During pregnancy, staying physically active is essential for the expecting mother’s health and developing baby and preparing the body for childbirth. Pregnancy workout regimes need to be gentle and low-impact. Pregnancy yoga specifically caters to the physical and emotional changes occurring in the body during pregnancy by bringing both the body and the mind in perfect harmony.
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Why is pregnancy yoga better than other types of exercise?
Pregnancy yoga is not strenuous like other types of exercise. It is a gentle form of workout, precisely the need during pregnancy. Furthermore, pregnancy yoga addresses specific issues and body parts that need attention during pregnancy. It lays the foundation for easy childbirth.
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Pregnancy yoga for beginners
Pregnancy yoga is the safest form of exercise during the delicate phase of pregnancy. If you have never practised yoga before, you can still start it during your pregnancy, but it is crucial to discuss it with your doctor and yoga instructor before starting.
Most gynaecologists advise starting practising yoga from the second trimester of pregnancy. During the first trimester, you take utmost care during those miscarriages in the first three months of pregnancy. It does not mean that there is any evidence to suggest that yoga can cause a miscarriage. One can choose to do gentle stretching and breathing exercises during the first trimester under the guidance of your yoga instructor.
Avoid any yoga postures that might compress or squash the baby. Stop it immediately if you feel pain or discomfort doing any yoga posture.
Pregnancy yoga poses
Let’s look at some of the best pregnancy yoga poses:
- Cobbposess pose is a staple yoga pose for pregnant women. This posture helps stretch out the abductors (inner thighs). Focus on your breathing– take long, deep breaths and then let go. It will calm your mind.
- Cat/cow pose: This pose is especially beneficial for back pain. This pose stretches the spine while the belly hangs, which eases the tension. This posture also helps to optimise the baby’s position for an easy birth.
- Goddess pose: This wide-legged squat pose strengthens legs and pelvic muscles and opens the hips, all of which will help during childbirth.
- Balancing table pose: Position yourself comfortably on all fours. Now, stretch your right leg behind you while extending the left arm forward. Hold for 3-5 breaths. Repeat using alternate extremities. This pose strengthens the abdominal muscles, which play a crucial role during labour.
Pregnancy yoga classes
Pregnancy yoga classes are increasingly becoming popular and for a good reason! These classes are a great way to keep yourself motivated to work out and at the same time bond with other pregnant women and share and learn from each other’s experiences.
The prenatal yoga class begins with warm-up sessions. You will then learn breathing techniques to focus on breathing while taking deep inhalations and exhalations. These breathing techniques will be beneficial in reducing shortness of breath and aid during the process of labour.
You need to learn yoga postures to stretch and strengthen the back muscles, abdominal, thigh and pelvic muscles, which will increase your endurance during childbirth and relieve you from the different aches and pains during pregnancy. Most pregnancy yoga classes are equipped with ample cushions, soft rolls, support belts, etc., to help with the yoga poses.
Finally, the class will end with relaxation and meditation manoeuvres that will ease your mind, relax your nerves and help you unwind!
Pregnancy yoga will also help you get back in shape after childbirth.
Benefits of pregnancy yoga
Studies have established the positive effects of prenatal yoga on pregnant women. Yoga makes your body more flexible and robust during pregnancy, helping you with the aches and pains and increasing your endurance to help during labour and childbirth.
Recently, researchers have shown that prenatal yoga can limit the adverse effects of pre-eclampsia on the hearts of unborn babies.
Listed below are some benefits of pregnancy yoga:
- Yoga postures help support your changing body, specifically the lower body, to keep your growing belly.
- Prenatal yoga tones the pelvic, abdominal, hip and thigh muscles and strengthens the spine muscles to minimise back pain and increase flexibility to help with childbirth.
- Prenatal yoga improves sleep, helps with nausea, eases shortness of breath, etc.
- The yogic methods of deep, mindful breathing that you learn during pregnancy yoga classes help you relax and loosen up during labour and delivery.
- The yoga classes also double up as support groups to bond with other pregnant women undergoing the same physical and emotional changes.
A proper workout plan for pregnancy yoga
Before starting a workout plan, the first thing you need to do is get your doctor’s approval. You might not be a suitable candidate for prenatal yoga if you suffer from certain medical conditions like high blood pressure, back problems, etc.
Customise your yoga workout. Ideally, 30 minutes of physical activity at least five days a week is recommended for pregnant women. Still, even shorter and fewer workout plans are helpful, so do it only as much as your body can comfortably endure.
Trimester wise plan:
With the advancement of pregnancy, the workouts should get less intense.
- First trimester: One may expect morning sickness and fatigue during the first trimester, so you would want to do only gentle yoga poses. Breathing exercises will be beneficial.
- Second trimester: Avoid belly poses and sharp movements and twists during this period.
- Third trimester: Your balance may be off-centred in the third trimester. Because of increasing belly size, Yoga poses should focus on hip opening during this time. Avoid lying on the back. Take the support of cushions and rolls for safety and comfort.
Pregnancy yoga is excellent for your body, mind and spirit. According to experts, prenatal yoga can help solve breathing problems, ease back pain or sciatica and improve sleep quality and self-confidence. Yoga is a great way to avoid possible aches during pregnancy, and it involves deep breathing techniques for calming the body down, which are extremely helpful in this period. It improves cardiovascular health during pregnancy. Practising yoga postures regularly optimise the baby’s position, increasing the chances of standard and uncomplicated delivery. Women who perform regular yoga during pregnancy find it easier to get back in shape post-childbirth as their bodies become more toned and flexible.
Walking, swimming, and stationary cycling are other light exercises considered excellent and safe during pregnancy.
Enrol in the best pregnancy yoga class near you and enjoy this beautiful journey towards motherhood!
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