Last Updated on 3 months by Isreal Olabanji DST RN
Yoga has a whole host of health benefits and can be used to treat everything from anxiety and depression to scoliosis.
Now, you may be able to add a variety of pregnancy-related issues to the many problems and ailments that yoga can treat. In this article, we take a look at why antenatal yoga should be a part of every pregnant woman’s prenatal care regimen.
What Is Yoga?
Let’s start with the basics. Yoga is a traditional practice that originates in Hinduism, which consists of physically-challenging poses known as asanas, breathing exercises, and a spiritual and mental component of self-control, mindfulness, meditation, and self-awareness.
The goal of yoga is to help take control of negative habits and perceptions, expand one’s awareness and consciousness, and improve one’s physical well-being. To that effect, yoga has great results for a variety of conditions, including obesity and heart disease.
Yoga also has great benefits for flexibility and is itself considered an excellent workout for anybody.
What Is Antenatal Yoga, And How Does It Differ From Regular Yoga?
Yoga poses are generally low-impact and are relatively safe to perform for most people.
However, pregnant women have special requirements compared to most people. They can’t stand up for too long or else they put a lot of pressure on their hips, which are already supporting their growing womb. They have a limited variety of positions for lying down to avoid reducing blood flow to the uterus. And of course, very pregnant women will have difficulty due to their larger bellies.
On top of these, pregnant women also experience elevated levels of a hormone known as relaxin, which is designed to relax the joints and cervix to help them stretch during childbirth. However, relaxin has a tendency to relax all joints, which can lead to injurious overstretching during activities like yoga.
Antenatal yoga, also known as prenatal yoga, is a variant of yoga that is specifically tailored towards pregnant women. Antenatal yoga focuses on the asana poses that relieve the pressure on joints that are worn out during pregnancy, and to help women relax during this stressful period. It includes very gentle stretching, cushions, and blankets to help provide support for your body, and breathing techniques that can help pregnancy stress and even reduce pain during labor.
The Benefits Of Having An Antenatal Morning Routine
1. It can help you sleep better.
The vast majority of women experience some form of insomnia during their pregnancy, especially after their second trimester. This is due to the general stress of carrying around that growing baby, as well as the massive biological changes that are happening and the anxiety that comes with them.
Yoga’s anxiolytic effects, as well as its flexibility-increasing and joint-healing poses, have the double action of reducing your mental stress, as well as the physical stress you experience as you go about your daily schedule. These can contribute greatly to reducing any insomnia that you might have.
2. It can improve your pregnancy health
Due to its wide variety of health benefits, regularly practicing it is associated with overall better health. And of course, a healthier mother will be able to better provide for the demanding uterus that is growing her baby.
In that regard, yoga can help improve your pregnancy, and research backs it up: A 2012 paper conducted a meta-analysis of six studies and concluded that women who performed yoga while pregnant had a better chance of delivering babies that weighed normally, and didn’t deliver too early.
3. It helps you build a bond with your baby
Pregnancy is yet another layer of stress in a life that may be getting increasingly hectic. Maybe you’re rushing to finish work before your maternity leave, or perhaps it’s just the anxiety of impending childbirth. Yoga allows you to relax and take the time and connect with the human within your belly, rather than thinking about the whole affair as a hurdle to get over.
4. It helps reduce the impact of childbirth
The mindfulness meditation, breathing exercises, and spiritual components of yoga all contribute to self-awareness, and later on to being able to relax and let go of earthly tethers.
While this might sound relatively abstract, it has a very real effect on one’s ability to relax during stressful situations. And a few situations in life are as painful and stressful as childbirth. Yoga will be able to help make labor and delivery less stressful, thanks to the release of tension.
It also helps work out the muscles that will be strained during childbirth, allowing them to better withstand the stress.
5. It reduces the general pains of pregnancy
Yoga can reduce shortness of breath, back pains, dizziness, balance issues, and a whole lot of other small but noticeable ailments during pregnancy. It’s a complete package of fixing the tiny but annoying stuff that can all add up and really ruin your day.
An integrated medical center for your antenatal yoga needs
At The Neighbourhood Clinic, we provide a person-centred general practice that combines evidence-based medicine with integrated therapy such as pilates, and traditional techniques such as yoga and massage. Our integrated medical center can provide for all of your needs in pregnancy, and help reduce the daily pain and stress you experience, leading up to overall healthier delivery.
Ready to start improving your pregnant life? Book an appointment with us now!
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