Yoga is not only a method of working out or meditation; it is also a way of ensuring that you tone your muscles during pregnancy. Yoga also teaches you how to breathe especially when it comes to labor.
Prenatal yoga classes are more popular than ever. When paired with a cardiovascular exercise such as walking, yoga can be an ideal way to stay in shape during your pregnancy. This age-old practice keeps you limber, tones your muscles, and improves your balance and circulation, with little, if any, impact on your joints.
Yoga is also beneficial because it helps you learn to breathe deeply and relax, which will come in handy as you face the physical demands of labor, birth, and motherhood. In fact, one of the first things you learn in a yoga class is how to breathe fully. The breathing technique known as ujjayi requires you to take in air slowly through your nose, filling your lungs, and exhale completely until your stomach compresses.
New research suggests some of the poses typically advised against in prenatal yoga classes may actually be perfectly safe for healthy moms-to-be. Women are traditionally told to avoid certain poses during pregnancy for the safety of mother and baby. For obvious reasons, inversions and prone postures (lying flat on the belly) like Locust or Bow Pose are not practiced as the womb grows bigger. But other poses, such as Downward-Facing Dog, Happy Baby Pose, and Corpse Pose, are also often advised against.
In a study just published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, Rachael Polis, M.D., a gynecologist in Louisville, Kentucky, and a team of researchers observed 25 healthy pregnant women in their third trimesters, who were guided through one-on-one yoga classes of 26 poses. The postures varied from standing poses to twists to stretches. While they avoided inversions to minimize risk of falling as well as prone poses, they did include Downward-Facing Dog, Happy Baby, and Corpse Pose.
Going into labor is not a joke. A woman needs all the energy in the world to be able to push. Yoga lows you to shift your body’s gravity and also reduce the pain you feel in your lower back.
Yoga for Labor
How Yoga Prepares You For Labor: Prenatal yoga addresses the physical challenges inherent to pregnancy, such as a shifted center of gravity and lower back pain. These moves will help alleviate aches and build strength in your legs, back and abdominals to prepare you for giving birth. Yoga also can ease labor and delivery, with moves that relax the hip muscles and use gravity to your advantage. Consider yoga a way to get physically stronger and emotionally healthier during pregnancy. Even if you’ve never done yoga before, the modified moves taught in prenatal yoga are both safe and beneficial to expectant moms. Plus, women with difficult pregnancies may find comfort in yoga’s gentle motions and breathing.
Fitness Buffs: You will find that yoga rivals any other workout in keeping the body toned and flexible, and can be done up to delivery.