Bringing life into the world is an amazing process. Our bodies change so much while the little one is growing inside us. And labor is one of the most intense, challenging, and incredible experiences of our lives. Preparing for delivery and motherhood requires us to explore every available tool, so we can be as ready as possible in body, mind, and spirit.
Prenatal Yoga helped me immensely during both my pregnancies. Navigating my changing body and raging hormones didnt seem quite as intense for me as it can be for many women.
I am happy to share seven benefits I experienced from practicing prenatal Yoga.
1. Breath Awareness
Perhaps most important, Yoga teaches us how to breathe deeply and fully. Making a habit of breathing deeply before delivery will make it so much easier to breathe deeply during labor, which helps with managing the pain and stress of the process. And deep breathing will still be valuable later when we are tested by our toddlers (and teenagers).
2. Relieve Back Pain
Yoga strengthens the muscles that support the lower back. This means less pain from the added weight of the growing baby. It can also help relieve sciatica and pinched nerves.
3. Happy Hips
Prenatal Yoga classes usually include poses specifically designed to open the pelvis and prepare it for labor, such as squats and hip-openers. This stretching and toning of the pelvis makes delivery a lot easier and can reduce labor pain. And the Yoga work that strengthens the pelvic floor in the last two trimesters can help prevent or reduce complications such as constipation, incontinence, or a sagging uterus.
4. Find Your Balance
Pregnancy changes our center of gravity, making balance more challenging. Balance poses in Yoga classes help us adapt to this changing center of gravity and maintain our physical and emotional equilibrium.
5. Easy Does It
Many moms-to-be grapple with fear and anxiety. Yoga relaxes our nervous systems and gets us out of mental thinking loops of worry and doubt. It also calms the bodys flight-or-fight response and reduces the production of stress hormones and high blood pressure.
6. Healthy Momma, Healthy Baby
Practicing Yoga during pregnancy supports the immune systems of mother and child. It can also help prevent complications, such as pregnancy-related diabetes, pregnancy-induced hypertension, going into labor too early, and low birth weight.
7. The Gift of Presence
Yoga teaches us to be more fully engaged in the moment. Paying attention to this present moment makes us more aware of and connected to everything. When pregnant, this can mean a deeper sense of connection to your baby. The ability to drop into the moment and really feel what is happening in your growing belly can help strengthen the bond with your baby. As a momma, deep presence will serve you in countless ways as you watch and shape your childs development.
Each woman has unique needs during her pregnancy. But for most, prenatal Yoga can be a fantastic tool during the pregnancy and birthing process. It can help us have an easier delivery. It also can help us navigate the physical and psychological transition to motherhood with more grace.