How prenatal yoga can help mum during pregnancy and labour

Relax, de-stress and get strong, and your body and baby will love you for it.

Yoga has long been understood to have many health benefits, prenatal yoga in particular can be especially helpful with mum’s physical and emotional wellbeing. 
 
Consistently practicing yoga and meditation can positively impact your mental and physical health (even though you’re carrying a watermelon in your belly!).
 
Amanda Pilkington practiced yoga during most of her pregnancies. She found the time just for herself a gift. 
 
“I did prenatal yoga with my first four pregnancies. I loved the time out each week, one and half hour classes, the relaxation, specific exercises tailored to what stage you were at, sharing how your week had been. It was also good to hear what other ladies at different stages were experiencing. I did Pilates for pregnancy number five, which I also enjoyed,” Amanda says.
 
Not everyone attends classes outside the home, in fact, these days many people practice prenatal yoga online. Whether you choose a class or practice at home, aside from the social aspect, the benefits are basically the same.
 
Ana Davis is an authority on yoga for women's health and is Director of Bliss Baby Yoga. She believes both prenatal yoga and yoga postpartum are great for a wide range of reasons.
“Yoga helps gently strengthen the body in preparation for the rigours of labour and new motherhood, plus it helps release tight aching muscles due to the stresses placed on the body by the growing uterus. It can also help alleviate some of the discomforts and minor complaints of pregnancy ranging from varicose veins to back pain,” Ana says.
 
Yoga, especially the right kind of pregnancy yoga can be rejuvenating which can help counteract the fatigue that may accompany your pregnancy. It is also a great time for reflection on, and connection with, the changes happening to your body as your child develops inside you, but not all yoga is appropriate during pregnancy. Your ligaments soften in preparation for labour, and over-stretching can be a problem, so an instructor who understands pregnancy yoga poses is a must. 
 
“You will need to alter your practice according to what trimester you are in and this may also change from day to day. It's important to go to a qualified and experienced prenatal yoga teacher who can support you with an individualised practice that goes with rather than against your energy,” suggests Ana.
“You need to get advice from a qualified prenatal yoga teacher and/or physiotherapist if you have any pain or discomfort in the sacrum (the back of the pelvis) or the pelvis. These could indicate pelvic or sacral instability that can be made worse by the wrong kind of yoga.
 
“There are also a number of yoga poses that either need to be avoided or modified during your pregnancy which your experienced and qualified prenatal yoga teacher will be able to advise you on,” Ana says. To read more about the benefits and risks of certain types of prenatal yoga, click here.
 
See your health care provider if you have sciatic-nerve pain running down your buttocks and legs, and you should seek permission from your health care provider before commencing yoga if you have any complications in your pregnancy. 

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