Prenatal yoga teachers and students, and many midwives and doctors say that prenatal yoga can ease the discomforts of pregnancy and give women time to bond with their babies as well as helping them prepare for labour and birth.
At a time when women may feel tired, emotional, nauseous, and overwhemed, a regular prenatal yoga practice can give her the energy to enjoy her pregnancy, the serenity to build a deeper intimacy with her own body and spirit, and also the presence of mind to expect the unexpected and be fully present for the miracle of birth.
Prenatal yoga classes can provide a chance to spend time with other pregnant women sharing worries and experiences, which is helpful if a woman is feeling stressed, unsupported, or fearful.
During pregnancy, yoga:
- keeps the body supple without straining
- boosts energy
- relieves stress and anxiety
- relaxes and promotes restful sleep
- can be used to relieve pain in labour and childbirth
- can relieve common pregnancy related ailments
(e.g. swollen joints, heartburn, constipation)
- can help the expectant mother to bond with the unborn baby through breathing and visualisation techniques
Prenatal yoga is a great way to train for labour and to enhance the experience of pregnancy. The physical postures, or asanas can help build strength and stamina, improve circulation and help to manage common pregnancy related physical ailments. Meditation can improve the abilities to relax and to concentrate. Visualisation practices help to build confidence and assist in an easier birth. Pranayama, breathing exercises, used during contractions can help manage the pain.
Yoga class is a time to listen and get to know your body and to build trust in your own ability to give birth. Yoga students and teachers feel that women possess the innate skills to give birth in a natural and healthy way. In yoga class a woman can learn to listen and respond to her body’s needs, so that she can use these skills during her labour.
Pregnancy yoga enhances the energy, mobility, health and emotional well-being of the expectant mother; it also provides a valuable quiet space in which to form a bond with the unborn child and to prepare for birth.
If you have never practiced yoga or have practiced very little before your pregnancy, you should practice only prenatal yoga while pregnant.
If you already had a yoga practice before your pregnancy, you may be able to continue the same practice with modifications after your first trimester. Consult your yoga teacher for advice.
During the first trimester both beginning and experienced yoginis should only do a gentle practice or none at all, as the fetus is still implanting and the risk of miscarriage is highest.
For details on pregnancy yoga classes at Douglas Yoga Centre, Cork click here.