Why practice yoga during pregnancy?

Photo by Dexter Chatuluka on Unsplash

We’re often told that practicing yoga is a good idea during pregnancy, but I don’t think enough is said about why. There are so many good reasons! Here are a few…

To take some time to yourself before you give birth.

Actually I think this might be one of the most important! Because whether it’s your first baby or your tenth, that time alone is likely to disappear real quick once baby makes an appearance. Taking some time out to yourself, even if it’s just once a week, can give you a bit of space to reflect and reconnect before the craziness begins!

To strengthen

Pregnancy yoga is amazing for strengthening your body. When you are pregnant, you have more of a hormone called relaxin in your body, which naturally makes you more flexible and stretchy. But pregnancy yoga is about building the strength to support that stretchiness. What we focus on in classes is strengthening your lower body and pelvic floor especially, but many other areas of your body too. That’s going to stand you in great stead for labour if you have a vaginal birth, and for postnatal recovery. Having a baby (not just the giving birth bit) is very hard work and a strong body will really help you as you move forward with your new baby in your life.

To meet local mums

This is another brilliant reason to go to pregnancy yoga. It’s an affordable way to meet local mums who are likely to live nearby and be due at a similar time to you. When I was pregnant with Ray, I went to a class where two other mums were due within 3 days of him! We instantly clicked and shared so much from each other (especially the one who already had a little boy). Being pregnant can sometimes be really challenging and it’s so good to share with other people who understand.

To get to know your body as it changes

Sometimes the changes that your body goes through can feel quite overwhelming. There’s so much happening and so many hormones rushing around your body. Society’s view of pregnancy can be really disempowering and I remember feeling like my body didn’t belong to me anymore with all the unsolicited bump touching and ‘advice’. This can mean that pregnant people feel like they shouldn’t trust their own intuition. Yoga is a great way to reconnect to your body as it changes. In class we’ll concentrate on how it feels to be in a posture, and to start listening to your body again, as well as using positive affirmations to build confidence and love your new and changing body as it grows your baby.

What does the science say?

Well…there’s definitely a growing body of evidence that a yoga practice during pregnancy is a good idea, even if you haven’t done yoga before. If like me, you like to know that there’s good evidence, here are just a few snippets:

  • Lower incidences of conditions such as gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia
  • Reduction in lower back pain which is common in pregnancy
  • Lower perceived levels of pain during labour
  • Reduced stress and enhanced immune function

How do I start?

Come to a class! If you feel nervous because you haven’t done any yoga before, don’t be. You’ll always get a warm welcome and if there’s anything you’re concerned about before or after class I’m really happy to chat. If you have any questions before you book then just get in touch.

Photo by Arren Mills on Unsplash

Sources

Sandy Jain and Nikita Bhartiya, ‘Positive effects of antenatal yoga on pregnancy outcomes’: https://iog.org.in/index.php/iog/article/view/339/617

Jahdi et al, ‘Yoga during pregnancy: The effects on labor pain and delivery outcomes (A randomized controlled trial): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28438273

Chen et al, ‘Effects of prenatal yoga on women’s stress and immune function across pregnancy: A randomized controlled trial’: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28434463

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