Due to the fact that yoga is a proven method of relaxing and of finding a balance between body and spirit, it can bring benefits to pregnant women as well. In addition, prenatal yoga can also help women stay fit and prepare them for the experience of childbirth. If you are a pregnant woman and you still do not know if you should take up prenatal yoga classes, maybe the fact that this kind of yoga can promote the health of your future baby will make you come up with a decision. Even though there are some safety tips you should necessarily take into consideration when practicing this type of yoga, not only you but also your baby can take advantage of its benefits.
There are numerous studies which have demonstrated that prenatal yoga can improve sleep, increase flexibility, muscle endurance, and strength, plus reduce anxiety and stress. In addition, it looks like this type of yoga can also decrease pregnant symptoms like nausea, shortness of breath, lower back pains, headaches and the carpal tunnel syndrome. Moreover, by practicing prenatal yoga, the chances of intrauterine growth restriction, of preterm labor and of pregnancy induced hypertension can also drop significantly.
A typical class of prenatal yoga will focus on gentle stretching, breathing, relaxing, cooling down and learning advantageous postures. Usually, soon-to-be mothers that participate at this kind of classes are encouraged to center their attention on breathing techniques, such as breathing deeply and slowly through their nose. In turn, this prepares them for childbirth. Learning how to make deep sounds like grunting or humming is also part of such a class. This can also be a valuable lesson for when labor contractions will appear, as these breathing techniques can help during those moments.
As far as the stretching is concerned, prenatal yoga encourages pregnant women to try and gently move different parts of their bodies in full motion ranges. This will help in doing certain postures. While lying down, standing or sitting, women are stimulated to move their bodies into various positions meant to develop their balance, strength, and flexibility. For comfort and support, students can use props like belts, blankets, and cushions. At the end of every class, there is a relaxation moment meant to relax the muscles and also to restore the breathing rhythm and the heart rate. Students must learn how to listen to their own breathing and also to pay attention to their emotions, sensations, and thoughts. In order to reach a state of inner calm and of self-awareness, they can repeat a certain word to themselves or a special mantra.
While prenatal yoga is highly recommended as it can bring numerous advantages to pregnant women and to their future babies, not all types of yoga are suitable for pregnant women. Bikram yoga or hot yoga as it is also called should be avoided. Ashtanga yoga should also be avoided as it can be too energetic for women in special conditions or for inexperienced practitioners. Hatha yoga also called gentle yoga, or simple prenatal yoga represents the best choices.
However, even if prenatal yoga is a great choice for pregnant women, there are also some safety guidelines that must be followed while practicing it. First of all pregnant women should talk to their doctor previous to beginning such a program, in order to make sure that their health condition allows them to take part in such a class. Back problems, heart diseases or the high risk of developing preterm labor might restrict some to do prenatal yoga.
In addition, pregnant women must always set realistic goals. 30 minutes of prenatal yoga a day should be enough. Nonetheless, in certain cases even less time spent doing this can prepare women for labor and also help them stay in shape during the most difficult period of their life. Another rule that pregnant women must respect while doing yoga is to pace themselves. If you are doing this type of activity and cannot speak normally during your workout, it means that you are pushing too hard and that you should slow down for the sake of your health and of your baby. Staying hydrated and cool is also very important, as well as avoiding certain postures. The normal spine curvature should be maintained while doing poses. The bent must be done from the hips and not from the back. In addition, pregnant women should avoid staying on their back and belly, doing postures that pressure their abdomen, doing bendy poses or poses that require them to bend too much. In these cases, an instructor’s guidance is absolutely necessary.