There's no denying that pregnancy is one of the most beautiful aspects of being a woman, but it can also come with a number of not-so-wonderful symptoms.
From headaches, swollen ankles, and stomach cramps to painful pelvic discomfort, growing a tiny human is hard work — and it can take a major toll on your body. Fortunately, practicing yoga during pregnancy just might be able to help.
Interested in learning more? 8 Sheep Organics has your back! Read on to discover everything you need to know about yoga for pregnant women.
Simply put, prenatal yoga is a yoga practice specifically designed for — you guessed it — pregnant women.
Like regular yoga, prenatal yoga is considered a mind-body practice that incorporates breathing techniques (pranayama) and physical poses (asanas) with meditative practices designed to help keep stress in check, calm the nervous system, and strengthen the body — from head to toe.
The biggest difference between prenatal yoga classes and regular yoga classes is simply that everyone in the class is a pregnant mama! This creates an experience that is tailored more specifically to address the lower back aches, pains, and discomforts of pregnancy (pelvic pain, anyone?).
Additionally, many yoga positions that directly compress the belly are not safe for pregnant ladies, so prenatal yoga tends to steer clear of any poses that could potentially put you or your growing baby at risk.
Some of the positions that you won't find in a prenatal yoga class include:
Some of the positions that you may find in a prenatal yoga class include:
Believe it or not, this form of exercise is so beneficial that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) encourages all pregnant women with uncomplicated pregnancies to do 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise per day.
Experts also say that prenatal yoga is one of the safest forms of exercise an expecting mama can do to stay healthy during every stage of pregnancy.
Before joining a class, be sure to get the go-ahead from your OB/GYN or midwife. Prenatal yoga may not be a good choice if you're at increased risk of pre-term labor or have certain medical conditions, such as high blood pressure and diastasis recti (ab muscle separation).
Yoga is also not recommended for those with a history of miscarriage — this is especially true in the first trimester, which is when nearly 80 percent of miscarriages may occur.
Although there are many incredible benefits of yoga, it's always best to be on the safe side and move forward with caution.
Speaking of benefits…
Classes may vary depending on the yoga teacher, but more often than not, you can expect to do some deep breathing exercises, gentle stretching, and modified yoga poses before cooling down and finishing the session with a few relaxation techniques.
Much like other types of maternity-preparation classes, prenatal yoga is a multifaceted approach to exercise that encourages focused breathing, mental centering, and light stretching.
With that in mind, some of the top benefits of prenatal yoga include:
Yoga helps the body stretch, relax, and focus on breathing. Those with a bun in the oven often gain many incredible advantages from yoga because it can help them reconnect with their body and embrace their journey.
Your body changes quite drastically from the first trimester to the third trimester — and prenatal yoga classes can help support you through every step of the way.
But that's not all; prenatal yoga classes can also help you meet and bond with other moms-to-be and prepare you for the ups and downs of parenthood. Think of it as one big support group for like-minded mamas where pregnant women can connect with other pregnant women making the same choices and lifestyle changes — but with stretching.
In other words, prenatal yoga is not only good for you and your developing fetus, but it can do wonders for your soul, spirit, and mental health, too.
There are many yoga positions that are considered safe for pregnant women. Some of the most popular poses that you're likely to see in your prenatal yoga class may include:
As a matter of fact, we have quite a few! Here are some ways that you can practice yoga safely:
If you're new to yoga, your muscles may feel a little sore after class — just like they would with any other exercise routine.
To soothe your aches and pains, we suggest taking an indulgent bath with our Therapeutic Bath Salts. Simply sprinkle some bath salts into warm water and enjoy a relaxing soak after your prenatal class!
Prenatal yoga is a powerful tool that every mom-to-be should use. It transforms the entire pregnancy journey from something that is ultimately just happening into something that you wholeheartedly experience. It can prepare your mind, body, and spirit for parenthood while soothing some of the many aches and pains that are all too common with pregnancy.
Not only that, but the mindfulness that comes with meditation and yoga can help ease your worried thoughts to keep your mind in the present moment and attuned to the incredible little miracle that you are growing inside of you.
Thinking about giving a prenatal class a try? Be sure to talk with your healthcare provider first and drink plenty of water to keep dehydration at bay. And most importantly, remember to always listen to your body — take it easy and go at a comfortable pace.
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