Pregnant moms often worry about the effects of exercise on the fetus. And yes, strenuous workouts which include lifting heavy weights are a big no-no during those nine months! But it is also important to take care of the body during that time. Maintaining a healthy diet and regular low impact exercise sessions will ensure your well-being and it will also facilitate a trouble-free birth.
Yes, we know that the three trimesters can be an overwhelming time for you. Not only does the body change drastically within a short span of time, mood swings and weird cravings can actually make your life pretty difficult. At such a time, yoga sessions can help zap out these symptoms along with other pregnancy-related issues such as cramps, lower back pain, and dreadful morning sickness.
Health Benefits of Prenatal Yoga
Research has proven that yoga reduces stress levels significantly and also lowers the perception of pain. Although a popular and fashionable form of physical exercise now, yoga has existed for more than 5000 years, with its roots in ancient Indian philosophy.
There are quite a few yoga poses or asanas for expecting moms who want to ensure a healthier pregnancy. These asanas can help:
- alleviate morning sickness and stress associated with pregnancy,
- calm nerves and induce relaxation,
- fight fatigue,
- prepare the pelvic region for delivery,
- relax the area around the cervix to reduce the possibility of cramps, lower back pain, headaches,
- and facilitate faster weight loss post-delivery.
Here are a few yoga asanas which are safe to perform during pregnancy:
The Corpse Pose, or the Shavasana, is an extremely simple yoga pose to help alleviate morning sickness during the first trimester of pregnancy. It purges stress and induces physical relaxation by lowering blood pressure and muscle stiffness. You just have to lie down and relax and you don’t usually need any props for it!
How do you do it?
- Lie on your back on the yoga mat or on the bed with your arms placed at your side. Each should rest around 6 inches away from your body.
- Your palms should face upwards and legs should be comfortably apart from the body, with your toes facing sideways.
- Close your eyes.
- Focus on your breathing and concentrate on relaxing every part of your body, starting from your toes.
- Deep slowly and deeply. This will help you to get into a state of complete mental relaxation.
- Do this for 10-15 minutes, until your entire body is relaxed.
- Roll to one side slowly and open your eyes. Do not change the position for another minute.
During the first trimester of pregnancy, Shavasana can be performed as instructed. But in the second and third trimester, lying on your back can put excessive weight on your spine and compress important veins. Your yoga therapist will teach you how to modify this pose according to the changing needs of your body. It is advisable to lie on your side and place a pillow between your legs while performing this pose during the advanced stages of pregnancy.
The Badhakonasana or the Butterfly Pose promotes hip flexibility and strengthens the thigh and groin muscles. If you’re suffering from digestive problems, this pose is the one for you!
How do you do it?
- Sit on your yoga mat with your spine erect.
- Bend your knees and make sure the soles of your feet touch each other.
- Keep the heels of your feet as close to the pelvis bone but do not overdo it. Do this by pulling them with your hands.
- Straighten your spine and try moving or flapping your knees like the wings of a butterfly. Your knees should touch the floor each time.
- Maintain a steady speed, don’t go too fast! Focus on your breathing.
- Do this 10-15 times.
The Goddess Pose or Utkata Konasana reminds you that you’re a strong, confident, and gallant woman! Not only does this do wonders for your mood, it also strengthens the vaginal wall and enhances blood circulation which offers relief from swollen feet. The body relaxes and the heartbeat returns to a normal state. You are happy, your baby is happy!
How do you do it?
- Stand on your yoga mat and place your feet three feet apart.
- Your feet should face sideways.
- Bend your knees slowly, in a half-squat position.
- Join your palms in the middle of your chest.
- Hold the pose for 5 breaths.
Yoga workout is ideal for pregnant women as it can be tailored according to the different trimesters. With help of such relaxation techniques, the mother is better equipped to handle the baby’s needs post-delivery.
But, it is important to meet up with your Doctor Chiropractic before you decide to practice prenatal yoga. Also, some forms of yoga, such as hot yoga, are not recommended for pregnant woman. Ask a certified yoga therapist for the best yoga poses for each trimester for new moms-to-be instead!