The Benefits of Yoga in Pregnancy


Prenatal Yoga is one the best things you can do for you and your baby during your pregnancy. As always during the pregnancy, if you are starting a new exercise routine, take it slow and listen to your body! For example, If you get a "twinge" in the round ligament area that supports the uterus etc. then back off a little. Its never too late to start. I've been a midwife for almost 2 decades, and 98% of a successful natural labor, at home or in a facility, is being able to be in your right brain- being"in the moment"- not worrying about the future or the past. Just what is happening at the moment. Yoga will help you to succeed with that goal.

1. Develops Stamina and Strength-
When I first started doing Yoga on a regular basis, I really thought I would need other forms of exercise to stay fit! This can't be further from the truth. Yoga poses builds muscles, helps with balance and will help strengthen our hips, back, arms, neck and shoulders. As your baby grows, there is more stress on your body and yoga will help with flexibility as well as strengthen.
Sun salutation modified for pregnancy

2. Balance!!!!!
During pregnancy, we can feel pretty drained from all the hormone changes, the changes in our body, lack of sleep, and the emotional challenges. Focusing on breathing and holding each yoga pose we are able to fine tune our balance, not just physically but emotionally too.
Tree pose

3. Relieves Tension
As your baby grows, more stress is put upon your lower back, hips, and upper back/shoulders. It is common to have a more curved spine as the belly grow and pulls forward. Putting more and more strain on ligaments and muscles. Wearing a maternity belt will help support these ligaments but there are yoga poses that can relieve this strain. Hip joints start to shift and that is why we get the "waddle" during pregnancy. All that good ole progesterone acting as a smooth muscle relaxant. With the pelvic joints loosening, this will allow movement of the joints to allow the baby to fit through the pelvis. However, it can be uncomfortable at times. Practicing yoga will help alleviate these complaints.
Goddess Pose

4. Calms
98% of labor involves "staying in the moment" and focusing on your breath. Through deep breathing with yoga, this will prepare you for the demands of labor. it will calm your mind during the pregnancy as well. When you are relaxed, your digestion will work more efficiently, you will sleep better, and your immune system will be better.
Pregnany Shivasana Pose- note* if you are on your back and you ARE NOT short of breath, this will not harm your baby! If you are short of breath when laying on your back, then lay on your left side.

5. It will Prep You for Labor!!!!
As mentioned several times already, focusing on your breath is a huge part of labor and staying in your right brain. Worrying about "how many more contractions do I have" or "how much longer will I have to do this before baby comes" will interfere with what your body needs to do. Labor it is not a "brain thing" at all. Practicing daily yoga even if for a few minutes each day, will help you tremendously in labor. It will keep your cortisol levels down during the pregnancy and during labor.
Cat/Cow pose

6. Connection
Yoga helps us to slow down, become grounded, and focus attention on our selves and our baby. We live in such a fast pace society that we often are in our left brain- thinking of the future and the past. Yoga helps us to slow down and be present with ourselves and growing baby.
Cross legged pose/chest opener

7. Increases Circulation
As our joints become more stressed, increasing circulation to these joint and muscles during your yoga practice, will help alleviate these aches and pains. It may also, help move some of stagnant fluid accumulating in your lower legs and ankles.
Various poses

8. Focus on Breath
How many times will I stress the importance of breath work? Not too many times!!! I'm sure my clients think I sound like a broken record, but this is the heart of a successful natural labor. No specific breathing, just deep, slow inhales and deep exhales. Exhales that are audible are also just as crucial as the inhales. As become more accustomed to hearing your own deep breathing , it will be less intimidating in labor. Our Blood Pressure and pulse are more regulated and cortisol levels lower. Passing on these benefits to baby are priceless. Both during pregnancy and labor.
Done in any relaxing pose

9. Sisterhood
If you attend a group prenatal yoga class, the connection and bonding are so valuable. In sharing common pregnancy complaints and having this sense of community are so important.

10. Taking care of yourselt
It is such an important lesson and habit to do as a mom! We have to take care of ourselves, so we can take care of everyone else!!! We need to be strong and fit both emotionally and physically to take care of others. You will see the emotional and physical benefits when you set an intention and set aside time for yourself and your daily yoga practice no matter how short the session is .