The very thought of giving birth to another life can give one goose bumps. Though it is the most exciting phase of your life, usually it is not a cake walk. With morning sickness, to dizziness, fatigue, and mood swings, there are a lot of factors that come as a gift with pregnancy and can lower your energy level. Here is where the role of prenatal yoga comes in. Prenatal yoga is a sequence of physical exercises specially designed for a pregnant woman that emphasizes on breathing, stamina, restorative poses, core strength and pelvic floor exercises that will make you more resilient during pregnancy and after delivery. It also makes delivery easy and comfortable. Here is a list of 8 exercises that must be done during pregnancy as a part of prenatal yoga at home.
Pranayama During Pregnancy:
The deep breathing technique forms an inseparable part of pregnancy yoga and is known as Ujjayi Pranayama. This breathing technique is relaxed breathing, marked by a resonating sound in the practitioner’s throat. Mastering Ujjayi pranayama during your pregnancy helps you stay composed during childbirth and may help you get rid of the anxiety and apprehensions. Being very scared during childbirth increases the production of adrenaline hormone and slows down oxytocin production and prolongs the labor. With regular practice of prenatal yoga, you can avoid such a scenario by helping you relax. It also helps you fight the tendency to tighten up your muscles when you feel a pain wave coming.
Best Prenatal Yoga Poses and Its Benefits:
Here is a list of 8 best prenatal yoga poses and their benefits alongwith prenatal yoga pictures. These include a set of different positions that help a pregnant female in developing strength, flexibility, and balance. Check them out right here.
1. Konasana Yoga (Angle Pose):
This asana increases flexibility of waist region and also helps in avoiding fat accumulation in the belly region. Besides, it also helps in dealing with the back pain problem, which is very common during pregnancy. It is one of the most important prenatal yoga exercises to be performed during pregnancy.
- To perform this asana, you need to stand erect with your feet 2 feet apart by standing against the wall.
- Raise your right hand. Try keeping your elbow straight.
- Give your arm an upward stretch and inhale. Bend sideward towards your left, as per your comfort.
- Slowly bring your right hand down towards the ankle of the left foot and bring left hand towards the sky.
- Repeat the same routine with the other side.
Benefits for Pregnant Women:
- This asana is very helpful for giving a smooth and safe delivery.
- This angle pose cures and improves the reproductive system function.
- It can develop blood circulation.
2. Vakrasana Yoga (Twisted Pose):
The one described here is a simpler version of this asana for pregnant women. It is one of the best prenatal yoga poses at home that can be done even without guidance.
- Sit erect with feet stretched in front of you.
- Breathe in and raise your arms to shoulder level, palms should be facing down.
- While breathing out, twist your body towards your right moving head and hands simultaneously to the right. Swing arms back as much as possible.
- Inhale and come back to original position maintaining your posture.
- Repeat this exercise routine on the left side also.
- This asana gives a gentle massage to abdominal organs.
- It can improve the spinal cord and nervous system functions.
- It improves the flexibility of a person, especially during pregnancy.
3. Savasana Yoga Or Corpse Pose:
This is practiced before, in between and after other prenatal pregnancy yoga asanas. This is one of the best parental yoga poses to relax.
- To do this, one has to lie down straight and try to keep their mind still.
- Lie flat on the back. Spread your arms and rest them.
- Along the sides of the body, palms facing upwards.
- Then legs are extended. Relax your entire body.
- You may make slight adjustments in this pose to feel more at ease.
- Now close your eyes and focus on a spot between your eyebrows that is also called the sun center and try to still your mind.
- You may stay in this pose for 5 to 15 minutes.
- To make this asana more relaxing, you may lie on your left side; place a pillow between your legs and below your head for support.
- Best asana improves the circulation of blood.
- Removes stress, fatigue, depression and tension in pregnant women.
- Improves mental health and concentration.
4. The Standing Mountain Posture:
The mountain pose or standing mountain pose is one of the most beneficial prenatal yoga during pregnancy. This particular posture has tons of benefits, including many mind-blowing advantages for women.
- For performing this pose, you will first have to stand straight with your toes touching each other.
- Keep the heels slightly apart, though.
- Now spread the toes and try to stand still as much as possible.
- Keep the proper balance on your feet.
- Put some firm pressure on your thigh muscles and allow them to slowly adjust to the pressure.
- Now, slowly lift the inner ankles and put some strength on the inner arches.
- This whole posture is about self-belief and imagination.
- You will have to imagine as if a line of energy is passing from the inner thighs, which will keep flowing to the middle portion of the body.
- Now, you will have to turn the inner thighs inwards and keep the back, neck, and the head absolutely straight.
- It can strengthen the total body parts such are knees, shoulders, neck, buttocks.
- This pose toned the body shape and stretched the muscles.
[Read: How to Do Shakti Yoga]
5. The Supported Squat Pose:
Here, we have another wonderful prenatal yoga pose, which is extremely beneficial for pregnant women. In order to do this yoga exercise, one must perform the following steps
- You will have to stand to keep your feet wider.
- Do not forget to keep a stack of pillows on the floor to your back.
- Now, slowly perform a squat by sitting on the pillows already kept behind yours.
- Firmly place your bottom on the pillows and keeps the palms together near your chest.
- While doing this yoga, you will have to make sure that you breathe enough. Deeply breathe by closing your eyes and keep performing the squats slowly and steadily.
- During each squat rest on the pillow for not less than 6-8 full breaths.
- This posture will assist you during childbirth.
- One thing should be kept in mind that one should never practice this posture if they are experiencing any indications of premature labor.
- It will keep the back and the waist strong.
- Help you with back problems.
