Pregnancy Exercise: Yoga
Yoga is said to have originated in ancient India. It is a series of postures, exercises, and stretching that is designed to harmonize and unify body, mind, and spirit. Applied before, during, and after birth, Yoga may help moms have an easier go of labor, birth, and post-partum recovery. Here are some ways Yoga can help moms-to-be.
Being able to stay calm, relaxed, and centered can help during labor, and Yoga teaches how to align the body with these mental states. Muscle looseness and flexibility is also a part of Yoga that can enhance labor.
Certain Yoga postures may help align the baby properly in the mother’s uterus and, later, in the pelvis. These postures may also prevent the baby from changing out of the right position, such as moving into a breech position. Some practitioners advocate Yoga for preventing and even correcting wrongly-positioned babies.
What position the mother is in during labor makes a big difference in her experience and the success of the outcome. Yoga positions are said to facilitate birth and help move the baby down the birth canal with minimal injury.
Yoga involves meditation (although it does not have to), which can help a mom keep herself calm and centered during labor. Resisting the urge to give in to fear is important for a healthy birth experience, and Yoga meditation can help that.
Many women experience a lot of pain in their backs during pregnancy and labor. Yoga exercises specifically stretch and loosen the back muscles while also strengthening them. This can go a long way in making the mom feel more comfortable during pregnancy and labor.
An interesting cross-over between Yoga and certain prepared childbirth methods is breath control. Being able to focus on breathing and “centering” yourself can prove to be quite an asset during labor.
For some women, the post-partum period can be very rough. For others, it’s not a big problem. Regardless, Yoga can help speed recovery and enhance much-needed energy during the post-partum time. Certain poses and exercises can really help bring muscles back into tone and shape, but in a gentle way. Experts agree that checking with your doctor is a good idea before doing Yoga within the first six weeks of delivery.
The Whole Person
What many women really like about prenatal and post-partum Yoga is the whole-person approach involved. Pregnancy and birth also involve the whole person, so Yoga seems like a natural part of the process. Yoga can help with the emotional as well as the physical adjustments associated with pregnancy, labor and birth.