Prenatal yoga is specially designed to help you prepare for labor and promote the baby’s health inside the womb. But when should you switch to prenatal yoga from normal yoga? This article will help you answer this question.
Yoga is a form of exercise which connects your body and mind by doing various asanas and through breathing. It has immense health benefits like improving strength, flexibility, and toning up your body, which all contribute to a healthier lifestyle.
However, your approach, as an expecting mother, towards yoga might differ. I often hear people asking questions about when to switch to prenatal yoga? Prenatal yoga is specially designed for pregnant women. If you are expecting, the you should not do hot yoga or strenuous yoga postures.
For instance, if I talk about the Bikram form in hot yoga, is usually done in pre-heated room, at 40 degrees Celsius with humidity of 40 percent, which is harmful to the health of a pregnant lady.
Practicing hot yoga can increase the temperature of a pregnant lady and the baby. This can cause harm to the baby and cause hyperthermia.
So, if you are pregnant and looking for ways to relax and stay fit, then prenatal yoga is the best option for you. Prenatal yoga exercises will also help you prepare for labor and promote the baby’s health inside the womb.
What Is Prenatal Yoga?
Prenatal yoga exercises are specially designed for pregnant ladies. These yoga exercises mainly focus on gentle stretching of your body and breathing, which helps your body to prepare for labor pain.
It gives you relief from various pregnancy discomforts like insomnia, stress, and headache. These exercises will help you to stay calm during the most important nine months of your journey. In short, I will say that prenatal yoga can support you in having a healthy pregnancy.
You might like to read: Can You Do Yoga Without An Instructor?
When Should You Start Prenatal Yoga?
You can start prenatal yoga in early weeks of your pregnancy. But if you are not feeling good because of morning sickness, you may begin your prenatal yoga in the second trimester.
Till When Can You Continue Prenatal Yoga?
Well, you can continue prenatal yoga till the time you feel like doing it. You just need to avoid such postures that compresses your belly.
Typically, by the third trimester, most would-be mothers find it difficult to walk upstairs or tie shoelaces, bend down, or turn in bed. This is because of an increase in their belly size and accompanies back ache or pain in legs. Consult a doctor before doing yoga, if you are feeling very uncomfortable.
What Are The Advantages Of Prenatal Yoga?
There are various advantages of prenatal yoga. Let me list them below.
#1. Good Form Of Exercise
Prenatal yoga and cardiovascular exercise like walking can help you stay in shape during nine months of pregnancy. These exercises will help you in toning your muscles and improve your blood circulation throughout your body. Consequently, the baby in the womb will get the required oxygen which is beneficial for the development of its body and mind.
#2. Helps In Relaxing Your Body
Pregnant ladies have been shown to have high levels of anxiety, which can lead to miscarriage or premature baby. Breathing exercises are also one form of prenatal yoga. An expecting mother can practice breathing exercises to relax her body and mind.
For instance, you can practice Ujjayi Breathing, in which you breathe in from your nose, keeping your mouth closed. As you breathe in, make a hissing sound from your throat and as you breathe out, put slight pressure on your throat and make an ocean-like sound. While breathing out imagine that you are fogging a mirror, but with your mouth closed.
You will indeed feel relaxed after practicing Ujjayi Pranayama for a few minutes. The best part about breathing exercises is that you can practice them anywhere and any place you want.
You might like to read: Can You Get Stretch Marks From Yoga?
#3. Lowers Blood pressure
Prenatal yoga helps in lowering the blood pressure of pregnant ladies. Yoga is the perfect form of exercise at this time because prenatal yoga does not elevate the heart rate too much and you don’t feel breathless. A study published in the Journal of Depression and Anxiety, found that expecting mothers, who practiced yoga each week for a total of 8 weeks, reported much lower levels of anxiety compared to the ones who didn’t do any yoga. Further, after one yoga session, nearly one-third of expecting mothers reported lower levels of anxiety and 14% had lower cortisol levels.
#4. Helps You In Childbirth
Breathing exercises or Pranayama prepare you for childbirth as they help you become calmer. This is very helpful while pushing your baby. Prenatal yoga also helps improve the flexibility and strength of your muscles which again helps at the time of delivery. Prenatal yoga goes a long way and also supports your body in recovering quickly after childbirth.
