Pregnancy and the associated exhaustion and weight gain can be a difficult thought to stomach for people who are concerned with staying healthy and fit. If this sounds like you, prenatal yoga may be a perfect fit to keep your health on track during your pregnancy.
Prenatal yoga can help calm or relax you, keep you fit, and is even designed to assist your body with the changes it’s going through, as well as labor.
Research shows that some benefits to prenatal yoga are:
- Improve sleep
- Reduce anxiety and stress
- Increase strength, endurance and flexibility for childbirth muscles
- Decrease pain in the lower back
- Decrease nausea
- Decrease headaches
- Decrease shorntness of breath
- Decrease the risk of preterm labor
- Teach focused breathing
Prenatal yoga encourages stretching, focused breathing, and relaxation.
Some popular prenatal yoga programs have different stages to accommodate you through the various stages of pregnancy, even post-birth, to help you get your body back to pre-baby normalcy. In these programs, the first trimester is focused on becoming well adjusted to the changes in your body. The second trimester is dedicated to moving more, and settling into the pregnancy. The third trimester focuses on keeping your body strong, and staying active; post-birth classes are for a gentle transition back to full strength.
Experts recommend pairing prenatal yoga with cardiovascular excercise, such as walking, to see optimal results in your mission to stay fit while pregnant. Some of the best poses recommended for pregnancy are:
- Cobbler’s or Tailor’s pose (baddha konasana)
- Pelvic tilt or Cat-Cow
- Side-lying position
- Warrior 1 (virabhadreasana 1)
- Warrior 2 (virabhadrasana 2)
- Tree (vrksasana)
- Downward Facing Dog (adho mukha vrksanasana)
Your instructor may have his or her own variation to these poses to best suit your changing body.
Lastly, you may need to take special precautions to cater to your pregnant body during yoga. Movements that require you to lie on your back for more than a few minutes (especially in the second or third trimester) can cause dizziness, or shortness of breath by allowing too much pressure to be put on the vein that returns blood to the heart (inferior vena cava). Headstands and shoulder stands are not recommended for pregnant women, and any pose that stretches the abdominal muscles too much is not either. It is also recommended that pregnant women avoid hot yoga classes.
Another way to help your body post-birth is through breastfeeding. Breastfeeding promotes the release of oxytocin, which helps shrink your uterus back to size. Breastfeeding and breast pumping are also great ways to ensure your baby’s health and nutritional needs are met.
Most health insurance companies are now covering breast pumps under the Affordable Care Act and Aeroflow Breastpumps can help you easily find out if your policy includes coverage of a breast pump. Simply complete our Qualify Through Insurance form and one of our Breastpump Specialists will work to verify your insurance and will contact you within 3-5 business days to discuss your coverage and breast pump options. We also offer patient-pay pricing for breast pump as well as additional breastfeeding supplies and accessories through our online store, Aeroflow Mom & Baby.
Prenatal yoga paired with breastfeeding are great ways to maintain your healthy lifestyle both during and after pregnancy.