You don’t have to be a hippie (or pregnant), a pro or flexible, to enjoy the benefits of Yoga. I share how Yoga has helped me mentally and physically throughout my pregnancy, which I will continue to practice afterwards…
I simply took up Yoga as I did not have to attend to a class that I couldn’t afford, and I didn’t need some special talent to do it either. I wanted something that was simple enough to follow and benefited me and the baby during pregnancy. I simply bought a yoga mat, popped some YouTube videos on, and practised in the convenience of my own home. I followed Katy Appleton in the Apple Yoga Prenatal Series and Yoga with Adriene.
This is how Yoga helped me:
Strengthening and Straightening of the Spine
Before I fell pregnant, my spine was really curved (in the shape of an ‘S’), from my neck to the bottom of my spine. I had lower back pain, constantly. A Dr once told me that if I ever fell pregnant, I would have difficulty in carrying in the last trimester because of the curvature. This turned out to be complete BS. My spine is now straight, it kind of aligned due to the position of the baby with the combination of yoga, which helped significantly and I’ve carried perfectly.
Bonding With Your Baby
Believe it or not, Yoga helps you to bond with your baby as you concentrate on the space you’re in, the movements of your baby, the feeling of being able to carry another human…it’s an amazing feeling connecting with your unborn child, by focusing your thoughts and mind on nothing but him/her.
Practising Breathing to Help With Labour
The most important advice I’ve been given is to focus on your breathing during labour and as easy as it sounds, it’s not that simple when you’re in pain and you have to concentrate on just getting this child out! Yoga helps you focus on how you breath and how important it is, not only in pregnancy but in everyday life too. We take it for granted. Deep breaths inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth. Every breathe is important as any lack of oxygen to the brain and heart can make for a stressful birth.
Also, once you get to the third trimester, baby has taken up a lot of space and your lungs are squashed up. I have days where I can’t breath properly and my lungs feel like they sitting right under my boobs! I focus my mind on my breathing, which isn’t always easy actually and eventually it helps.
Of course, Yoga is known to help destress as the point is to not think of anything but your breathing. This ties in with the above mentioned and once you have the breathing technique right, you are completely calm. After a session, I almost feel ‘high’, ‘floating’ and rested. And if you are calm and rested, your baby is affected the same way.
Shows You What Your Body Is Capable Of
This is especially valid during the third trimester when it gets a bit more uncomfortable and tricky to move, stretch and flex. Some days you feel like a bloated elephant and I got so much more confident when I nudged myself into an awkward position, knowing and appreciating that your body is capable of anything if you focus your mind on what you want to achieve. This applies in labour and giving birth too.
Widens The Hips For Childbirth
There are certain exercises that help widen and stretch the pelvic area to assist with delivering a baby. The stretch is also amazing and releases tension.
Builds Core Muscles
I had absolutely no core muscle strength before practising Yoga and falling pregnant. Part of Yoga is focusing on your core as it the most important part of your body. The centre of your body aids the rest of your body to do the various exercises. It takes time to build this strength and I definitely have a long way to go but I have noticed the difference and it’s certainly helped me carry better. The last trimester gets really heavy and uncomfortable and I sometimes need help just getting up off the couch or bed, but Yoga can assist to make this an ‘easier’ task.
Controlling The Mind and Thoughts
What I have learnt in Yoga, I will take with me to the labour ward. If you focus on the negative and the fear, the birth will be stressful and take much longer. If you focus on the positive, keep your mind clear, tell yourself you can do it…the birth will be shorter and less stressful. Simple.
Yoga is something I will love to pass onto my little girl and can’t wait to do it with her 🙂
If you have any more benefits to add or comment on how Yoga has helped you, please share below!