Yoga is popular all over the world to achieve robust physical and mental health. Women who are already practicing Yoga and want to continue even during pregnancy or who want to start Yoga to reap its benefits can practice prenatal yoga or yoga for pregnant women. Prenatal Yoga helps the body prepare for birth and helps the woman connect with her baby spiritually.
Doctors recommend yoga for pregnant women as a good physical activity for expectant mothers. Prenatal Yoga includes several modifications to conventional yoga poses that help maintains good health throughout the pregnancy without adversely affecting the baby and the mother.
Some tips for women to correctly practice prenatal Yoga have been mentioned here.
Right Poses to Perform Yoga for Pregnant Women
Certain correct poses are making up yoga for pregnancy. Such poses do not put pressure on the fetus and do not cause back pain. Some or all these poses can be performed under an expert of yoga for pregnant women.
Tadasana prevents back pain by strengthening the spinal column.
Stand with your feet spaced apart as per the width of your hips. Rest your palms against your thighs. Now stretch your hands to perform namaskar mudra while keeping your spine erect. Take a deep breath and lift your hands above your head while inhaling. Tilt your head and stretch your spine as much as possible without putting excess pressure on your back. Inhale and exhale while keeping this pose for 10 seconds. Exhale and bring your body back to its original stance.
Uttanasana yoga for pregnancy is beneficial for the legs and back.
Stand erect with your feet spaced 3 inches apart. Rest your palms against your thighs. Inhale deeply while bringing your hands above your head with palms spread out. After that, bend forward while exhaling and bring your hands to the namaskar mudra. Breathe normally and maintain this pose for 10-15 seconds. Take a deep breath and revert to the original position.
Marjariasana is another good pose of yoga for pregnant women because it improves circulation and strengthens the back region. For this pose, go on all fours on the floor and keep your head straight. Lift your chin while taking a deep breath, and pull your head back at the same time. Maintain this pose for 30-90 seconds. After that, exhale and bring your chin close to your chest and hold this pose for 10 seconds before returning to the original position.
Other poses include Trikonasana, Vajrasana, Virbhadrasana, Konasana, Badhkonasana and Shavasana.
Precautions to Take for Performing Yoga During Pregnancy
It has been proved that yoga during pregnancy is safe for both the mother and the developing fetus. However, some precautions must be taken to avoid risks.
Yoga for pregnant women does not include many poses, and they must be avoided during the entire pregnancy period. These poses are Bhujangasana, Chakrasana, Naukasana, Halasana, Ardha Matsyendrasana and Viprit Shalabhasana. Yoga poses that exert pressure on the abdomen must be avoided during the advanced stages of pregnancy, and inversion poses must not be attempted during the pregnancy period.
A hormone called relaxin is released during pregnancy, which loosens the muscles, joints, and connective tissues, especially in the pelvic area. Even though your joints become much more flexible than normal, it is not advisable to overstretch or hyperextend your joints, and doing so can result in injury and instability. Excess pressure on pelvic and hip joints must be particularly avoided.
Trimesters also have a significant effect on yoga for pregnant women. Certain yoga poses are particularly suited for specific trimesters. Tadasana, Marjariasana, Uttanasana and Shavasana are suitable for 1st trimester. For the 2nd trimester, Vajrasana, Utthanasana, and Meru Aksharshanasana are considered suitable. Pranayam and Utkatasana are well suited for the 3rd trimester.
Standing yoga poses are beneficial during the 1st trimester, and this is because standing poses to increase circulation and make the legs stronger. The time periods for holding the asanas must be reduced during the 2nd and 3rd trimesters to avoid fatigue.
Maintaining poses on your back for a long time must be avoided during the second trimester. This is because remaining on your back for too long can cause the baby’s weight to exert pressure on the superior and inferior vena cava and cut off blood circulation to the heart from other areas of the body.
Centre of gravity shifts during pregnancy due to the expansion of the uterus. Thus, your balance can be affected. In this scenario, if you are doing yoga for pregnant women, then make sure that all the balancing poses are performed near a wall so that you have support to prevent falls.
Yoga for pregnant women should not include hot Yoga. The basal metabolic rate and blood circulation are high anyway during pregnancy, and Yoga can cause overheating, which adversely affects the development of the fetus. Thus, keep a portable fan switched on near your yoga mat and drink water regularly to keep hydrated to avoid hot Yoga.
Benefits of Yoga for Pregnant Women
There are many benefits of yoga during pregnancy because Yoga stretches your body, improves breathing, and calms the mind.
- Opens the pelvic region by reducing pressure in the cervix region, which helps ensure more smooth labour and delivery.
- Reduces common symptoms associated with pregnancy such as morning sickness, constipation, swollen ankles and leg cramps. It also reduces the number of pains such as headaches, back pain and sciatica.
- Reduces the risk of developing intrauterine growth restriction, a condition in which the baby’s growth is restricted.
- Helps them face the ordeal of labour and childbirth by training women to breathe deeply and relax.
- Reduces the risk of premature labour and increases the body’s endurance, strength, and flexibility.
- Reduces physical and emotional stress associated with pregnancy and also improves sleep quality.
One of the most important benefits of yoga during pregnancy is that the body recovers fast after delivery.
Benefits of Yoga After Labour and Delivery
The oft-repeated question by women who have undergone childbirth is how to reduce post-pregnancy belly fat. The answer to this question is yoga for post-pregnancy. Many types of yoga poses burn belly fat and are suitable for getting a flat tummy after pregnancy. These include Gomukhasana, Trikonasana, Viparti Karni asana, Kumbhakasana and many more. Altogether, Yoga is a suitable way for women looking how to reduce post-pregnancy belly fat. There are many other benefits of yoga for post-pregnancy. These include strengthening the abdominal muscles, realignment of the spine, improving hormonal balance, and reducing post-natal depression.