Yoga During Pregnancy - The Benefits
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Yoga is beneficial for everyone, but yoga during pregnancy is especially important. Women experience great hormonal, biological and anatomical changes during pregnancy that may cause extreme discomfort. They may also feel trapped, insecure and unsure of the outcome of the pregnancy. All of this may cause significant physical and emotional distress.
However, practicing yoga during pregnancy with proper modifications and approval from their health care professional, can help women find much needed relief, not only through reducing stress and instilling calmness, but also in helping to strengthen the body, releasing tension in the hips in preparation for birth, and increasing oxygen and energy. Yoga can increase confidence levels and stimulate the intuitive instincts. These components allow for a smooth, uncomplicated delivery.
techniques will help mother and fetus receive more oxygen. It relaxes the mother during labor and helps her focus and regulate her breathing when labor pains and contractions begin.
Yoga during pregnancy helps decrease the tension of the muscles and joints and improves blood circulation and the lymph fluids. Yoga increases the power, flexibility and elasticity of all muscles and improves posture, which relieves pain in the lower back and knees (a common problem in pregnancy). It reduces blood pressure and benefits the central nervous and endocrine systems.
Stamina increases through regular practice which helps during labor, and continuing yoga after delivery will help bring back the strength and tightness of the core muscles of the stomach and back.
Many health studies have been conducted from the 1920's to the present, reaching the decision that yoga:
- Increases blood flow and massages the muscles and the internal organs;
- Reverses the negative effects of the gravitational forces applied on the internal organs;
- Balances the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems;
- Increases the nutritional substances in the tissues;
- Increases endorphins in the brain (cerebral chemicals, serotonin);
- During meditation,
the presence of Alpha and Theta waves increase in the brain, which are responsible for creating a state of calmness and equilibrium.
After the baby is born, even if delivery was uncomplicated, a woman may experience difficulty in many areas. She may be unable to adjust to the many demands that are now placed on her in addition to the decrease of hormones that were once coursing through her body. She may experience exhaustion and fatigue and feel many new aches and pains. Her life is now changed forever and the new obligations may seem insurmountable. Depression occurs frequently in new mothers and sometimes leads to catastrophic results if not attended to.
A daily yoga practice - asana, pranayama and meditation, is highly recommended for post-natal recovery. Yoga will relieve symptoms of fatigue and tiredness and increases positive energy flow. In addition, it massages and tightens the internal organs, mainly the womb, which has undergone great changes during pregnancy, and restores elasticity and strength of the abdominals.
Yoga stimulates the pituitary glands which regulate prolactin, helping with the production of milk for breast feeding mothers. It strengthens the back that has been strained from pressure and weight gain and restores and strengthens the pelvic area, hips and bones.
Yoga strengthens, stretches and relieves pressure in the upper body, neck and shoulders due to the weight of carrying the new baby and helps restore proper posture and a healthy spine.
Pranayama breathing techniques will help increase oxygen and energy levels in the body and promote a feeling of relaxation and much needed rejuvenation.
Meditation can help to center and quiet the mind and restore a sense of balance, leading to a greater capacity to handle the demands of motherhood.
Yoga during pregnancy will help with the changes that occur physically and emotionally. Afterward, it will help with the transition needed for greater enjoyment and appreciation of the most incredible occurrence of all, the miracle of life!
YOGA DURING PREGNANCY - ASANAS THAT ARE SAFE
Provided that you have the approval and permission of your health care practitioner, try adding the following yoga asanas to your daily routine. Where there is a diagram showing an asana using the right leg, be sure to do the same on the left, as well as alternating twisting movements. Hold the postures as long as comfortable and breathe deeply through all the moves.
After you perform your asanas, include a
period and then rest in Savasana, the complete relaxation pose, shown in the sketch below. Lying on your back is not recommended during the later stages of pregnancy. If you are five months pregnant or beyond, once the baby starts getting bigger, it is recommended that you lie on your left side with a comfortable pillow under your head and between your knees for a more restful Savasana.
Special Considerations for Pregnancy
Click on the following link pages to read important information on how to have a safe, healthy and stress-free pregnancy.
Caffeine and Pregnancy Page
Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy
Healthy Pregnancy Diet
Earliest Possible Signs of Pregnancy - Helpful Hints
First Month Pregnancy Symptoms - Getting Relief
More Natural Remedies for Common Pregnancy Ailments
Here's where you get information and give advice on pregnancy issues and yoga.
Pregnancy is a wonderful time, but can also be a time when you need to have a few questions answered or may have great advice for a fellow Yogini mom-to-be.
Contribute any stories you have about yoga and pregnancy, or ask for help along the way to future motherhood. And, upload pictures of the new baby when the bundle of joy arrives!
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