All About Prenatal Yoga

When you’re expecting a child, whether it’s your first or your fourth, you are no doubt concerned about your health and your baby’s health during your pregnancy. It can be difficult to stay physically active and remain fit during pregnancy as changing hormones, energy levels, and weight make your normal fitness routines challenging, if not dangerous. Prenatal yoga is an increasingly popular choice for mothers-to-be, but what is it? More importantly, what are its benefits?

Typical Prenatal Yoga ClassPregnant lady practicing prenatal yoga pose

There is no standard regimen for prenatal yoga classes. However, the average class follows a rather predictable course. A class will start with breathing exercises to help focus your energy on breathing through your nose in a controlled manner. From there, the class will move to gentle stretching to help you maintain a full range of motion during pregnancy. The bulk of the class is often spent on postures. These are performed while standing, sitting, or lying on the ground, see here for more yoga poses.

During the postures portion, you’ll develop strength, flexibility, and balance. If you’re near the end of your pregnancy, discomfort is probably a part of your daily life by now. Fear not; you can use blankets, cushions, and belts for support and comfort during the class. The class will end with cool down time and relaxation that focuses on relaxing your muscles, and restoring your resting heart rate and breathing patterns.

Benefits for Mom and Baby

Each facet of a prenatal yoga class described above provides benefits to both you and your baby as you prepare for that bundle of joy to enter the world. Studies conducted by the Mayo Clinic have shown that prenatal yoga classes can help you improve sleep patterns, reduce stress and anxiety, and decrease lower back pain, nausea, headaches, and shortness of breath.

More importantly, prenatal yoga can help your body prepare for childbirth. The breathing, stretching, and posture sections of each class help you improve the strength, flexibility, and endurance of muscles you’ll use during labor. Additionally, you’ll be prepared to work through contractions during labor courtesy of the focused breathing exercises.

Prenatal yoga also has benefits for your baby. In addition to reducing the stress on their body during labor by preparing your body for labor, prenatal yoga has been shown to decrease the risk of preterm labor, hypertension, and intrauterine growth restriction.

For all of these reasons, and more, prenatal yoga has become increasingly popular around the world. It offers women a chance to remain fit during pregnancy, prepare for labor, and protect the health of their unborn child. Researchers at Mayo Clinic have found that not only is prenatal yoga good for your body, it is safe to participate in as well.


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