Many people practice yoga to burn calories and create long, lean muscles, but there are other benefits to yoga that you may not know about. Women in particular can greatly benefit from practicing yoga, especially if they are trying to get pregnant or already pregnant. Here’s how yoga can help women through every stage of pregnancy, from conception to delivery:
If you are having trouble conceiving, it could be because of stress or anxiety. But, it can be difficult to relax when you now have one more thing to worry about: your fertility. Yoga is a great way to tune out all of the voices in your head so your body can finally relax, which may help you get pregnant. If you would like to relax to improve your chances of conceiving, there are a few poses that may help, including the forward bend, legs up the wall, or child’s pose.
Yoga can also help you improve circulation, which means your reproductive organs will receive more nutrients and oxygen from your blood. For women, an increased blood flow could nourish the endometrial lining of the uterus and improve fertility. To improve your circulation, try the cobra and bridge poses.
Pregnant women can also benefit from a consistent yoga routine. How? One way is by strengthening the pelvic floor muscles, which support a woman’s reproductive organs and carry the weight of the baby during pregnancy. If you do not strengthen these muscles, you may suffer from incontinence, back pain, prolapse of the uterus, and pain during sexual intercourse. Luckily, prenatal yoga instructors can teach you how to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles to help you comfortably carry your baby throughout your pregnancy.
Women often start to experience aches and pains as their bellies grow bigger during a pregnancy. Why? Normally, we use our abdominal and lower back muscles to keep our bodies upright, but as a pregnant woman’s belly begins to grow, her abdominal muscles become weaker as they stretch out. This forces the lower back muscles to step in and take over, which can quickly lead to lower back pain. To avoid this problem, women can engage in prenatal yoga that is designed to strengthen the abdominal muscles and take some of the load off of the lower back.
Yoga can also help women deal with many of the ailments that come along with pregnancy, such as nausea, fatigue, and headaches.
As you get closer and closer to your delivery date, you can start to focus on preparing your body for labor. Begin by practicing your conscious breathing. Yogis use this type of breathing to push themselves in difficult poses because it relaxes the body and distracts the mind. Besides helping you in your yoga practice, conscious breathing can also prepare you for labor. Engage in conscious breathing while you are giving birth to distract yourself from the pain and focus on delivering your baby.
That’s not the only way that yoga can prepare you for delivery. Certain poses such as lunges, thread the needle, and happy baby, can target the hips to increase flexibility, which may make delivering your baby much easier.
Don’t end your practice after you give birth—yoga is great for new moms, too! Yoga can provide much needed relaxation for new moms who are trying to balance the demands of having a baby, career, and personal life. Continue your practice to help you manage the stress of your everyday life as a modern mom.