Prenatal yoga exercises or poses are safe and healthy for both mother and the baby. This article presents a few yoga poses for pregnant women.
It is well proven that a pregnant woman should perform prenatal yoga or exercises throughout her pregnancy as they help strengthen the muscles and build endurance, that prepares the mother for childbirth. Yoga paired with any cardiovascular exercise like walking is considered to be an ideal way to remain fit and be in shape during your entire pregnancy. It teaches you some basic breathing techniques that help you face the physical and emotional demands of labor, childbirth, and motherhood.
Also, these poses help prevent common pregnancy-related problems like back and hip pain, strained ligaments, constipation, prolapsed organs, and incontinence due to stress on the musculoskeletal system. Besides this, prenatal yoga helps cure morning sickness, tone muscles, manage weight gain, and makes it much easier to get back in shape after delivery.
Yoga Poses To Perform During Pregnancy
Here are some of the yoga poses that can help you deal with pregnancy symptoms, ensuring smoother and easier delivery, and speedy recovery after childbirth.
Cobbler’s pose or Baddha Konasana
It is a sitting pose that helps open the pelvis. While doing this pose, ensure that your hip bones are well grounded on the mat. Also, you can keep pillows or rolled-up towels under your knees to prevent hyper extension of your hips. Steps to be followed are:
- Sit straight against a wall with the soles of your feet touching each other.
- Slowly press your knees down and away from each other, but do not force them apart.
- Remain in this position, as long as you are comfortable.
Pelvic tilt or cat-cow pose helps relieve back pain which is a common problem during pregnancy. Steps to be followed are:
- Get down on your hands and knees, with your arms shoulder-width apart and knees hip-width apart.
- Keep your arms straight, and tuck your buttocks under and round your back as you breathe in.
- Return to your normal position, relax your back as you breathe out and then repeat the steps again.
Mountain Pose or Tadasana
This pose induces the power of stillness, strength, and immovable stability. Steps to be followed are:
- Stand straight with both feet hip-width apart with your heels turning outwards and weight on your toes.
- Let your arms hang downwards and move the back of your pelvis away from your lower back.
- Breathe in and out with your neck straight and shoulders relaxed.
- While doing this, look straight and stand motionless as long as you are comfortable.
Warrior Pose or Veerabhadrasana
This pose increases your stamina, improves balance and concentration, and also relieves backaches. Steps to be followed are:
- Kneel down and keep your back straight. Step forward by keeping your right foot in front of the knee and upper leg parallel with the floor.
- Rest your left foot on the floor with its toes and lower leg on the mat. Stretch by bending your right leg more and more.
- Lift your arms, and hook both thumbs together. Also, stretch your arms upwards and try to pull the thumbs slightly apart.
- Now raise your knee at the back so that your weight is evenly divided between the leg in front and the leg at the back, and look forward.
Yoga Poses to Avoid During Pregnancy
Following are the yoga poses that you should avoid to prevent any injury or complication during pregnancy:
Deep twists from the belly like Ardha Matsyendrasana can compress the internal organs, including the uterus, hence should be avoided.
Any pranayama that requires breath retention or rapid inhales and exhales (such as Kapalbhati) should be avoided. Instead of this, you can start practicing birthing breath i.e. deep inhaling through nose and exhaling through the mouth.
Full Wheel Pose
Back bending or Urdhva Dhanurasana is another pose that should not be performed especially after the first trimester.
Such poses that entirely involves abdominal work or excessive stretching of abdominal muscles should also be avoided.
Poses that demand a person to lie on the belly can be practiced till the first trimester, but should be avoided during the later stages of pregnancy.
During your pregnancy, the body produces a hormone called ‘relaxin’, which softens your inflexible parts (like bones and ligaments) to make space for the baby and to prepare you for the delivery. This softening of the ligaments or joints can make them vulnerable to overstretching. Hence, be careful before performing these exercises. Also before doing any yoga pose, do consider the trimester of your pregnancy.
Seek out an instructor who is specifically trained in prenatal yoga, as he/she may have a better idea regarding which pose is safe for you. Don’t try to hold these yoga poses for too long, especially if you feel any pain or discomfort. Remember to sink into the yoga positions slowly and carefully, and don’t over stress yourself. Also drink lots of water before, during, and after exercising to keep yourself hydrated.
Disclaimer: This HerHaleness article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.