surrounded by other women at the same stage as life as you. It is a room full of potential friends. Finding mom friends is a tricky task that many women struggle with. Motherhood can be quite lonely, especially during the baby years. It tends to be a time when old friends dwindle and new friends are hard to click with, so take advantage of the yoga setting and schedule a few playdates for yourself.
The ‘me-time’ that you get from prenatal yoga is one of the greatest benefits. It is a time of quiet and self-reflection. It is a time to focus on yourself and your baby. The real life stressors are pushed away, and you are able to be present - bonding with the baby you are growing.