Did you know that performing yoga during your pregnancy not only is great exercise, but can help prepare you for childbirth? Yoga involves the use of stretching, mindfulness (focus and concentration), and focused controlled breathing. Research suggests that prenatal yoga is safe for pregnant women and their babies.
Prenatal yoga benefits:
Improve sleep cycle
Increase the strength, flexibility and endurance of muscles
Decrease pain levels
How does this prepare me for childbirth? By teaching your body and mind how to relax you can learn the techniques needed during childbirth to move your baby down the birth canal and alleviate pain. Also, learning how to relax your body during uterine contractions will help relax your pelvic floor and decrease risk of vaginal tearing. During the pushing stage of labor, having strong pelvic floor muscles will help you push your baby out.
The static postures that you hold with some yoga positions will help build strength and stamina in your muscles which will provide support for your changing body throughout your pregnancy. After your baby is born, you will be more likely to bounce back and avoid pain if your body has strength and flexibility in all the right places.
There may be some positions with yoga that may not be appropriate for you during pregnancy so make sure you look for a pregnancy yoga class. If an exercise in yoga causes any discomfort to you, it may be best to hold off or find an alternate option. Listen to your body. Also, speak with your health provider to make sure you are safe to exercise during your pregnancy.