Prenatal Yoga: Is it Effective and Safe?
Motherhood, so they say, is the essence of being a woman, and thus pregnancy is a very important event in a woman’s life. Because of these, women all over the world want the best condition for themselves and their baby when they are with child. Prenatal yoga is one way of making this hope come true. Yoga can be quite helpful in preparing a women for the rigors of childbirth as well as introducing her to a gathering of other expectant mothers. It is a good way of staying in shape and diminishing the risks of problems during pregnancy.
Many women who engage in yoga on during their pregnancy find the activity to be quite an effective way of being fit. Like any form of exercise, it is essential however to prepare oneself for yoga especially when it is done as a prenatal activity. It would be best to enlist in a class that is specifically designed for pregnant women so that the instructors would be knowledgeable about prenatal safety precautions during sessions. It is recommended to begin practicing prenatal yoga early, but those pregnant women who only have time to do it during the later trimesters can still benefit a lot from the exercises.
Women who have been practicing yoga long before their pregnancy can of course continue the exercise. But because the body is bound to change during the term, it might not be possible to do certain yoga poses like before. It is imperative to tell the instructor of the pregnancy so he or she may be able to modify the exercises to fit the pregnant woman.
Safety During Prenatal Yoga
Prenatal yoga is greatly beneficial for pregnant women but extra precautions are expected since pregnancy can be a sensitive situation. Here are some tips to ensure safety in prenatal yoga:
- If you join a normal (non specific for prenatal) yoga class, be sure to tell the instructor that you are with child and which trimester you are already in.
- You should avoid poses that keep you on your back after the first trimester because such can limit the supply of blood to the uterus.
- Avoid yoga poses that might make you overstretch your muscles, especially the abdominals. During pregnancy, a hormone called relaxin is secreted to help expand the uterus, however this also softens connective tissues, increasing the risk of muscle pulling and other injuries.
- You should start doing standing poses with chair support when you hit your second trimester, because this time it would be difficult to maintain balance due to the shifting of your gravity center. You can also position your heel against the wall for support.
- Stay away from hot yoga (Bikram yoga). Heat can be hazardous for the fetus, and not to mention, extremely uncomfortable for pregnant women.
- Monitor your body well. If you feel anything uncomfortable or painful, stop immediately. Your body is changing and you would need to adjust accordingly. As the instructor about modifications of the poses.
- You should keep your pelvis in neutral position all the time. Your buttocks should be relaxed to avoid pain on your hind legs and to prevent injury to your connective tissues in the pelvis.
- If you are required to twist your body, use your back and shoulders instead of your wait to prevent extra pressure on the abdominal muscles. Twist only as far as comfortably possible. Deep twists can subject your body to hazardous strain.
There are certain poses that are deemed to be safe for prenatal yoga, among them are the cobra (done face-down during the first trimester), the triangle pose (with char support_ the seated-forward bend, the Butterfly stretch, the side-angle pose, the standing-forward bend and the cat-cow. It would be wise to avoid the camel, upward bow, handstands, backbends, headstands, and one-legged balancing (without support from a chair or the wall). Of course, each person reacts differently to different moves and it is thus important to act according to one’s personal characteristics.
Prenatal yoga can greatly be an advantageous for you and your future baby. If you execute exercises properly and do the necessary precautionary measures, you can maintain fitness during your pregnancy.