Prenatal Yoga Benefits For Expectant Mothers

Prenatal Yoga Benefits For Expectant Mothers | KeatingBartlett.com

The moment I found out I was pregnant and had it confirmed by doctors, I knew I wanted to get involved in some prenatal yoga classes. I used to do yoga throughout high school and was beginning to get back into it with my sister, Hannah before we moved so I was eager to get started again. Not only was I wanting to join a prenatal yoga class for the health benefits, I also wanted to find other pregnant women that I could connect with. It was hard enough being in a brand new place, but being new to an area and being pregnant made it feel next to impossible to meet people. Not to mention, I just wasn’t handling pregnant life very well either at the time. I was desperately needing something to get me out of the house and focusing on my health and wellbeing. So I joined a prenatal yoga class in my area and instantly fell in love. It’s been one of the best things I could possibly do for my health, especially while pregnant. Here’s why all expectant mothers should join a  prenatal yoga class at some point during their pregnancy.

  1. It prepares you for labor and delivery. I had no idea how beneficial prenatal yoga would be in terms of preparing me for labor and delivery. Being that I’m only 18 weeks along (officially five months, which is CRAZY to me), I just haven’t given labor a whole lot of thought quite yet. Partly because that step in this process scares the crap out of me and partly because it’s still months away. But half the stretches and poses we do in my yoga class are positions specifically designed to improve flexibility in your hips and the lower half of your body. It also teaches you how to relax and build the muscles needed for delivery, making labor a bit “easier”. Lastly, it teaches you helpful breathing techniques that can be used to calm yourself during delivery and handle the pain in a more effective manner.
  2. It improves your flexibility. I thought I wasn’t too bad on flexibility until I got into this class. There were women in there who were 9 months pregnant and five times more flexible than me. It was insane! But man do I feel better and more stretched out after a good yoga class. I try to do the classes in the morning as well so it’s a good start to my day and stretches do an excellent job of waking me up so I’m ready for the day ahead of me. And by increasing your flexibility, you’re warming up your muscles which can reduce the chances of tearing a muscle during your day.
  3. It improves your strength. It’s crazy how much muscle you can build from yoga. As calming as it is, it’s still a work out and prenatal yoga classes target all the right muscle groups that you’ll be using during labor and delivery. Your thighs being a big one. I actually had no idea how many muscles were required for labor, but apparently it takes a lot of muscle strength. Even as someone who works out five days a week, my legs were killing me after my first day in prenatal yoga. So these classes are essential to preparing your muscles for what’s to come.
  4. It gives you a deeper connection to your baby. I’ve had a tough time feeling a connection to our baby these past five months. I think it’s due to the fact that I’m not showing much, have minimal pregnancy symptoms, and still don’t know the gender. So I’ve felt a bit disconnected. Just taking the time out of my week to take a prenatal yoga class, reminds me that I’m pregnant and gives me that undivided one-on-one time with our baby. These classes create a bond that I can’t really explain unless you’ve been pregnant as well. But it’s that one time during the week where I feel the most connected to our baby. I’m even finding myself touching my stomach more and more in the last few weeks as well, looking for that connection. So if you’re having a tough time making the connection with your baby then taking a prenatal yoga class could help you a ton!
  5. It allows you to connect with other expectant mothers. Being that we are brand new to the area and I have zero friends here, prenatal yoga has been so helpful in meeting new people. And to make it better, they’re people who are on the same page in life that I’m on. So it gives us more to talk about, allowing us to connect in a way I’m just not able to connect with my non-parent friends. It’s so helpful to have people in your life who know what you’re going through and are able to offer advice and helpful tips based on first-hand experience. Sometimes you just need someone who understands.
  6. It both keeps you and baby healthy. Living a healthy lifestyle is already important, but when you’re carrying another human life, it becomes almost crucial. Having healthy habits greatly increases your chances at having a healthy baby as well which is why many doctors suggest yoga classes along with light to moderate work outs as well. Participating in a prenatal yoga class regularly has the potential to reduce the chances of pre-term labor and/or delivering a low-birthweight baby (*this is based on a study conducted in India and published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine). For some mothers, the chances of going into pre-term labor is much higher so why to do everything you can to reduce those odds?
  7. It reduces stress and anxiety. Working out does wonders for your mental health. I really cannot stress that enough. While it can be challenging to motivate yourself to go to the gym or attend a class when you have anxiety and other mental health issues, it really is so beneficial for you. While yoga is a full-blown workout, it’s calming at the same time. It gets you in tune with your body as well as your mind and does a great job at focusing your thoughts elsewhere and clearing your mind. After a stressful week or a challenging day, yoga can be one of the best ways to re-center yourself so that you can tackle the rest of your day or week without breaking down. Plus, it’s not good for the baby to live a live full of stress either. So this helps both you and baby have a happy and healthy nine months.
  8. It can help with common pregnancy symptoms. The big symptom that it helps me with is lower back pain. Since I have scoliosis, it’s already super important for me to consistently work out my back to keep those muscles strong. So I’m always making sure to make my back a priority and my prenatal yoga classes have been a great addition to my work out. Because of my work outs, I’ve had very minimal back pain during this pregnancy. So if you’re having some aches and pains, this could help relieve some of that tension. In addition to helping with lower back pain, it can also assist in decreasing headaches, shortness of breath, nausea, and so many other symptoms you may be experiencing. So if you’re having a rough day, symptom-wise than a class may be just what you need.

