Is prenatal yoga safe?

Xinalani Staff
by: Xinalani Staff
Is prenatal yoga safe?

Pregnancy is an amazing experience, but it can bring its share of aches and pains. Prenatal yoga can be an effective and enjoyable way to address symptoms like lower back pain and nausea.

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It may also improve your sleep, reduce stress and anxiety, and increase strength and flexibility during childbirth. The best part? With the right video, you won’t even need to leave the house.

Healthline gathered the year’s best prenatal yoga videos so you can enjoy all the benefits from the comfort of your own home.

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Prenatal Yoga includes sequences and yoga postures that especially and specifically benefit and strengthen women's bodies and minds in the transformative experience of pregnancy. Physical and nervine strength and mental and emotional stability are developed through the mindful practice of yoga postures. Breathing exercises and relaxation techniques are taught to help calm the nerves through the experience of pregnancy, birth, postpartum healing and beyond.

The Iyengar method of teaching includes demonstration with explanations of what to do in the postures, and individualized correction and adjustment. Supporting these postures with props (such as bolster, blankets, ropes, belts, blocks, wall) help with opening the hips and the relaxation of the groins (upper inner thighs) which allows the pelvis to have more space, and to facilitate an extension of the spine, which helps make space for the baby, and relieves discomfort and pain for the mother. Having support allows the pregnant mother to hold postures for longer periods of time allows for rest, more space for breathing, and for the experience of inner peace.

A few of the benefits of Prenatal Yoga are:

1) Get a good workout:

Exercise is great for you and your baby! Whether you’re a runner, spin cyclist, or yogi, keeping an active lifestyle can be more challenging when you’re pregnant. For starters, your tendons and ligaments become a lot more flexible during pregnancy due to the influx of relaxin in your body, and you’ll want to build muscular strength to prevent injuries from hyper-flexibility. Prenatal Yoga offers all of the benefits of maintaining your exercise routine (including helping to reduce stress, control weight, improve health and well-being, maintain a positive mood, boost energy, and get better sleep) while being safe for you and your baby. And if you’re not an exercise junkie—or have let your routine slip a little— now is a great time to start because the healthier you are and the better shape you’re in, the better it is for your baby!

2) Strengthen your abdominal pushing muscles and learn to relax your pelvic floor:

Another incredible benefit to Prenatal Yoga is that incorporated into the sequence are targeted exercises to help strengthen and improve flexibility in key muscle groups to prepare for labor and postpartum. Doing crunches and plank is neither very comfortable nor recommended when you’re pregnant, and Prenatal Yoga offers an excellent alternative to tone your transverse abs (the deepest abdominal muscle that wraps like a corset around the middle, which must be strengthened for pushing) in a safe manner. Additionally, Prenatal Yoga targets the key muscle group known as the pelvic floor.

3) Learn to deal with discomfort:

The therapeutic benefits of yoga are far-reaching. Prenatal Yoga can help prevent and address common issues such a lumbar lordosis (lower back pain), sacroiliac pain, sciatica and piriformis pain. The poses can also create space in the torso for better breathing and include movements that can help to alleviate carpal tunnel syndrome and charley horses, as well as demonstrate positions for better sleep. By working through discomfort with breathing techniques and developing mindfulness, you are able to alleviate discomfort. Furthermore, the practice of challenging yourself and building muscle strength builds your tolerance to pain. In Prenatal Yoga, the poses are designed to challenge (but not strain) your body.

4) Get baby in the optimal position:

Compared to the benefits of other forms of exercise, the really exceptional benefit of Prenatal Yoga is that poses like down dog, cat/cow, and puppy pose gently guide your baby’s head down, facing your spine, to the ideal position for birth. That’s right, the more cat/cows you do, the more you’re encouraging your baby’s head down toward optimal fetal position! Prenatal Yoga counteracts the long periods of laying back on your couch or sitting at a desk — which have the exact opposite effect and can encourage breech or posterior (sunny-side-up) babies and result in longer labor and sometimes lead to medical interventions.

5) Breathe:

Often, we don’t pay attention to our breath, which tends to be shallow as we go about our day to day activities. In yoga, we teach ourselves to focus on maintaining deep, full breathing. The benefit of the yogic breath is that we become aware of our diaphragm’s movements and begin to use our lungs to a greater extent, engaging their full capacity and allowing a larger intake of oxygen.

6) Bond with baby:

Recent studies have shown that the practice of mindfulness allows parents to recognize, appreciate, and connect with their babies. Embracing a few minutes of quiet time where the distractions of the day fade away allows you to focus attention inward on the baby, and can help you to zoom out, see the big picture, and be less bogged down by any day to day frustrations. It also allows you to notice changes in the growing baby and in your own body.

7) Build confidence:

When dealing with a growing belly, hormonal changes, back pain, swollen feet, and constantly having to pee, it’s easy to get frustrated with the constant physical changes in your body. You can also get rid of scars with scar removal experts in Miami. It’s important to remember that your body (even with all the discomfort you feel) is strong, healthy, and capable.

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