Pregnancy is an important period for every woman. It is a process where your baby’s life begins within your womb and progresses up to a phase when you can safely expose your baby to the outside world.
Pregnancy is not only a unique and joyful event, but it also brings extensive changes in your life. Pregnancy requires complete care of the mother and child. Regular medical check-ups, consuming a balanced diet, and regular exercise are simple steps for pregnant women to maintain their overall health and wellbeing.
In addition to biological interventions, mental, emotional, and social support is equally beneficial. So, at this stage, yoga is a holistic health approach and an effective system to manage pregnancy issues. Read on!
The Importance of Yoga during Pregnancy
The primary goal of yoga for pregnant women is to become aware about yogic practices and overcome pregnancy-related complications. Your body undergoes various changes during pregnancy, creating stress on physical and mental levels. Yoga is a holistic health approach that connects your body, mind, and spirit.
It encourages and allows you to maintain a healthy body and mind during pregnancy. Besides, practicing yoga regularly during pregnancy can increase your pelvic floor muscles’ strength, flexibility, and endurance required for adequate childbirth. Yoga also helps you develop breathing mechanisms, ensuring more comfortable labor. Yoga can help:
- Reduce stress and depression
- Improve your sleep quality
- Increase strength, flexibility, and endurance in muscles
- Decrease cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine pain
- Decrease the intensity of nausea and vomiting
- Decrease headaches, migraines, and mood changes
- Reduce the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome
- Reduce the risk of preterm labor
- Reduce the risk of intrauterine growth restriction
- Maintain metabolic and homeostatic levels
Guidelines for Yoga during Pregnancy
Although yoga offers a wide range of physical and mental health benefits to pregnant women, each pregnancy is different, even for the same woman. Therefore, it is crucial to listen to your body and carry out practices that align with your needs or feel right each day.
Consult Your Health Provider
Make sure you consult your primary healthcare provider and an expert yogi to modify poses according to your health status and pregnancy condition. Experts recommend concentrating on maintaining proper alignment and breathing.
For example, if you want to practice Asanas (meditation poses), you must practice them with proper guidance. We suggest practicing Asanas under the supervision of an expert practitioner.
Modify Yoga Poses
The general rule of thumb is to modify yoga poses to accommodate your growing belly. At the same time, finding yoga poses that are less demanding to the body is essential to ensure a healthy pregnancy progression.
Eat a Light Snack before the Practice
Blood sugar levels rise and fall more frequently during pregnancy. Expert yogis and health professionals do not recommend people to eat before practicing yoga. However, there is an exception for pregnant women. So, you can have a light snack or fruit juice before the session at home or the yoga center.
Focus on Relaxation Poses
Turn your body with your growing body with relaxation poses and rhythmic breathing during the practice. We recommend performing modified versions of yoga poses like the child’s pose, squat pose, cat pose, and butterfly pose. Make sure you focus on your body’s strength and stability instead of endurance and flexibility.
Do not Compress Your Uterus
Compressing your uterus while performing Asanas, such as closed twists and forward bending, can lead to complications and risk the baby’s developing structures. Besides, avoid Asanas that overstretch your abdominal muscles. So, you must not do backbends.
Practice Open Twists
While it is crucial to avoid Asanas that require compressing your abdominal muscles, you can practice open twists. It requires you to move your body from the head to the waist only. For example, restorative poses like a supported bridge with pillows or reclining butterfly with a cushion are less demanding backbends.
Avoid Inverted Asanas
Practicing inverted Asanas can cause complications during pregnancy. Therefore, we recommend avoiding Asanas like headstand, handstand, and shoulder stand. In addition, avoid compressing your abdominal muscles in twisted standing poses and abdominal poses, including Navasana and Naukasana. Do not lie on your stomach when practicing Dhanurasana. Consult your teacher or health provider for modified yoga poses.
Take Care of Your Spine
Your spine supports your body weight. A lack of flexibility, strength, and endurance in your spine can cause lumbar spine (lower back pain), leading to degenerative disc disease, herniated disc, spondylolisthesis, spinal stenosis, and other complications.
Because your uterus and baby’s weight puts pressure on your spinal muscles, nerves, and blood vessels, it is essential to take care of your spine. For instance, avoid lying flat on your spine if you feel sweaty, dizzy, short of breath, or nauseous. Likewise, avoid raising your head above the head if you feel bewildered when standing.
Recommended Yoga Poses for Pregnant Women
|First Trimester||● Head-to-Knee Forward Bend
● Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend
● Cat-Cow Pose
|Second Trimester||● Bound Angle Pose
● Child’s Pose
● Triangle Pose
● Standing Forward Bend
|Third Trimester||● Warrior II
● Garland Pose
● Side Corpse Pose
Yogic Diet during Pregnancy
Pregnancy is the most precious, joyous, and happy time of life for women. However, at the same time, pregnancy is challenging and requires a woman to adopt healthy ways to maintain her overall health and wellbeing. That way, you can support the development of your baby.
The need for micro and macronutrients increase during the pregnancy period. Essential nutrients, vitamins, proteins, and minerals can protect you from developing acute and chronic health conditions.
A balanced diet during pregnancy also protects your baby against complications and disorders in later life. The yogic diet increases energy levels, prevents diseases, and improves your overall health and baby’s wellbeing.
So, make sure you rely on a balanced diet and organic food. Try to avoid food that contains artificial ingredients, additives, preservatives, and chemicals. Your primary food intake should focus on organic, wholesome food items to ensure increased nutritional value.
Besides, if you want to get the most out of your yoga practice, make sure you focus on a diet rich in leafy greens, coconut milk, sprouts, brown rice, multigrain, porridge, and milk with honey. We recommend the following:
|Vegetables||Leafy greens, apple gourd, ridge gourd, beetroot, carrot, spinach, tomato, cucumber, and turnip|
|Dry Fruits||Dates, cashew, dry grapes, walnut, and almonds|
|Cereals||Whole wheat, unpolished rice, and multigrain flour|
|Fresh Fruits||Guava, apple, banana, pear, orange, and sweet orange|
|Soups||Carrot, spinach, beetroot, coriander, and tomato are all mixed properly or make separate soups|
|Juices||Carrot, apple, and orange juice|
|Others||Buttermilk, lemon water, and coconut water|
Remember to avoid excess coffee, tea, sugar, refined white flour, and deep-fried and oily food items. Ensure you eat small portions of food at regular intervals and avoid spicy and heavy food because they can cause flatulence. Consume more vegetables and fruits and reduce your salt intake. Limit sugar intake and honey to milk.
Yoga is a traditional technique that connects your body, mind, and spirit. Combining it with regular exercise, meditation, and deep breathing can help you open your chakras and the third eye, allowing you to achieve a higher level of consciousness and improve your health during pregnancy. Follow the tips and tricks given above to achieve your health goals during pregnancy.
About the Author
Deborah Byrne is a parenting coach whose primary goal is for all busy parents to feel supported on the amazing journey of parenthood by reducing everyday stresses, living more mindfully and focusing on what really matters in this lifetime, our children. For more information visit https://deborahbyrne.com/