- Strengthen the lower back.
- Good move for going through labor.
6. Bitilasana Yoga or Cow Pose:
Looking for prenatal yoga? This exercise is an effective prenatal yoga for pregnant women that releases the stress stuck in the back and thereby plays a vital role in controlling the mood swings also.
- For performing this posture, you will have sit on all your fours with knees hips apart and hands shoulder apart.
- You will arch your back and have to bring yourself in the position of a cow, as shown in the picture above.
- Keep your head up and keeps the eyes up as well.
Now, when you have placed yourself in that particular position, you will have to inhale and exhale heavily. Slowly bring your chin towards the chest. This posture can also be called a child’s posture where you have to relax and take one full breath. Repetition and practice will make you a pro at this yoga pose. For cooling down your body before labor, you can practice this pose for 5 whole breaths. This posture will be extremely effective during labor.
- This posture will straighten the back.
- It is good for the abdominal muscles.
- Improves breathing.
- Excessive stretching during this pose will be beneficial for pregnant women.
- It can increase coordination.
- Improves body posture and promotes proper balance.
- It will assist with the promotion of emotional balance.
- It calms and relieves the mind as well.
7. The Belly Breathing Yoga Posture:
- For performing this yoga posture, you will first have to sit straight on a pillow or cloth material made of cotton.
- Next step demands you to place your hands on your lower belly and takes full and deep breaths.
- While breathing, keep the face and the jaws relaxed.
- This is probably one of the best yoga techniques for women who are going to be going through labor.
- Now, you will have to relax, keeping your pelvic muscles on the floor.
- At this point, inhale and exhale firmly.
- This is one of the best prenatal yoga poses.
- Benefits of this prenatal yoga are as follows.
- It relaxes the mind
- This yoga posture can be performed pretty easily and will assist women physically during pregnancy.
- It slows down the aging process and stimulates the secretion of growth hormone.
8. The Sitting Side Stretch Yoga Pose:
This is one of the most effective prenatal yoga asanas for pregnant women.This posture has tons of benefits which will be discussed shortly. Here is how you are going to do it.
- At first, you will have to sit in a normal position on the ground with your back straight.
- Then, slowly stretch the right leg to your right at a 60degree angle.
- This will help stretch the belly slowly, which will help you during pregnancy.
- Then slowly stretch so that both your arms are in a parallel position as you’re stretching the body to your right.
- Now, do the same on the other side. Performing this posture with proper inhaling and exhaling can bring tons of benefits.
- This pose will be good for the waist and belly.
- It can help remove lower back problems which are quite common during this time.
Throughout the session, you may continue with the chanting of certain mantras. This is supposed to nurture the baby spiritually.
At the end of each prenatal yoga class, you will be asked to relax your muscles. Relaxation also helps restore the heartbeat rate and breathing rhythm.
Safety Consideration While Doing Prenatal Yoga:
The following are some of the safety considerations while doing prenatal yoga for pregnant women to avoid any injury and have a happy and healthy pregnancy:
- In the later stages of pregnancy, avoid exercises that exert pressure on the abdomen.
- During the first trimester, one can do the standing yoga poses. This will not only strengthen the legs, but will also reduce leg cramps.
- In the third trimester reduce the holding time of the asanas to avoid fatigue and replace them with breathing exercises and meditation
- One must not exercise during the 10th to 14th week (1st trimester) as this is the crucial period during the pregnancy and most prone for miscarriages.
- Inversion poses should be avoided at all times during pregnancy.
The aforesaid are some of the prenatal yoga tips and exercises one must follow for a happy and healthy pregnancy. If you have any suggestion in any of the exercises mentioned above, please feel free to reach us in the comments below and help us improve. Share this with your friends or relatives who might be expecting and she will not stop thanking you for the immense benefits she will be reaping from these simple exercises in making the pregnancy a cakewalk.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Question 1: How Often Should One do Prenatal Yoga?
Answer 1: Most experts believe that yoga should be practiced daily. Prenatal yoga should be begun from the second trimester and should be practiced daily. Feeling low or nauseous should not be a reason to miss the exercise as one would only feel better by doing yoga.
Question 2: Is Prenatal Yoga Safe During The First Trimester?
Answer 2: Most experts would advise that you should either practice mild exercise or no exercise during the first trimester. This is because the first trimester is very crucial for sustaining the pregnancy and prone to miscarriage. Doing heavy exercises or indulging in incorrect poses could prove harmful for both the mother and the baby. It is best to attend prenatal yoga classes and do the same under the guidance of an expert.
Question 3: Why Should You do Prenatal Yoga?
Answer 3: The following inherent benefits from prenatal yoga would tempt you to do the same during pregnancy:
- Improves sleep
- Reduces the stress, anxiety and mood swings
- Increase in strength of the muscles and endurance and flexibility which is vital for a normal childbirth
- Reduction in nausea, back pain, cramps and other common symptoms of pregnancy
Question 4: Is Heated Yoga Safe During Pregnancy?
Answer 4: With the possibility of neural tube defects in the child, and other malformations in the fetus due to exposure to excessive heat it is advised that a pregnant woman should not indulge in hot yoga during pregnancy. Prenatal yoga is the only yoga considered to be safe for pregnancy, especially for beginners.
Question 5: Does Prenatal Yoga Really Help with Labour?
Answer 5: Prenatal yoga helps the muscles of the body to relax and also improves their strength. However, when it comes to labor and childbirth, the mind-body connection is vital, and prenatal yoga is a way that helps in building a strong connection between the mind and the body. It restores the emotional strength and gives confidence that helps in contractions and pushing the baby out of the womb.