It’s important to keep active with gentle exercise during pregnancy. Experts say that the more active and fit you are during pregnancy, the easier it is for you to adapt to your changing shape and also cope with labour. However, the current Covid-19 situation has made exercise slightly trickier for everyone. So, the big question is – how can I exercise at home while pregnant?
Gentle exercise during pregnancy has proven to be a very beneficial way to maintain both a healthy mind and a healthy body. In particular, prenatal yoga, can be a great way to prepare for childbirth whilst keeping fit and feeling relaxed.
So, what are the benefits of yoga during pregnancy and how can it help you prepare for the most important nine months of your life?
*Before undertaking any new form of exercise while pregnant, it is crucial that you consult with your GP or midwife that it is safe for you to do so. If you are a beginner, you should ideally start by learning yoga poses and breathing techniques with a trained yoga instructor who will show you the safest styles and breathing for pregnancy.*
Benefits of yoga during pregnancy
One of the major benefits of practicing prenatal yoga is that it enhances awareness and support of your changing body. During pregnancy, the body experiences an “accelerated pace of change”. Prenatal yoga enables you to safely stretch out your muscles and strengthen your body to help support your growing belly.
Taking time for yourself during the excitement/chaos that comes in the lead up to baby’s arrival is also vital. Prenatal yoga can not only prepare your body, but also prepares your mental state and spirit for motherhood.
Yoga experts say that the mindfulness aspect of yoga is great to help improve sleep, reduce stress and anxiety and promote a connection and bond with your baby.
Practicing mindfulness with yoga practice can help keep your mind cool, calm and collected, especially when time gets tough. Breathing exercises are a great way to do this.
Benefits of breathing exercises during pregnancy
Yoga experts believe that deep breathing exercises can:
- improve circulation of the blood, which is important for both you and baby
- boost the flow of oxygen that supplies your baby and your body
- help your body to remove waste effectively
- help you cope during labour by calming you and helping you deal with the pain
- ultimately help you to feel relaxed and reduce stress.
Be careful and avoid breathing techniques that require holding your breath or any sudden sharp breaths or movements of the belly.
What yoga poses to avoid in pregnancy?
Whilst practicing yoga can be beneficial for you and baby, it is important to listen to your body and to avoid certain yoga poses during pregnancy. Hot yoga should be avoided as it involves doing vigorous poses in a hot room, which is not safe for you or your little one.
Below is a short list if yoga poses to avoid while pregnant:
- abdominal poses
- sharp, quick breathing techniques or holding your breath
- deep or closed twists
- full inversions
- jumping movements
- belly down poses
The bottom line
Pregnancy is an exciting, yet hectic, time in your life. Prenatal yoga can be a powerful tool for pregnant woman to stay healthy and calm, especially during the Covid-19 period. Practicing prenatal yoga provides a multitude of physical and mental benefits.
The key thing to bear in mind is to always listen to your body and practice safely. It is always recommended to consult with your yoga instructor or GP and midwife should you have any questions.
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