If you are expecting your first child, you may be looking for therapies or light exercises to improve your pregnancy symptoms and outcomes. One exercise you may want to try is prenatal yoga. Prenatal yoga classes are designed for expectant mothers, which means that you won't be doing back bends, lying on your stomach, or doing twisting motions that put pressure on the abdomen. Instead, the focus is on gentle stretches and breathing techniques. Before you begin a prenatal yoga program, it's important to discuss it with your health care provider. If they give you the go-ahead, then you may be able to reap the following benefits from this type of program.
You Can Reduce Anxiety Levels
Unfortunately, increased anxiety levels are quite common for expectant mothers due to fluctuating hormones and the stress of preparing for the baby. While some anxiety is normal, rampant, unchecked anxiety that causes depression can be an issue since it can affect blood flow in the uterus and could possibly result in lower birth weights. However, a review of various clinical trials found that prenatal yoga can improve a woman's mental condition regarding anxiety and depression. Prenatal yoga can improve delivery times and reduce obstetrical complications.
You Can Reduce Pain Symptoms
While prenatal yoga is a gentler yoga, it can be a great low-impact activity to tone the body. Prenatal yoga can help you strengthen your pelvic floor, hip, and abdominal muscles in preparation for delivery. Strengthening these muscles can be beneficial for women who want to have minimal or no analgesics during delivery. Besides strengthening your muscles, prenatal yoga can help you learn how to focus your breath—similar to Lamaze breathing—so that you can relax your body and decrease the overall perception of pain.
You Can Reduce Insomnia
Hormone fluctuations may cause nausea, heartburn, and even vivid dreams at night which could lead to insomnia. If you usually sleep on your stomach or on your back, then you may be uncomfortable having to shift to side-sleeping. As the baby grows, you may not be able to get restful sleep due to back pain, breast tenderness, and leg cramps. The urge to urinate may disrupt your sleep. Urinary frequency can occur due to increased levels of progesterone. As the uterus expands, it can also create pressure on the bladder that could lead to an increase in urinary frequency. In short, there are a number of factors that can lead to insomnia. However, prenatal yoga can improve the functioning of the parasympathetic nervous system, which can help your body get better rest at night. One study found that prenatal yoga exercises could help women with third trimester-related insomnia.
Contact a local yoga studio, such as Harlem Yoga Studio, to learn more about prenatal yoga.