Is yoga a good exercise during pregnancy?


Pregnancy is a time of huge physical changes. Beyond just carrying the baby, a woman's body can face many types of complications. One of the most recommended solutions to many of these issues is yoga. Gentle forms of yoga can be a great way for mums to be to keep active, fit, and healthy.


General health

Daily yoga can offer a boost to a woman's general health during pregnancy, and keeping active will help prevent potential health problems. It will also help keep your stress levels down and maintain flexibility. This makes it a great way to prepare for labour, too.


Pelvic pain

As the baby grows, there is increasing weight and pressure on the mother's pelvis. This can cause a serious problem, known as symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD) or pelvic girdle pain (PGP). In some cases, SPD/PGP can leave a mum to be unable to walk.


Practising yoga throughout pregnancy can strengthen the muscles around the pelvis, as well as the core muscles of the body. This helps support the weight of the baby and can offset some of the problems that cause SPD. If a pregnant woman is already experiencing pelvic pain, yoga can be a great form of exercise to help ease the pain. It is often recommended alongside physiotherapy and osteopathy as the preferred treatment for SPD and PGP.



Mental health

The benefits of yoga for mental health have been well documented. This is no different during pregnancy. In fact, the hormonal changes that occur in pregnancy can cause mental health problems such as depression. Regular yoga can help combat this in a variety of ways.

The simple act of going to a regular yoga class can help offer a normal schedule. This can be a welcome relief in a schedule full of antenatal appointments. It offers something that is just for mum, and can be a peaceful respite from the stress of preparing for baby's arrival.


Morning sickness

One of the most dreaded parts of pregnancy is morning sickness. Many pregnant women find that keeping active can help with their morning sickness symptoms. Vigorous exercise might be too much, but the gentle option of yoga can be the perfect solution. Certain poses can even aid in digestion, making them an ideal choice for morning sickness.

Even women suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum, a severe and often devastating form of morning sickness, can be helped by yoga. Many sufferers find that the deep breathing exercises taught by yoga can help with nausea and sickness, even if they aren't well enough to do the physical components of yoga.

 



Labour

The biggest benefit of pregnancy yoga has to be the preparation for labour. By keeping active through pregnancy, a woman is more likely to cope with labour better. A strengthened core and pelvic floor, both of which can be targeted in yoga practice, will be a big help when it comes time to face contractions. They can also help with active labour and pushing.

Again, the breathing exercises that can be learned during yoga will also be a big help during labour. Many of the breathing techniques aim to keep you calm and breathing in a regular pattern. Deep breaths are a great way to help cope with pain, making any pain relief you do choose to use more effective.


After birth

While pregnancy yoga can help with many things during the nine months, it can also help after birth. Yoga is a great way to keep fit after the birth of a baby. Many gentle stretches and poses can be done soon after birth, when other forms of exercise are too strenuous for your recovering body.

By starting yoga during pregnancy, you can establish a healthy pattern that can be worked into your postpartum life. Mum and baby yoga sessions can follow on from antenatal yoga, offering a calm and energising bonding experience along with a great workout.

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