#5. Helps You In Finding A Community To Share Your Experience
Whenever you join a prenatal class, it enables you to meet other pregnant ladies who are going through the same body changes as you. By talking to those ladies, you may feel less stressed and relax, which will undoubtedly positively impact your body and mind.
What Should You Expect From a Prenatal Yoga Class?
The prenatal yoga class starts with the introduction session. Your yoga teacher will ask your name and would want to know about any aches in a particular area of the body. Many yoga studios will allow their students to chat with each other, which will help you mingle with other would-be mothers.
#2. Brief Relaxation
After the introduction, the yoga class begins with a short relaxation period, and the instructor tells you to focus inward, which will help you during labor.
You will be instructed to focus on your breathing, taking long deep breaths, which will help you to manage shortness of breath during contractions in labor pain. It also will help you in centering your mind and relieve stress in your mind and body.
You need to sit on your yoga mat and move your arms, neck, and other parts of your body, which will help stretch your muscles and prepare for the yoga asanas.
You might like to read: Can Bouncing On A Yoga Ball Break Your Water?
#5. Do Yoga Asanas
Few yoga asanas help the expecting mother to feel better. Her muscles will be more robust and toned than before. Some of the yoga asanas for pregnant ladies are as follows.
Practicing squatting every day will open the pelvis and will strengthen the muscles of your upper leg.
While doing Butterfly Pose, also called as ‘Baddha Konasana’ or ‘Titli Asana‘, you need first sit and the bending your legs from your knees, you need to bring your feet closer to your body. Hold your feet with your hands and move your knees up and down just like the wings of a butterfly.
This asana helps to relieve pain in the legs, a common problem amongst most expectant mothers. This pose also helps you to deliver your baby quickly when you are in labor.
Cow And Cat Pose
Also known as ‘Bitilasana Marjaryasana‘, this asana will help in maintain flexibility on your lower back and abdomen. To perform this, you would need to come on your fours, keeping your spine neutral, your hands under your shoulder and knees below the hips.
For the cat pose, exhale and extend your back outwards, rounding it like a cave, while looking down. For the cow pose, inhale and push your back inwards, in a crescent shape, and look ahead.
The prenatal yoga class ends with a lying down pose or Shavasana, where you need to lie down on your back, close your eyes, and focus on breathing. In the second trimester, the Shavasana will be slightly modified where you will lie on the back, but your upper body angle will be at 45 degrees.
You can put a bolster pillow on your back which will slightly raise your upper body.
For doing this pose in the third trimester, you would need to sleep on your side with the help of a bolster pillow for support while doing. You should stay in Shavasana for five to seven minutes, which will relax your body and mind.
How To Stay Safe In Prenatal Yoga Class?
- You need to drink plenty of water.
- You need to avoid exercises while lying on your back after the first trimester. This is because your baby will be in a growing stage, which may put pressure on the vena cava as a result of which, blood will not circulate on your body correctly, and you may feel dizzy or have nausea.
- You should avoid doing yoga in a hot environment. Exposure to excess heat can make you feel dizzy, and you may vomit.
- Avoid doing back bends or twists. It may cause you to slip and fall in your yoga class.
What To Watch Out For
If you observe any of the following symptoms while doing prenatal yoga, then you should stop right there and call a doctor immediately
- Calf pain
- Headache and dizziness
- Belly pain
- Water discharge from the vagina
- Breathing problem
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it ok to do yoga in early pregnancy?
It’s safe to practice yoga in early pregnancy. But you should avoid doing hot yoga in any trimester because it can affect your health adversely.
You need to remember that there will be significant changes in your body and mind in the first three months of pregnancy. So practicing yoga will help you both physically and mentally.
What is the difference between yoga and prenatal yoga?
Prenatal yoga is meant only for pregnant ladies. It does not involve strenuous exercises. Pregnant ladies need to use a pillow to support their bodies and do light exercises to tone their muscles. But in regular yoga, you can do strenuous exercise and any yoga asanas you want.
What yoga poses should I avoid when pregnant?
You need to avoid any yoga pose that puts pressure on your abdomen during pregnancy. For instance, you need to avoid back bends, abdominal twists and lying flat on your back, this is particularly important later in your pregnancy.
You might like to read: Why Do I Yawn During Yoga?
During pregnancy, a woman goes through a lot of changes, both physically and mentally. So, doing prenatal yoga will help her overcome anxiety and stress and help her remain calm during the nine months of this journey.
I hope this article has helped you in knowing about the benefits of doing prenatal yoga.