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5 Health Benefits of Prenatal Yoga

Image for representation.

Image for representation.

One way to exercise while you’re pregnant is to practice prenatal yoga - but only after you've consulted with your doctor and under the guidance of a trained instructor.

Pregnancy brings along various changes in a woman's life, both physically and mentally. It is extremely important that expecting mothers take good care of their health at this point in life. And while many habits and activities may need to be reevaluated for this time, most women feel especially sceptical about exercising. However, experts have acknowledged that exercising during pregnancy is not only safe but can have beneficial outcomes for the expecting mother. One way to exercise while you’re pregnant is to practice prenatal yoga - but only after you've consulted with your doctor and under the guidance of a trained instructor. Here are some benefits you could gain:

1. It can calm you down

During pregnancy, there is a rush of hormones in the body of the pregnant woman. Women often complain of anxiety, stress, anger and mood swings during this time of life. Breathing-focused asanas such as anulom vilom and bhramari pranayama can help deal with this emotional upheaval. These breathing techniques help in reducing stress and anxiety and are believed to be comforting for the baby as well. A study conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan in 2012 showed that practising mindful yoga (a combination of physical yoga poses with meditation practices) during pregnancy can provide significant relief from depression that can be experienced during pregnancy.

2. Less delivery-related complications

It has been established that yoga is a safe and gentle way to stay fit during pregnancy but it can also ensure that you give birth to a healthy baby. A study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in 2012 showed that practising prenatal yoga can help improve the birth weight of the baby and reduce the risk of preterm labour. It also reduces the risk of gestational hypertension (pregnancy-induced high blood pressure).

3. Relief from pregnancy-related complications

During pregnancy, a woman experiences several ailments such as lower back pain, nausea, insomnia, headaches and shortness of breath. Studies have shown that prenatal yoga can help in dealing with all these problems. While practising prenatal yoga asanas, the muscles of the mother’s body stretch in a way that their blood circulation improves significantly. The deep breathing exercises help provide oxygen to the baby as well as the mother.

4. It prepares the mother for delivery

The thought of delivery can be scary for expecting mothers, especially for the women who are giving birth for the first time. But various asanas can prepare a mother for her delivery both physically and mentally. Practising prenatal yoga helps open up the hips and strengthen the legs, thus easing being in different positions during labour.

The hip opening asanas help in softening and widening the pelvis, thus reducing the pain during labour. Malasana, the squat position, acts as one of the most optimal positions for labour and birthing, so practising it beforehand could help later during delivery.

5. It eases pregnancy pains

Prenatal yoga helps in stretching the muscles and ligaments of the pregnant woman’s body, thus making space for the growing baby. Yoga helps in relieving the pain that occurs in the lower back and legs as the baby grows and expands in the womb.

For more information, read our article on Exercises during pregnancy.

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first published:December 02, 2020, 18:45 IST