Prenatal Yoga

Posted by | November 29, 2017 | Exercise | No Comments
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When Should I Start Prenatal Yoga?

Prenatal yoga is not only an effective way to maintain your flexibility and provide your body with the health benefits of this form of exercise, but it can also help to prepare your body for the demands of labor and delivery.

The Benefits of Prenatal Yoga

The benefits of prenatal yoga are many, including:

  • Stress relief
  • Sleep improvement
  • An increase in overall body strength
  • Increases in flexibility and endurance
  • Improves balance
  • Improves circulation
  • Reduces blood pressure
  • Teaches you breathing techniques you can use during labor and delivery
  • Reduced symptoms from things such as nausea, back and hip pain, headaches, and other common complaints during pregnancy
  • Preparation for the physical stamina you will need during labor and delivery
  • Preparation for the physical stamina you will need for caring for your newborn

Before you start any new exercise program, however, it is important to check in with your healthcare provider and make sure that you receive proper instruction for prenatal yoga.

When Can I Start Prenatal Yoga?

Once you have discussed the best exercise program for you with your doctor and gotten the go-ahead for prenatal yoga, you can start in the first trimester. It is actually best to begin as soon as possible to gain the most long-lasting effects. If you do begin in the second trimester, be aware that your ligaments will be affected by the changes your body is undergoing and will be looser than usual. Your expanding abdomen will also be impacting your balance so care should be taken to practices moves slowly. Other important tips for practicing prenatal yoga include:

  • Drink plenty of water before and after your yoga session to remain hydrated.
  • Don’t demand more of your body than is safe – and listen to your body’s pain messages to know when to stop or adjust the position.
  • Especially after the first trimester, avoid poses where you are lying down on your back as this position reduces proper circulation.
  • Avoid poses that require you to lie down on your abdomen or be in an inverted position (with your legs over your head).
  • Consider using props as your pregnancy progresses to support your expanding abdomen.
  • Search for a yoga instructor who is experienced in leading prenatal yoga classes.

What Will I Learn to Do in Prenatal Yoga?

With proper prenatal yoga training you will be able to learn many poses and stretches that will benefit your body (and pregnancy) in many ways. Prenatal yoga encourages women to learn focused breathing techniques that can reduce tension and even prepare you for the breathing needed in labor and delivery. Your prenatal yoga routine will also include gentle stretching strategies and poses that can be supported with props such as pillows, blankets, and cushions that can ease the extra pressures of the second and third trimesters.

Taking a prenatal yoga class with other expecting mothers can also provide a healthy social outlet for you. You can build friendships with women who are experiencing some of the very same excitement (and fears) as you are. Being involved in a class can also provide you with the motivation that sometimes is harder to muster when exercising alone.

Image © Huffington Post

Dr. Gareth Forde

About Dr. Gareth Forde

An obstetrician-gynecologist, a clinical professor, a researcher, and a father of five—and he delivered them all! He speaks and publishes extensively on maternal and child health issues, where he emphasizes the role of a healthy maternal lifestyle, good nutrition, and breastfeeding on infant development. He chose the field of obstetrics because it is a celebration of life, a happy and exciting profession. “Children are a blessing and they bring joy and laughter to the world,” he says. “I cherish my work, as a doctor and a dad.” The study of genetic imprinting is a major focus of both Dr. Forde’s research and medical practice. This looks at what happens in the womb, how the genes a baby inherits are expressed (turned on and off), and how this influences the child’s health after birth. “This field holds great promise, shedding light on many unsolved mysteries in health and disease from infancy to adulthood,” he adds. Dr. Forde grew up in London, England and Orlando, Florida. He received his medical degree from the University of Minnesota Medical School and is currently pursuing a fellowship in gynecologic oncology at the University of California, Irvine. Prior to this, he practiced with Grand Rapids Medical Education Partners, a consortium of Saint Mary’s Health Care, Spectrum Health, Grand Valley State University, and Michigan State University College of Human Medicine—where he was a clinical professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive biology. He also has a master’s in molecular and cellular biology from Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University; a Ph.D. in environmental science (computational chemistry) from Jackson State University; and a post-doctoral fellowship in biophysics from Mount Sinai School of Medicine, in New York.”