Awhile back, Robin Merrill graced our pages with a poem, Hymn to Full. She´s back again today with a post on Yoga for Pregnancy. Robin is currently blogging at uBaby.com, a new site that is trying to build a community for pregnant women and new moms, especially those who blog (her description). Without further ado, some sweet baby-talk.
Yoga during Pregnancy
I had dabbled in yoga before I ever got pregnant, and though I enjoyed it, I didn’t really create space in my life for it.
Then, when I got pregnant, my body craved yoga. I would get restless and just feel like I needed the warrior pose, or I would die! In my experiences, yoga and pregnancy just seemed to go together, you know, like honey and asparagus – what, that didn’t happen to you during pregnancy?
In fact, the popular “Lamaze breathing” is based on yoga. Rumor has it that the good Dr. Lamaze learned this famous laboring strategy from his wife!
Maybe this spiritual and physical fit between yoga and pregnancy explains why prenatal yoga classes have become so fashionable. Nowadays, when I ask one of my pregnant girlfriends to hang out, she nearly always says, “Can’t, I’ve got yoga class.” (Occasionally, she says, “Can’t, I have to go to bed now.”)
In today’s culture, it can be difficult to have a healthy and happy pregnancy. Many women are not active enough when they first get pregnant, and pregnancy adds just enough exhaustion to their lives to prevent them from adding more physical activity. Yoga can help correct this deficit, because it helps with relaxation and inner peace. Yoga also helps us learn how to, and remember to breathe, something that is not always easy when a woman is trying to balance two or more jobs with a baby balanced on her bladder.
Yoga also improves strength and flexibility, and as such, will make labor and delivery easier. (Not easy, but easier.) Yoga during pregnancy helps keep a woman’s blood pressure healthy, and helps prevent excess weight gain. It is even believed to help with morning sickness.
If you are new to yoga, or haven’t tried it yet, try to find a class with an experienced instructor who makes you feel comfortable. A prenatal class is best because a prenatal instructor won’t recommend poses for you that are uncomfortable for a pregnant woman. If you can’t find a prenatal class in your area or if you can’t fit those that you do find into your schedule, be sure to tell your instructor that you are pregnant, even if you are only a few months along. If you can’t get to a class, there are several prenatal yoga videos available.
Here are some basic safety tips:
- After the first trimester, limit or avoid doing poses on your back because it might reduce your blood flow to baby.
- Slow and steady! Don’t force anything. Remember that the hormone relaxin is coursing through your body right now, so your body might be more vulnerable to strains and sprains.
- When you get close to the end of your pregnancy, keep a chair or wall nearby for standing poses. This might not apply to everybody, but my center of balance completely disappeared when I was about 8 months along, and I needed a chair to steady myself. (I’ve never been terribly graceful!)
- As when practicing yoga during any phase of life, listen closely to your body, and don’t do anything that doesn’t “feel” right.
- Remember to breathe.
- Always consult with your physician before beginning (or continuing with) any physical regimen.
This post was brought to you by uBaby, a new website created to help every new mom enjoy an active and healthy pregnancy. uBaby is a community of mothers and moms-to-be, and bloggers and writers are invited to register on the site and share their own expertise and experiences.