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.
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