Pregnancy is one of life’s most joyful times and one in which practicing a healthy lifestyle is particularly important. The physical and emotional changes that accompany the nine-month journey, however, can bring stress that makes it difficult for expectant mothers to focus on wellness.
Practicing yoga during pregnancy can help moms-to-be relax while benefiting their health in a variety of ways. Here are six reasons to try prenatal yoga (with your obstetrician’s permission, of course):
- Preparing for the big day. When you do yoga, you focus on calm, even breathing, maintaining a sense of relaxation, and being present in the moment. These skills will come in handy during labor and may make for a more comfortable delivery experience.
- Promoting a more serene state of mind. Anxiety is common during pregnancy. Yoga can ease it by lowering levels of cortisol, the main hormone your body releases in response to stress.
- Building a more adaptable body. Doing yoga during pregnancy can strengthen muscles, increase stability during a time when balance may be an issue, and enhance flexibility.
- Breaking the grip of symptoms. Poor sleep, back pain, nausea, shortness of breath, headaches, carpal tunnel syndrome—these are the parts of pregnancy no expectant mother enjoys. Yoga has been shown to reduce all of them.
- Keeping mom and baby safe. Yoga can help keep mom’s blood pressure at a healthy level and reduce the chance of preterm birth.
- Making new friends. Taking a prenatal yoga class is a great way to connect with other moms-to-be, who may be a valuable source of support and information for you. Your children could even play together someday.
Practice Yoga During Pregnancy With Care
Some forms of yoga, such as hot yoga, are off-limits to pregnant women. Certain poses aren’t recommended for expectant mothers, although recent research indicates some positions are safer than once thought. Your physician and a certified prenatal yoga instructor can help you get the most out of yoga without pushing your body too far.