Why It’s So Good for Mamas to Practice Prenatal Yoga
Women’s bodies change so much during the process of growing new life. Labor is one of the most intense, challenging, and incredible experiences of women’s lives. One of the most helpful ways of preparing for delivery and motherhood is to explore every available tool, to be as ready as possible in body, mind, and spirit.
Prenatal Yoga helped my wife immensely during both of her pregnancies. The changing body and raging hormones didn’t seem quite as intense for her as it can be for many women. Here are some of the benefits that she experienced from practicing prenatal yoga.
Less Back Pain
Yoga strengthens the muscles that support the lower back. This means less pain from the added weight of the growing baby. It can also help to relieve sciatica and pinched nerves.
Prenatal Yoga classes usually include poses specifically designed to open the pelvis and prepare it for labor, such as squats and hip-openers. This stretching and toning of the pelvis makes delivery a lot easier and can reduce labor pain. And the Yoga work that strengthens the pelvic floor in the last two trimesters can help prevent or reduce complications such as constipation, incontinence, or a sagging uterus.
Perhaps most important, yoga teaches how to breathe deeply and fully. Making a habit of breathing deeply before delivery will make it so much easier to breathe deeply during labor, which helps with managing the pain and stress of the process. And deep breathing will still be valuable later when you are tested by your toddlers.
A New Relationship to Gravity
Pregnancy changes the center of gravity, making balance more challenging. Balance poses in yoga classes helps to adapt this changing center of gravity and maintain the physical and emotional equilibrium.
Healthy Momma, Healthy Baby
Practicing yoga during pregnancy supports the immune systems of mother and child. It can also help prevent complications, such as pregnancy-related diabetes, pregnancy-induced hypertension, going into labor too early, and low birth weight.
It’s All Going to Be Okay
Many moms-to-be grapple with fear and anxiety. Yoga relaxes your nervous systems and gets out of mental thinking loops of worry and doubt. It also calms the body’s “flight-or-fight” response, resulting in reduced production of stress hormones and lower blood pressure levels.
The Gift of Presence
Yoga teaches to be more fully engaged in the moment. Paying attention to this present moment makes more aware of and connected to everything. When pregnant, this can mean a deeper sense of connection to your baby. The ability to drop into the moment and really feel what is happening in your growing belly can help strengthen the bond with your baby. As a momma, deep presence will serve you in countless ways as you watch and shape your child’s development. Each woman has unique needs during her pregnancy. But for most, prenatal yoga can be a fantastic tool during the pregnancy and birthing process. It can help to have an easier delivery. It also can help to navigate the physical and psychological transition to motherhood with more grace.
By Ron McDiarmid
Ron McDiarmid, the founder of My Healthy Living Coach. Having had health challenges along the way Ron was keen to share the research and learning he gathered. Through MHLC this continued into a current presentation of healthy lifestyle choices and how to implement them. Check out his website at www.myhealthylivingcoach.com.