Much like other types of childbirth-preparation classes, prenatal yoga is a multifaceted approach to exercise that encourages stretching, mental centering, and focused breathing. Research suggests that prenatal yoga is safe and can have many benefits for pregnant women and their babies. Prenatal yoga classes are very popular, and when paired with a cardiovascular exercise (such as walking), yoga can be an ideal way for moms-to-be to stay in shape.
Benefits of Prenatal Yoga
If you’re pregnant and looking for ways to relax or stay fit, you might be considering prenatal yoga. But did you know that prenatal yoga might also help you prepare for labor and promote your baby’s health? Before you start prenatal yoga, understand the range of possible benefits, as well as what a typical class entails and important safety tips. Much like other types of childbirth-preparation classes, prenatal yoga is a multifaceted approach to exercise that encourages stretching, mental centering, and focused breathing. Research suggests that prenatal yoga is safe and can have many benefits for pregnant women and their babies.
Prenatal yoga can:
- Improve sleep
- Reduce stress and anxiety
- Increase the strength, flexibility, and endurance of muscles needed for childbirth
- Decrease lower back pain, nausea, headaches, and shortness of breath
Prenatal yoga can also help you meet and bond with other pregnant women and prepare for the stress of being a new parent.
The Poses In Prenatal Yoga Classes
A typical prenatal yoga class might involve:
- Breathing. You’ll focus on breathing in and out slowly and deeply through the nose. Prenatal yoga breathing techniques might help you reduce or manage shortness of breath during pregnancy and work through contractions during labor.
- Gentle stretching. You’ll gently move different areas of your body, such as your neck and arms, through their full range of motion.
- Postures. While standing, sitting, or lying on the ground, you’ll gently move your body into different positions aimed at developing your strength, flexibility, and balance. Props — such as blankets, cushions, and belts — might provide support and comfort.
- Cool down and relaxation. At the end of each prenatal yoga class, you’ll relax your muscles and restore your resting heart rate and breathing rhythm. You might be encouraged to listen to your own breathing, pay close attention to sensations, thoughts, and emotions, or repeat a mantra or word to bring about a state of self-awareness and inner calm.
These are some of the most important posts that can help with prenatal health, fitness, and relaxation. But, it is easy to know that there are some types of yoga that may not be the best for pregnant women, especially with some of the more recent ones being more physically challenging.
Types of Yoga to Avoid During Pregnancy
There are many different styles of yoga — some more strenuous than others. Prenatal yoga, hatha yoga, and restorative yoga are the best choices for pregnant women. Talk to the instructor about your pregnancy before starting any other yoga class.
Be careful to avoid hot yoga, which involves doing vigorous poses in a room heated to higher temperatures. For example, during the Bikram form of hot yoga, the room is heated to approximately 105 F (40 C) and has a humidity of 40 percent. Hot yoga can raise your body temperature too much, causing a condition known as hyperthermia.