Yoga has grown in popularity over the past few years and has been adopted in many parts of the western world as a result of the health benefits associated with the Hindu discipline. The convergence of psychological theories and western medicine with primal eastern practices such as mindfulness meditation and yoga is so prevalent that even pregnant women have been advised to partake of its health benefits. A study conducted at Brown University in 2015 indicates that yoga is the best alternative treatment for pregnant women who are suffering from bouts of depression. Pregnant women who are searching for a way to stay physically active while protecting the growing child in their wombs will do well to enrol in yoga classes.
What is yoga?
Yoga is a system of exercise that involves physical poses and breathing. This mindfulness technique has been proven to boost mind-body awareness, stimulate physical movement, and nurture the one’s acceptance of intimate experiences of thoughts, sensations, and emotions.
Why should pregnant women practice yoga?
Women are always at risks which are associated with reproductive-related healthiness, especially during their child-bearing years. This is as a result of the natural biological, hormonal transitions which are linked to menstruation, pregnancy, as well as the postpartum stage.
The pregnancy stage is the period that brings about massive physical and mental changes in women leading to the rise of a plethora of emotions – which range from excitement to anxiety and overwhelming joy – over what the future holds. Depression also sets in at times; this is why engaging in yoga classes can go a long way in stemming stress and anxiety.
Benefits of yoga for expectant mothers
The following are the benefits of yoga for pregnant women:
Yoga tones up your key muscle groups
Prenatal yoga firms up the muscle, especially the groups of muscles at the hips, pelvic floor, and at the abdominal core in a bid to get you ready for the birthing process. According to a Boston-based yoga teacher and co-author of a book titled ‘Yoga for a Healthy Lower Back: A Practical Guide to Developing Strength and Relieving Pain’ by the name Liz Owen, a muscle that is well-toned has the right balance between strength and length. Such toned groups of muscles are neither too tight nor too lax. According to the yoga teacher, building as well as maintaining toned up muscles during the pregnancy stage using yoga poses such as gentle backbends and lunges, help to reduce pains or aches leading to the end of the nine months. The postpartum stage is also crucial as it is vital for your body to regain its toned condition after the birth process.
Yoga prepares you for labour
The heart of yoga is breathing. During labour, it is essential for a pregnant woman to remain calm which is where slow and deep breathing following most asanas comes in. Breathing deeply firms up the diaphragm as well as core abdominal muscles by absorbing additional oxygen. Studies have also indicated that breathing proficiently aids worry-free delivery. Thus, in one sentence, yoga minimizes anxiety and stress.
According to the researchers at The Mayo Clinic, another benefit of yoga for pregnant women is improved sleep. Some pregnant women find it difficult to sleep at night and once this happens, could bring about serious health issues for them. With yoga, expectant mothers can utilize yoga to find relaxation via different poses. When such postures are modified to fit into everyday life, it brings about better comfort which is essential for sound sleep. Read about the health consequences of not having enough sleep.
Yoga helps pregnant women build endurance for childbirth
Nothing is more painful, yet more rewarding than the birthing process. Expectant mothers who practice yoga can build strength, endurance, and flexibility which are vital components when the time comes for giving birth. Thus, yoga is known to minimizes the perception of pain during childbirth while at the same time decreases physical discomfort during both the pregnancy period and labour.
Yoga gives you the chance to have a healthier pregnancy
A healthy mother is very likely to have a healthy baby, according to a study carried out in 2005 in India which was published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. The research revealed that pregnant women who practised yoga on a daily basis were less prone to giving birth to a low-weight infant or have preterm labour. The study comprised of 335 pregnant women; one group practised yoga religiously for one hour every day while the other group of expectant women just walked around for half an hour each day. The results revealed that the group of women who practised yoga not only carried their babies to full term but had babies with better birthweights compared to their counterparts in the other group.
Finally, pregnant women should always seek the consent of their gynaecologist before enrolling in yoga classes. Some pregnant women are at risk of premature childbirth and should not take part in any yoga exercise.
Since we are talking about pregnant women, why not check out this article about the necessary preparation a pregnant woman needs to welcome the arrival of her newborn.
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Shilva (2017, July 12). Is Yoga Good for Pregnant Women? Retrieved December 13, 2017, from the Web
Catz M. (2016, September 16). The Benefits of Prenatal Yoga During Pregnancy: Retrieved December 13, 2017, from the Web