Pregnancy is a beautiful as well as challenging experience for women. I have had my fair share of tough pregnancy moments that only other mothers and mothers-to-be can relate to: swollen feet, insomnia, baby brain and back pains are just a few of them. As many pregnant women have now understood that fitness can ease common pregnancy complaints, yoga during pregnancy has become increasingly popular.
I have compiled 3 practical reasons that will also make you consider practising yoga during your pregnancy. I first looked into yoga for expecting mothers in my third trimester, not because it was cool or trendy, but because it was efficient. With the weight gain (I put on 20 kg in total), I became heavy and my body aches got worse. I had not done any yoga before at that point, but the poses seemed straight forward. So I took a leap of faith, and never looked back.
If you are on the look out for ways to reduce pregnancy related discomfort, then here are 3 very simple reasons why you should consider doing yoga during pregnancy.
1. Prenatal yoga can help you get on with your everyday life
Whether you are a working or stay-at-home expecting mother, you would agree that pregnancy does not waive your daily duties. In many cases, there are special arrangements made to ensure that your environment is as pregnant friendly as possible, such as providing you with a comfortable office chair, or buying extra pillows for your bed. But, in my experience, a pregnant woman is still expected to deliver/work on almost the same level as her pre-pregnancy self.
Including a 10 minutes yoga routine when you are pregnant can re-invigorate you, and enable you to get on with your daily tasks with as few common pregnancy complaints as possible. Towards the end of my pregnancy, I got most of my house chores done and ran errands after I did yoga because that’s when I felt energetic.
So, unless you have someone to do all your housework, or a lenient boss who would let you miss deadlines, or a medical condition that exempts you from doing any work, you know that it’s key to find a simple way to stay as fit as you possibly can during your pregnancy.
2. Yoga during pregnancy relieves tension/aches
We have now established that nothing else around you changes much, beside the little person growing inside of you. When you are pregnant, your posture adjusts to accommodate your baby, and the increase in hormones loosens your ligaments and joints. As a result, you experience aches in your muscles, back, hips, shoulders, and other parts of your body. Yet, you still need to do your daily tasks.
Doing yoga when you are pregnant is a great way to relieve some of those aches. It stretches your muscles and strengthens your body. Each pregnancy yoga pose targets specific parts of your body, and tackles distinct problems. The Cat-Cow or pelvic tilt, for example, helps relieve back pain . Yoga during pregnancy can therefore help you reduce problems with your joints, circulation, and muscles.
When I was pregnant, I had very tense muscles, and my existing back pain problems only got worse. The moment I found out that yoga could bring me comfort and energy, it became like my morning coffee. I could barely function without it.
If pregnancy related discomfort is something you want to ease, then practising yoga can help bring you some relief. You’ve got nothing to lose, so why not try it.
3. Yoga breathing technique is a preparation for labour and delivery
Most pregnant women dread contraction pains, and they are right because they are very painful! By taking yoga during your pregnancy, you can learn about deep breathing technique, which could be handy during labour. It would help keep you focus on your breathing rather than on the contraction pains. As a result of this, you will feel more in tune with your body, and save your energy to deliver (push out) your baby.
Deep breathing also helps you overlook the fear that can come with the labour/delivery process. If you achieve this, it will help you loosen up, and this is essential during delivery as tightening would make it harder. I had a natural birth without any pain relief, and the breathing technique I had learned and practised through yoga when I was pregnant definitely helped.
When can you start doing yoga?
You can start prenatal yoga from your first trimester, as long as you follow the safety guidelines provided by your teacher. It is advised to take a class or talk to a certified yoga teacher to learn about safe poses as this is essential when pregnant. Alternatively, you can find prenatal yoga DVD with guidelines, and you can speak to your midwife or doctor about some of the poses you’d like to try.
I started in my third trimester, and even though I never did yoga before, I chose to do it at home at my own convenience. I used video tutorials by the amazing Katy Appleton, and most of the poses she demonstrates were doable for me (see video below).
With all the major changes that expecting women go through, it is difficult for many to even think about adding a workout routine in their lives. However, doing yoga during pregnancy takes roughly 10 minutes per exercise, and it’s really about finding the comfort, energy, and strength that you need throughout your journey to motherhood. Yoga made the last stage of my pregnancy more bearable and ache-less at times, and I’m certain it can help you in a way or another.
Are you considering taking on yoga during your pregnancy? What motivates you/what holds you back? Have other mothers had positive (or maybe negative) experience with yoga exercises during pregnancy? I would love to hear your stories.