You might have heard how beneficial yoga can be during pregnancy - maybe you've practiced yoga, pilates, body balance or some other type of holistic wellness class, or have a gym / exercise routine and you want to continue at a class that's safe during pregnancy? Maybe you've never done anything of the sort but you want a class that's safe and you've heard about some of the benefits for labour and birth? Or perhaps you feel really unfit, frumpy and low in energy - well the good news is, this could still be the class for you!! Read on to my 4 Amazing Benenefits that practicing Yoga in pregnancy can offer YOU....
1. Keeps Stress Levels Low
Just 1 hour of yoga keeps your stress levels low for a whole week!!! Research done in Manchester (with the FABULOUS Janine Hurley) a few years ago, tested womens cortisol levels before a yoga class, afterwards, and over the course of the week. They were AMAZED to find that not only were stress levels far lower than they predicted just after the class, but they STAYED low throughout the week, just creeping up slowly as the week continued.
The magical effects of keeping stress low is that your baby's brain will develop much differently, priming them to be calmer, and cry less - as well as develop better as the blood vessels stay open allowing more oxygenated blood to flow through to them week after week.
You will feel better too - muscles that were tense and sore are able to open and relax, your anxiety levels drop, meaning better moods and a more positive outlook and space on your mind to focus on the changes ahead.
2. Better Birth Outcomes
There are so many elements of a yoga class that link into preparing your body and mind for a positive and wonderful birth experience - even for those planning necessary medical procedures - having a calm and assertive outlook means you feel in control and positive.
Practicing active birthing positions (which feel soooooo good anyway throughout pregnancy) mean you'll be more likely to use them during the birth, meaning you have a heightened state of comfort and ease, more effective contractions, and a faster and more straightforward labour - simples right?
You'll learn a range of new breathing techniques to help now and during the birth - this is often the key to feeling in control, calm and relaxed throughout.
There is a HUGE overlap between Pregnancy Yoga and Hypnobirthing as we talk about the mind body link as a way of life, not just for during the birth! Many teachers have also done some training in intergrating HYpnosis, and Self Hypnosis into their classes, and the fact your are practicing this weekly from much earlier than a standard birth prep class stands you in a fantastic position to really embody the techniques taught.
3. Comfort and SLEEP
Maybe you're one of the lucky few who sleep like a baby throughout pregnancy???
Well here is another fantastic benefit - During classes you'll be helped and encouraged to find new positions, and ways of propping yourself / your bump / back / legs to maximise your relaxation time - many women find this absolutely invaluable, often swapping tips with each other, and their teacher too (all of which she'll be remembering to pass on to the next group of women who come along to class)
During the deep relaxation time at the end of your class your hormones related to sleep and relaxation will increase naturally. Some teachers will use hypnosis techniques, positive suggestions and teach you ways of practicing self hypnosis at home to help you fall asleep quickly and easily even when you do need to get up and pee!
This of course has the knock on effect of your partner getting a better nights sleep too, and feeling better all round in the daytime when you are well rested.
4. Eases Pregnancy Ailments
There are many new and interesting ways that your body may react to growing a tiny human in your belly!! Your muscles and joints loosen up, blood pressure changes, and a variety of other wonderous adaptations!
Of course the effects of these wonderous adaptations may not feel quite so wonderous when you are short of breath, have acid reflux, or your back, hips and pelvis become so sore and achey you find your usual day to day activities an extreme challenge ;-/
Again the good news is that your pregnancy yoga teacher has undergone extensive training in all of these areas, so that the physical postures your practice will be completely safe as different options are goven for various conditions, and abilties - and you can also expect to feel an MARKED improvement physically or emotionally in relation to your condition. Sometimes just being able to talk and share with other women, and sometimes it's about learning to make allowances for yourself - something some of us can be very bad at!!
So the message here is YES - Yoga is completely safe AND beneficial for all pregnancy ailments - if in doubt just chat with your teacher before you sign up to see how much experience she has for each condition.
Book onto an Emma's Antenatal Pregnancy Yoga Class HERE
Or find your local Pregnancy Yoga Class HERE
· Adams, J.D. (2012). Massage and other CAM in Pregnancy. International Journal of Childbirth Education, 27 pp37-42
· Babbar, S., Parks-Savage, A.C. and Chauhan, P.C. ‘Yoga during pregnancy: a review,’ American Journal of Perinatology, vol. 29, 6, pp. 459-464, 2012.
· Breedlove, G., & Fryzelka, D. (2011). Depression screening during pregnancy. Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health. 56, pp18-25
· Curtis K, Weinrib A, Katz J. (2012). Systematic review of yoga for pregnant women: current status and future directions. Evidence Based Complimentary & Alternative Medicine 2012; Article ID 715942. Doi:10.1155/2012/715942
· Cyna,A. M., McAuliffe, G L., & Andrew, M. I. (2004). Hypnosis for pain relief in labour and childbirth: A systematic review. British Journal of Anaesthesia, 93, pp505-511|
· Newham, J.J., Wittkowski, A., Hurley, J., Aplin, J.D. and Westwood, M. (2014) Effects of antenatal yoga on maternal anxiety and depression: a randomized controlled trial. Depression and Anxiety 31: pp631-640
· NICE (2014) Intrapartum care: care of health women and their babies during childbirth. December 2014 clinical guidance 190.<<
· Salmon, P., Lush, E., Jablonski, M and Sephton, S.E. (2009) Yoga and mindfulness: clinical aspects of an ancient mind/body practice. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 16:1,pp. 59-72