Why is yoga good for pregnant women? Studies and research show that practicing yoga while pregnant are both beneficial to the mom and the baby. Yoga is the next best thing for mothers-to-be. It helps you improve sleep, reduce stress and anxiety, increase the strength, flexibility, and endurance necessary for childbirth. It also helps pregnant women to develop proper breathing and relaxation techniques for easier and comfortable labor.
Here are some very practical and effective yoga poses that will benefit both you and baby:
- Belly Breath – this pose is good for pregnant women because now that you are breathing for two, learning to breathe well is important throughout pregnancy and labor.
Sit in a comfortable seated position, placing one hand on your belly and one hand on your heart. Breathe deeply, imagine you’re filling your belly with air, then your heart. Count to 4 as you breathe in and count out for 4 as you exhale. On the next breath, inhale for 4 and exhale for 6. Finally, inhale for a count of 4 and exhale out for a count of 8. Repeat as many times as needed.
- Cat/Cow Stretch – this pose helps release tension in the back while keeping your spine flexible.
Come onto your hands and knees. If you need the padding, place a blanket or towel under your knees. As you breathe in, gently soften your belly down as you raise your head, and stick out your chest and bum. As you breathe out, arch your back, bringing your chin to chest and curling the spine without hardening the belly. Repeat for 8 breaths.
- Hip Rotations – this prenatal pose is great for releasing tension in the spine and the rest of your body.
Stay on your hands and knees and rotate your pelvis clockwise eight times. Then rotate it counter-clockwise 8 times. Maintain a steady rhythm with your breath.
- Standing Hip Stretch – this pose is good for you because this will help you feel more grounded in your feet and legs aside from helping you connect with your baby.
Stand up, and place your hands on your belly. Rotate your pelvis 8 times in one direction, then 8 times the opposite way. Standing or leaning on something while doing hip rotations is a great position to try during labor.
- Low-Heel Squat With Forward Fold – this pose keeps areas of the body such as your legs, ankles, and feet as you put more weight and pressure on these parts as your belly grows rapidly.
With your feet outside of your hips, slowly lower yourself into a squat position with your belly centered in the middle, press your weight back into your heels as you reach and lean forward, opening the back of your back body. Tent the fingertips to your mat in front of you and tuck your chin. Acknowledge if the arches are collapsed or not, and work to keep them lifted. Notice stretch through the arches, ankles, Achilles tendon and calves.
- Supported Child’s Pose – this poses eases morning sickness and migraine. It is often described as the ultimate surrender as you give your weight to the floor and welcome a grounded sensation that can be the solution to vertigo and nausea.
Separate your knees to the edges of your mat with two blocks on hand, bring your big toes to touch, place the first block lengthwise underneath your sternum, the next underneath your forehead. With the weight of your head resting on the block, gently scrub the skin of your forehead toward your hairline bringing your attention to your third eye(space between and above your eyebrows. With the knees separated, expand and contract your belly as you breathe deeply.
- Meditation – this is a great practice for calming the nervous system and giving the mind a rest.
Make sure to sit down comfortably with hands on your belly. Say a mantra to your baby, wishing for the baby’s safety, health, and happiness. Breathe, and repeat it for as long as you need.