The Benefits of Perinatal Yoga

Whether you’re completely new to yoga or consider yourself a master, during pregnancy is the perfect time to practice. Just this month, it has been proven by academics from Newcastle and Manchester Universities that pregnant women who attended a yoga class every week for eight weeks experienced less anxiety compared to those who received normal antenatal treatment, with a single yoga class during pregnancy having the potential to cut anxiety to mothers-to-be by a third. Yoga is the best form of exercise for pregnant women everywhere with so many health benefits for both you and your child. Perinatal yoga is so much more than your usual gym class… it’s a training in deep relaxation and preparation for birth and motherhood.

Three pregnant women practicing yoga (focus on woman in foreground)

  • Yoga asana (stretching exercises) promote circulation of blood and oxygen throughout the body, relaxing mother’s both body and mind and promoting a sense of general well-being.
  • When we practice yoga, the love hormone, Oxytocin is released. Oxytocin’s main functions is preparing the female body for childbirth, stimulating milk production so that baby can nurse, and encouraging the bond between the mom and her newborn baby. Deep breathing warms the body and allows us to release oxytocin. By taking the body through the practice of yoga, we warm the muscles and joints, making the physical body more comfortable and relaxed. By continuing the practice with savasana (deep relaxation) and meditation, we encourage the production of oxytocin even further.
  • Pregnant women tend to shift their pelvis forward as a response to the increased weight of their baby bump, which places significant strain on the lower back. Yoga and the correct practice of asana, can help to strengthen the core muscles, resulting in better posture and alleviated lower back pain.
  • Yoga strengthens the muscles used when birthing, which will make the entire process easier and less painful.
  • Pregnancy and birth also shift the position of the internal and digestive organs, causing problems with digestion such as indigestion, trapped wind and flatulence. Yoga can help to restore healthy digestion and easy any discomfort.

YOGA image YogaBellies black & white

  • Practising yoga helps to make the body strong and flexible and also increases energy levels, encourages a positive outlook, help release any tension and makes your pregnancy easier. Yoga can also be effective in rebuilding the pelvic floor and abdominal muscles after birth.
  • Focus on breathing is one of the most important benefits of yoga during pregnancy and birth. Learning to breathe properly and to make effective use of breathing techniques can calm the mind, body and soul, even in frightening or high-stress situations such as childbirth.

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