7 Benefits of Prenatal Yoga (And 5 Positions to Try)

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prenatal yoga

Pregnancy is not a sickness, but rather a time that you can enjoy abundant health and fitness.  Yoga is one of those exercises that can keep your body in top shape while also preparing you for labor, delivery, and beyond.  I’m going to cover some of the benefits of yoga along with some good positions to try.  Make sure to consult your physician before beginning any exercise program while pregnant.

The Benefits of Prenatal Yoga

Develops Stamina and Strength

prenatal yoga

As your baby grows inside the womb, you will need more strength to be able to carry the extra weight.  One of the top complaints of women who are pregnant is that their lower backs start hurting as the weight of their babies increase.  Yoga can help you strengthen your hips, back, arms, and shoulders and decrease and many times eliminate this pain.

Relieves Tension

prenatal yoga

Yoga can relieve tension in your lower back, hips, chest, upper back, neck, and shoulders.  While pregnant, your hips will get tighter due to the added pressure of your baby’s weight.  As your breasts increase in size, your upper back and chest have more tension, along with your neck and shoulders.  Doing yoga can help you relieve the pressure, and make your body feel more comfortable.

Calms the Nervous System

prenatal yoga

Deep breathing which is an essential part of yoga, can help you to relax.  This relaxation is also called parasympathetic mode.  When in that mode, your digestion system will operate properly, you will sleep better, and your immune system is at its best.

You Connect with Your Baby

prenatal yoga

When you do yoga, you are forced to slow down and relax a little.  While you do that, you will be able to think about your baby more.  Some people like to imagine that when they exhale they are giving their baby a little hug.  Whatever you choose to think of, you can know that by exercising you are keeping both you and your baby healthy.

Yoga Can Help You Not Suffer Common Pregnancy Discomforts

prenatal yoga

A lot of people complain that they have lower back pain, nausea, insomnia, headaches, shortness of breath, or carpal tunnel syndrome while pregnant.  Doing yoga may help you not suffer from these common pregnancy pains and complaints.  Don’t worry if you still get some of these symptoms, but the more yoga you do, the less often you will experience those symptoms.

You Might Make Friends if You Attend a Class

prenatal yoga

If you are attending a yoga class, there is a good chance that you will make some friends that are going through the same things that you are.  Other moms can give you encouragement, and maybe even some advice.  Once you make some friends, you may want to keep in touch and meet again once your baby is born.

Reduced Stress

prenatal yoga

Women who do yoga will less likely experience stress.  Yoga is all about relaxing and breathing, so there isn’t any time for stressing out.  People who do yoga also have improved sleep.

Positions to Try

Now that you know the benefits of prenatal yoga, you will need some poses to try.  While there are many different yoga poses out there, below is a list of some that are both healthy and relaxing to do.

Pigeon Pose

prenatal yoga

Start on all fours. Slide your right leg forward so that your right knee comes to your right wrist, and your right flexed foot is directed toward your left wrist. Let your left leg gently down to the ground and extend it behind you.  If you are feeling good, then come down to your forearms.  Connect your hands together in prayer, and lower your forehead to touch your thumbs.  Repeat on the other side.  This pose is good for relieving lower back tension.

Wide-Knee Child’s Pose

prenatal yoga

Kneel on the ground with your butt on your heels, and the top of your feet on the floor.  Make sure that your knees are wider than hip-width apart.  Slowly and gently bring your chest to the mat.  Extend your arms straight out, or extend them straight behind you.  This pose will help relieve some stress from the added baby weight.

Cat-Cow Pose

prenatal yoga

Start on all fours. As you inhale, look up and allow your back to bend.  As you exhale, round the spine, tuck the pelvis, and curl inward, looking down all the while.  Keep repeating both poses.

Dolphin Pose

prenatal yoga

Start on all fours.  Lift hips toward the ceiling, and straighten your legs, as though you are doing downward dog.  Start with your arms straight, but then slowly lower onto your forearms.  Keep your hips up high, and maintain a neutral neck.

Extended Side Angle Pose

prenatal yoga

This pose is good for strengthening your quads.  Place your right leg forward, and bend it until you are in a lunge.  Place your right elbow on your right knee, and reach up with your left hand.  Make sure to keep the left leg straight.  Once you have done this pose for as long you like, repeat on the other side.

Final Thoughts

There are many benefits of yoga for all people.  Pregnant women can especially benefit from the breathing and relaxing poses that yoga offers.  I’ve gone through some of the benefits along with some poses to try.  Remember to take it slow and don’t continue any pose that feels too uncomfortable.  I hope that participating in yoga while pregnant will make your labor go easier and give you a jump start on healthy motherhood when your baby arrives.

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