There are many celebrities who have made prenatal Yoga popular among pregnant women. Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Middleton are just two famous women who have indulged in prenatal Yoga.
However, it has become popular not just because famous people endorse it. Another reason for its popularity is due to the health benefits obtained for both the mother and unborn baby.
Overall Health Benefits
Yoga helps your body prepare itself for the demands of labor and motherhood. It also helps lower your risk of depression and anxiety, and helps you sleep better.
A 2012 study showed that pregnant women who practiced Yoga lowered their risk of suffering from any complications, compared to those who didn’t partake in Yoga exercise. The study also revealed that the women who did, were less likely to develop gestational diabetes, high blood pressure and low birth-weight babies.
Increases Circulation and Calms the Nervous System
Yoga is a healthy way, and an ideal way for any pregnant women to stay in shape. It enhances blood circulation and oxygenation, while stretching all the muscle groups. A benefit of increased circulation is that it will reduce any form of swelling and inflammation, common among pregnant women.
Plus, the mother’s immune system is strengthened, which in turn creates a healthy environment for both the mother and the growing fetus.
Yoga also helps calm the nervous system. The deep breathing exercises practiced in Yoga can help the nervous system go into a parasympathetic mode, which induces feelings of relaxation. Once the body is in a parasympathetic mode, the digestive system will function properly, quality sleep is easily obtained and the immune system will operate at its optimal level.
Yoga Prepares the Body For Labor
Prenatal Yoga introduces the woman to several breathing techniques that are beneficial for reducing and managing shortness of breath during pregnancy. These breathing techniques will prove to be helpful when working through the painful contractions of labor.
Research reveals that women who practiced prenatal Yoga experienced less pain during their labor compared to those who were not Yoga practitioners. One of the reasons for this is due to the fact that the women have been taught how to subdue pain and to be able to achieve spiritual and psychological comfort. They can more successfully cope with intense pain and high levels of stress during their labor.
Yoga Helps Provide Stress Relief
Stress, if left unabated, can negatively impact the health of the mother and the growing baby. Yoga teaches pregnant women to be more in touch with their baby as they perform several yogic postures. The breathing techniques taught during the Yoga sessions help pregnant women realize that they don’t have to react so quickly when experiencing discomfort or when faced with negative situations. This helps them develop patience and relaxes their mind.
Helps Ease Backache
As the baby grows and puts pressure on the spine, it is normal that many women experience some level of backache. Doing Yoga or daily stretching exercises can greatly reduce the discomfort.
For example, you can get on your hands and knees and do some cat stretches. This is where, once on your hands and knees, you tuck in your tailbone and neck, while rounding or arching your back.
Then arch the other way and look up to the sky, while allowing your back to sway and pushing your butt away from your body. This will help to ease lower back pain and increase circulation.
Pelvic tilts are another great exercise for reducing lower back pain. Also, try sleeping with a pillow between your legs while you are lying on your side.
Do not forget to consult your doctor first before enrolling in any Yoga class, and seek out an instructor who specializes in prenatal Yoga.