You don’t have to be an advanced yogi to reap the full mental, emotional, physical, and even spiritual benefits of prenatal yoga classes.
Even if it’s your first time on a yoga mat, taking on a yoga routine can benefit your precious pregnant body and growing baby in multiple ways.
Mindful movement and exercise during pregnancy are often linked to improved birth outcomes and better postpartum maternal health.
Many modified Hatha yoga poses help expecting mamas prepare their bodies for the birthing process by strengthening and toning.
Other more restorative poses can help calm normal pregnancy nerves and tensions.
Breathing techniques (pranayama) also help moms balance mood, increase energy, and emotionally prepare for the road ahead.
21 Mental, Emotional, & Physical Health Benefits of Yoga During Pregnancy
Yoga helps the mind and body calm down and release stress and tension.
Breathing exercises like Ocean Breathing and Box Breathing can help you find inner peace. Recent studies suggest that long-term and extreme stress and anxiety can increase the risk of preterm labor, so getting a handle on stress should be a priority for mamas. (1)
Pregnancy and hormones go hand in hand.
Crazy hormone levels often mean more moodiness and mood swings.
Mindful movement, present moment awareness, and conscious breathing can all help to balance both moods and hormones.
Moving your body and breath mindfully is a form of mindfulness training.
Studies on mindfulness have shown that significant positive brain changes can occur in as little as eight weeks of practice. (2)
Increased mindfulness means better body awareness.
This is especially useful given your growing belly and changing body.
Yoga practice can help us live in more harmony with our bodies.
Cultivating stillness and awareness can help you sharpen your mother’s intuition before you hit the ground running.
Sleep can be disrupted even before the baby arrives.
Many women often report trouble sleeping in the first or second trimesters.
The practice of yoga nidra (yogic sleep) aids your mind into deeper states of relaxation and rest.
A lot is happening in your body.
By the 16th week, your blood volume might double.
Keeping your blood pressure at healthy levels is crucial for a healthy pregnancy.
Yoga practice can lower your heart rate, which means increased heart rate variability (HRV)
HRV is a predictor of health, stress resilience, and well-being.
The more your belly grows the more strain on your frame and likely increased back pain and discomfort. Restorative yoga postures can help ease the pressure off your back.
Go easy in the first trimester and subsequent weeks of pregnancy.
Nausea is a common part of pregnancy, so if you’re not feeling well opt for gentler and shorter yoga sessions.
Lower stress levels, healthy hormone levels, and more inner calm often means less inflammation.
Inflammation is not good for your developing baby so anything that can help reduce it is welcome.
As mentioned, prenatal yoga can help your body work with you during this gestation period.
Certain poses help lightly massage certain hormonal glands thus boosting immunity and well-being.
Regular yoga practice helps calm an overactive nervous system in many different ways.
For example, through the breath, chanting, meditation, and certain poses.
- Less shortness of breath
Feeling like you need to catch your breath? Deep belly breathing exercises might help.
- Healthy weight management
The physical aspect of yoga practice paired with certain breathing exercises can help you manage your pregnancy weight gain at a steady pace.
- Strengthened pelvic floor and hips
Hip opening poses and pelvic floor exercises are common in most classes.
- Increased endurance for labor and birthing
Prenatal yoga is a form of birth training!
From breathing to mindfulness, mental training, and stamina.
Ever heard of the yoga high that can happen after class?
Being in a state of bliss automatically makes you more grateful.
If you show up for your yoga practice, your yoga practice can show up for you.
The result is a quieter, more friendly mind and a more open heart.
You’re not just about to birth a baby, this journey is also the birth of you as a Mother.
The yogic path can help you deepen your perspective of this entire experience.
- Improved digestion (less constipation)
Having trouble getting those bowels moving?
Breathwork and poses can help get things going again by gently massaging your organs.
- Always practice with an experienced and certified yoga instructor who has been specifically trained in prenatal yoga.
- Avoid hot yoga and Bikram yoga styles as these classes can raise your core body temperature too high. Overheating can cause serious effects on the development of the fetus.
- Be mindful to not overstretch, especially if you’re hypermobile. Pregnant women produce higher levels of the hormone relaxin, which relaxes your muscles and ligaments in preparation for labor.
- Avoid or modify backbends, inversions, and deep twists.
- Always consult with your gynecologist or healthcare provider before starting yoga or any form of exercise during pregnancy.