Prenatal Yoga : The Benefits of Yoga During Pregnancy

Prenatal yoga is the ally of the pregnant woman. It is the ideal sport during pregnancy. Yoga and pregnancy form a winning duo. For over twenty years, midwives have been emphasizing the benefits of yoga for mothers-to-be for over twenty years. Yoga is much more than a sport. Discover this gentle sport for pregnant women.


A gentle sport for pregnant women

In general, pregnant sport is indicated. During pregnancy, health professionals advise expectant mothers to take part in gentle sports: walking, swimming, tai chi chuan, prenatal yoga...

Doing a gentle sport during pregnancy should help you :

- to welcome with serenity the hormonal, physical and psychic modifications of this great change;
- to live serenely and positively your 9 months of pregnancy;
- maintain or regain good posture and balance;
- to become aware of your perineum, to strengthen it and make it more flexible;
- develop knowledge and awareness of your body which changes during pregnancy;
- deepen your breathing for a serene and harmonious delivery;
- develop your mental strength and the physical endurance of your body;
- strengthen your self-confidence and joy of life by preparing for childbirth;
- prepare gently for the birth;
- strengthen the bond with your baby.

A soft sport during this prenatal period should in any case be able to bring you. Whether you are serene or prey to the doubts, anxiety and small inconveniences of pregnancy, the sport you choose should be your ally.

Yoga will be your most suitable asset during and after all the pregnancy you are experiencing. These gentle but effective movements (working the breathing and the positioning of the pelvis), allow you to practice in complete safety. Prenatal yoga classes reserved for pregnant women are recommended.


The Benefits of Yoga for Pregnant Women

In addition to the advantage of a better nervous balance, to become aware of her spine, of her stiffness and blockages to relieve her back, and of the inconveniences of the hormonal change involved in pregnancy, the benefits of yoga for the pregnant woman are numerous.

Indeed, the list of physiological benefits of the postures (asanas) in prenatal yoga is long: body awareness, better breathing, energy, adapted movements, relaxation and preparation for pain, among others:

activates blood circulation and oxygenation of cellular tissues;
Relieves the small aches and pains of pregnancy: nausea, heavy legs, varicose veins, back pain, sciatica;
prevents gestational diabetes;
Balances the nervous system: promotes a positive state of mind, self-awareness, body image and abilities;
develops strength and stamina of body and mind, essential qualities that accompany well beyond pregnancy;
allows the body to store endorphins, pain-relieving hormones so useful during childbirth;
develops and preserves the mobility of the pelvis for a better well-being during pregnancy and an easier delivery, even for a first baby. This avoids the compression of the spine and distension of the abdominal muscles forward when the baby gains weight in the uterus;
toning and softening of the deep muscles of the body, especially those of the back, ideal for breastfeeding if you wish to breastfeed;
awareness of the perineum;
Awareness of your center of gravity to move with fluidity and flexibility;
letting go, relaxation, release from stress;
Awareness of breathing and its evolution, to better live your pregnancy, regain energy, give birth consciously and gently;
to be in contact with your baby, to encourage exchanges, by being more attentive to your baby's feelings;
Creates and reinforces the mother/child bond so important for the development of your baby at birth, and your well-being together.





Up to what stage of pregnancy should I do yoga?

Prenatal yoga can be practiced until full term as long as the pregnancy goes well. The ideal would be to have a personalized accompaniment in the 3rd trimester of pregnancy.

In the 1st trimester, the increase in hormones can cause nausea, fatigue, emotional hypersensitivity and of the 5 senses. The yoga of the pregnant woman is thus centered on the reception of these changes, on the internalization and the conscience of the body.

The session will be composed of slow movements and gentle postures, with long phases of relaxation, compared to a classical yoga session.

Nevertheless, if you are not athletic or have never practiced yoga before, it is advisable to start in the third month of pregnancy.


Examples of Special Yoga Sessions for Pregnant Women

Tips for good practice:
- Adapt your postures with cushions and chairs, or by leaning your back against a wall to maintain your balance.
- Breathe in slowly and deeply, relaxing into the posture a little more as you exhale.
- Avoid forcing: do not exceed your daily limits.
- Hydrate in small sips before, during and after the session, and especially according to your needs.

Rhythm of the sessions:
- It is recommended to practice prenatal yoga at least once a week, and twice in the last month before the birth.




Postures to relieve the aches and pains of pregnancy

Yoga and Sciatica
- Cow's head (Gomukhasana)
- The standing half-clamp (Ardha Uttanasana: against a wall with feet tucked in)
- Yoga and back pain

Yoga and back pain
- the Child on his knees with spread legs (Supta Balasana)
- The moving half-bridge (Dvi Pada Pitam)

Yoga and Breathing: Strengthening the bond with baby
- The Candle, back on the ground, legs against a wall (Viparita Karani)
- The Elongated Butterfly (Supta Badha konasana)

At the end of a session, put your hands on your stomach to make contact with your baby. This strengthens your bond with him.

Conscious breathing will be very appreciated, allowing to lengthen the inhalation and exhalation, to oxygenate oneself and baby. It is an ample, soft, circular breathing. It makes energy circulate in your body and baby's body.

"...but also to activate the parasympathetic system and thus obtain physical, mental and emotional relaxation" as Tatiana Abbey-Chartier, prenatal yoga teacher, explains.


Yoga after childbirth

After childbirth, yoga will help you:

- regain energy;
- regain the line;
- to have a flat belly gently;
- a healthy lifestyle in terms of diet and physical activity;
- regain balance in your new life as a mom, both physically and emotionally;
- will help you to live your emotions better, to stay calm and serene: the drop in hormones after childbirth that causes the baby blues, the life turned upside down by the arrival of baby, the need to regain control of your body and fatigue, make yoga more than necessary and your best ally.
- enjoy the precious 1st weeks with baby

Yoga is without a doubt the most precious ally of pregnant women, of all mothers, and whatever the age of the children. Moreover, it can be practiced quickly after delivery, with baby without the need to separate from him, unlike other sports.

Pregnancy is the ideal time to start yoga because the pregnant woman is very attentive to her body and her physical sensations. Prenatal yoga is the ideal sport before, during and after pregnancy