Published: 03/18/2016 - Updated: 03/01/2017
Author: MSc. Miriam Reyes
Hello everybody! Lately there seems to have been a baby boom, which is why I would like to talk about prenatal yoga and how yoga can help during this important period before birth. During pregnancy (from conception to childbirth) you can practice many different kinds of yoga, in fact there are many centres that already have specific classes for pregnant women. Even if your school does not have special classes, your teacher will most likely be able to indicate the changes that you can make in order to do each of the exercises, as well as point out any specific asanas which you should not do. In any case, always try to practice yoga with a specialist first and ask your gynaecologist before doing any exercise in order to avoid putting yourself in any discomfort.
Benefits of Yoga for Pregnancy
Practicing yoga postures and breathing during pregnancy brings many benefits, both physical and mental. Ideally, try to practice yoga at least twice a week to reap its benefits.
Asanas will help prevent and improve the discomforts of pregnancy such as backaches and legaches by strengthening the muscles that support the weight of the baby; the swelling of the feet, ankles and legs by stimulating blood circulation; the loss of balance by helping you to become more familiar with your new centre of gravity and so on.
In addition, yoga improves your breathing and this increased oxygenation will not only benefit you, but your baby will benefit too. Furthermore, breathing exercises will help you to relax and calm your mind (we are prone to fear and insecurity during this period).
It also goes without saying that it will serve you to keep fit during pregnancy so as not to gain more weight than is necessary.
Prenatal yoga adapts to changes in your body as your pregnancy progresses and various variations are made ??to the asanas in order for you to continue reaping all of their benefits.
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During the first quarter, yoga exercises should focus on breathing and relaxation techniques that will help you perform the asanas in other trimesters of pregnancy. In addition, postures should be soft and relaxed to avoid dizziness which can be typical in the first months of pregnancy.
In the second quarter, standing postures are recommended as they will help strengthen the legs and promote circulation. In some cases, standing poses against the wall and/or leaning on a chair to avoid possible loss of balance can be done. As your pregnancy progresses, positions where there is a risk that you could lose your balance are completely avoided in prenatal yoga.
During the third quarter, your practice will focus on your preparation for childbirth, both physically and mentally.
In addition, your monitors/teachers will constantly emphasise the importance of not overworking yourself. Pregnant women produce more relaxin, a hormone that increases flexibility and so it is important to know your limits and to stop in time before doing yourself or your baby any damage.
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Practising yoga during pregnancy not only means well being in those nine months, but also during and after the birth too. Keeping up a yoga routine will help you to have a faster recovery after childbirth and after about six weeks after the baby’s birth, unless your doctor tells you otherwise, you should be able to return to classes. During this period, focused exercises will strengthen the abdominal muscles and the pelvic floor.
As always, listen to your body: It will guide you and tell you how far you can go and remember that yoga is beneficial provided it is carried out under the supervision of a specialist and with the consent of your doctor.
Revised by: Dra. Loredana Lunadei on 03/01/2017
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