Why Expecting Moms Should Try Prenatal Yoga Classes

Why Expecting Moms Should Try Prenatal Yoga Classes

Even if you’ve never tried yoga before, now is a great time to start. Here are some of the top reasons you should try prenatal yoga classes during your pregnancy.

Yoga can help you prepare for labor.

Arguably the most important health benefit of prenatal yoga is that it can help you prepare for labor.

“Labor is one of the most physical things you’ll ever do.  You would not run a marathon without preparation, why would you go into labor without preparing for it?” Prenatal Instructor Angela Gallagher told Yoga Journal.

A typical yoga practice emphasizes concentration on breathing.  This deep, focused breathing, called ujaii, or textured  breathing, is an organic component to any yoga practice, and can help pregnant women prepare for the patterned breathing used during labor.

Practicing yoga can help lower your stress levels. 

Yoga is all about aligning mind and body.  In fact, the word yoga comes from the Sanskrit word yuj which literally means “to yolk” or “to unite”.  During a time when your body is going through tremendous changes, this balance and alignment is incredibly important.

Hilaria Baldwin, a yoga instructor, and wife of actor Alec Baldwin, told Pregnancy Magazine that, “the number one thing in taking care of yourself during pregnancy is having low stress.  It’s really about being more in touch with your body, and yoga teaches you that.”

The concentration on slow, steady breathing can also help relieve stress.  And what more stressful time is there in life than the anticipation of your first child?  According to a 2009 issue of the Harvard Mental Health Letter, there has been scientific proof that yoga helps the body deal with stress by slowing heart and breathing rates, and lowering blood pressure.

Yoga can help decrease muscle pains associated with pregnancy. 

The extra weight aquired during pregnancy can cause back, leg, ankle, and shoulder pains.  Stretching out these areas of your body can help relieve pressure and reduce pain.  A regular practice can also help reduce nausea associated with early stages of pregnancy.

According to the Mayo Clinic, a 2012 study published in “Preventative Medicine” found that practicing yoga for 1 hour 3 times/week during pregnancy can help prevent complications.  It can decrease the risk of having low birthweight babies, pregnancy related diabetes, and high blood pressure.

Other health benefits include improved sleep, decreased lower back pain, carpel tunnel, headaches, and shortness of breath.  Yoga has also proven to decrease the risk of preterm labor.

Modifications in yoga are always accessible.  

Most yoga classes (both prenatal and regular) are accustomed to offering modifications for each pose.  So, whether you’re in your first or third trimester, an experienced yogi or a beginner, there are many options and variations available for your practice.

Its important to note that there are certain postures it’s best to avoid.  For example, bend from your hips, not your back, to maintain a normal spine curvature.  Avoid lying on your belly, deep forward or backward bends, and inversions.

A good rule of thumb is to not work to the point of feeling strained — you should be able to hold a normal conversation.  If you find yourself short of breath, slowly sink into child’s pose and focus on deep breathing.

Finally, try to find a class taught by an instructor who has experience teaching prenatal classes.  Regardless of their experience, make sure that your instructor knows you’re pregnant, so he/she can offer adjustments and modifications when necessary.

Yoga classes are a great way to connect with other moms. 

Your first pregnancy can be the scariest 9 months of your life, especially if you feel alone.  Attending pre-natal yoga classes can be a great way to connect with other women who are in the same stage of life.

A yoga studio that specializes in pre-natal classes might be a bit further away, as they are less common, but its a great place to connect with other expecting moms.

Trying yoga doesn’t have to be expensive.  

One of the most common things that keeps women from trying yoga is the price tag.  Some small boutique studios charge up to $20 for a single class.

While studio classes can be pricy, yoga doesn’t have to be expensive.  Search daily deal sites like Groupon and LIving Social to find deals at lesser known (but still quality!) studios near you.  Many studios offer at least one class a week at a (free or discounted) “community” rate.  Your local YMCA or gym may offer prenatal yoga classes at a much lower cost.

Finally, there is the option of practicing from home.  Sure, its nice to have the in-class experience, but having the freedom and flexibility to practice from home can be a great option.

Yoga at home requires little more than a yoga mat and a laptop.  Check out our series of SmartMom prenatal yoga videos here.

RELATED QUESTIONS

Anyone in their first trimester? I really want to continue to work out and sign up for prenatal yoga…

Prenatal yoga? Yay or nay?

I’m 6 months pregnant with #2 and I’ve been going to the gym lately (8 days in a row!). I want to go to a yoga class, I obviously would skip any poses that would require me to be flat on my back or stomach, but my question is do you think it’s weird to go to a regular yoga class when you’re that pregnant?

My son is 1 month and a few days old, I usually breastfed him during the daytime and sometime pump to give him a bottle at night. I’m wondering if it is to early for me to take him to a 30 min mommy and baby yoga class? I’m afraid he’d fuss and cry the whole time and ruin other moms experience. Anybody attended one with a child that young?

Serious question…any one know good prenatal yoga/Pilates? I don’t have money to purchase the apps on my phone and don’t really enjoy YouTube, all the classes in gym are expensive…

Anyone know of any free websites/apps with yoga poses and prenatal exercises? Thanks!

Looking for a prenatal yoga DVD to do at home. Any recommendations welcome for the best ones out there!

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About Mary @ SmartMom

Mary is the Community Manager of SmartMom. She is a new mom to a bubbly little boy who has fire red hair and loves to smile. She loves to walk her dog, Bob, and watch Chicago sports with her husband. Go Cubs Go!