Multiple buzzwords and fads have emerged and faded away in the pregnancy sphere but one fitness trend that seems to have stayed and grown overtime is “Prenatal Yoga”. With the growth of popularity of Yoga as a series of meditative stretches or a fitness regime, it was only fitting to use the know-how of ancient India to help women have a relaxed pregnancy.
Prenatal Yoga has been designed specifically for pregnant women and includes a succession of stretches, controlled breaths and mental focus. It can be practiced by all pregnant women regardless of their due date. Prenatal Yoga been proven to offer an array of benefits and ease the otherwise painful nine months. A few celebs who swear by its effectiveness include Gwyneth Paltrow, Miranda Kerr, Drew Barrymore, Jessica Alba and Lara Dutta.
The extensive benefits prenatal Yoga has to offer include:
Relief from physical pain
Women practicing prenatal Yoga have been proven to experience lesser pain in the lower back which is a hard-hit area during pregnancy. The continuous stretching of muscles keeps them active and makes them stronger to carry extra weight. The multiple Yoga poses also help in strengthening the arms, stomach and shoulders and overtime, increasing stamina levels.
Better connect with your body
As the stages of your pregnancy progress, the different ways in which your body reacts to the different asanas (postures) will help you understand the changes your body is going through. This helps you accept and embrace the changes which aren’t always desirable like stretch marks and weight gain, better. Most women also believe it is a great way to connect to your baby as well.
Strengthening your pelvic floor
The pelvic floor includes a hammock of muscles which form the bowl of the pelvis and these muscles support vital reproductive and digestive functions. Pregnancy along with inactivity and aging can weaken these muscles which can result in constant bladder emptying, painful intercourse, prolapse of the bladder or rectum, stool incontinence and incomplete bowels coupled with constipation. To reverse these effects, most Yoga stretches open up these muscles and help in recovering from the pressure faced during normal deliveries and stitches.
Helps in finding balance
During pregnancy, it is known for hormones to go berserk coupled with a weight gain can cause an imbalance in moods and the body. During this time, your body is also drained out of progesterone and oestrogen, thus, making you cranky and more susceptible to mood swings and anxiety. But, practicing Yoga stretches on a regular basis helps you find the lost balance again and stabilise any imbalances caused in your body.
Lesser labour pain
A lot of women who have had more than one pregnancy have reported their subsequent ones to be less painful and owed it to prenatal Yoga. According to science, the restorative stretches help in opening up your pelvic area and making those muscles healthier and more tenacious which lowers the pain during childbirth tremendously.
“When we’re afraid, we tighten up and tightening leads to what is called a “fear-tension-pain cycle.”
– W. B., Yoga Instructor
The best poses to practice during your pregnancy are:
Bound angle pose (Baddha Koansana)
Easy pose (Sukhasana)
Lotus pose (Padmasan)
Warrior II pose (Vidharbasana II)
Dead pose (Shavasan)
Garland pose (Malasana)
Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
While prenatal Yoga has multiple benefits, there are a few precautions one should take along with a few things to keep in mind before starting it:
Consult a doctor: It is advisable to consult a doctor before starting prenatal Yoga if you haven’t engaged in any form of continuous exercise before. It is necessary to figure out your BMI and other body compositions before getting into prenatal Yoga to prevent yourself from any kind of harm.
Always start training with a professional: It is a new form of exercise for most women which is why it is preferred that you begin this journey with a trained professional. S/he will definitely be able to guide you better through the breathing sequences and stretches and extract maximum benefits. The risks associated with not seeking help from a professional include unnecessary strain on muscles and wrong breathing sequences
It is better to give it a miss during your first trimester: Most women, in their first trimester, are coping with the drastic bodily and hormonal changes. This drains them emotionally and physically which is why it is recommended to start prenatal Yoga only once the first three months are over and your body is craving movement.
“We tend to recommend women don’t come to even a prenatal class until their pregnancy is well established, just to be on the safe side because it’s such a delicate phase of pregnancy. Most women, in my experience, feel so exhausted and nauseous in the first trimester that they don’t even think of getting to a yoga class.”
– Ana Davis, Babybliss Yoga
Prenatal Yoga isn’t a fad that will phase out with time. The benefits Yoga has to offer have been etched in time and this branch with its pervasive benefits is here to stay. Thus, practicing Yoga daily will not only make your pregnancy less painful but will also strengthen your body and ensure good health for your little one.
Written byNiharika Nandi
Niharika Nandi is a media trainee who loves exploring the fields of photography and baking simultaneously. She’s a self-proclaimed professional bathroom singer and believes that caffeine runs through her veins. This adrenaline junkie loves to pen down a million thoughts gushing through her mind at any instant and is very vocal about LGBTQ rights.