Did you (or do you plan to) do prenatal yoga during your pregnancy?

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  • Pilates is my exercise of choice, it fits my personality a bit better than yoga–I think it’s very important to exercise while pregnant if you’re allowed to! It should definitely make the whole experience healthier.

    • I’ve been wanting to try pilates for the longest time! My yoga studio offers pilates as well so I’ll have to look into some classes 🙂 it’s very important to me that I continue to work out while pregnant. I’ve already had way too many people to “take it easy” and “take a break” from the work outs for a while and I literally look at them like they’re crazy haha as long as you’re listening to your body and making adjustments when needed, working out is very safe throughout pregnancy and highly suggested as well.

  • Ruthie Ridley

    I never did a ton of yoga, but when I did I always felt like a million dollars!!

    • Right?! I’m the same way! I used to be super sporadic with it. But every time I got back to it, I always left feeling amazing.

  • Jen

    I tried to get into yoga when I was pregnant but I always felt it to be awkward lol. However, I did keeping running while I was pregnant and that certainly helped me endure 36 hours of labor.

    • Oh gosh girl. 36 hours?! I need to get back into running so bad haha I was never that into running, but the moment I became pregnant, running became so much more challenging. I get winded so much quicker these days and it completely sucks. So I’ve switched to other forms of cardio for now. I’d love to get back into it though. As much as I hated it, it did wonders for my health and always made me feel awesome afterwards.

      • Jen

        Haha yeah 36 hours, it was challenging and amazing all at the same time. I had a hard time running in the beginning of my pregnancy (even though I had been a runner for several years prior) but after I hit about 20 weeks it became easier which really made no sense to me haha.

        • I tried to go for a jog yesterday and my stomach just felt way too strange. I’m not used to having anything extra in that area of my body so the fact that it jiggled bothered me 🙁 plus it made me slightly worried that I’d hurt the baby or something lol so I ended up going for a long uphill walk instead.

  • My Silly Monkey

    I wish I could have done yoga when I was pregnant ( I couldn’t bend or lift anything for about 3 months and then when I could…I was too worried about it) Maybe next time!

    • I would literally cry if my doctor told me I couldn’t do yoga or go to the gym haha my work outs are what keep me sane right now. We found out I was pregnant the same week we moved here and it made that first trimester even more challenging and stressful. Definitely look into it if the opportunity presents itself again! Or even get into a class while not pregnant lol it’s such a great workout!

  • It seems like yoga is working so well for you! I’ll be looking into pre-natal yoga for sure if I ever have a child.

    • I love it so much! It’s helped me in so many ways these past few months. We found out I was pregnant the same week we moved here so it made that first trimester so much more emotional and challenging for me. Getting in my fitness and being able to connect with other women who are also pregnant helped me a lot with that transition and has really helped me to learn to accept my new body as well. I highly recommend it if you choose to have a baby! 🙂

  • I’ve really gotten into yoga over the last few months and it amazes me how such a “gentle” workout can make you SO much stronger.

    • I completely agree! My first day back at it, I was SO sore haha I completely forgot how much strength and flexibility it takes. And prenatal yoga isn’t much easier surprisingly haha it’s JUST as much of a work out. I love it!

  • Neely

    I’ve been doing more prenatal yoga the last few weeks and it relaxes me so much!

    • Isn’t it wonderful?! I try to do mine in the mornings so that it’s a nice transition into my day. I love it so much. I definitely plan to continue it once the baby is born as well.

  • Divine Mwimba

    Thank you so much for sharing. I am having crazy back pains and my doc suggested yoga!

    • Yoga is so good for relieving strain on your back. Your spine shifts a lot when pregnant and yoga can help relieve some of that pressure and pain for you 🙂 I hope it helps!

  • Awesome! I’ll have to remember this for whenever I have kids.

  • Have you ever heard of Yoga by Adrienne on youtube? She has a bunch of yoga class series including 30 days of yoga. She is what made me fall in love with yoga. I am really trying to push myself to commit to doing the 30 days this next month! I know it would be so good for me, and baby, and that it would feel so good. I was a dancer for most of my life, and I really miss all that stretching! Whenever I do yoga, I can’t believe how tight everything is from not stretching for so long.

    • I’ll have to check it out!! For some reason, I’m just not as likely to workout or do yoga at home, though so I’m not sure how helpful it’ll be for me haha I’m much more committed when I’m spending money on the classes and taking the time to drive there. But I’ll definitely look into it!! And I danced a lot throughout high school and did a bit of cheerleading as well. I was definitely much more flexible back then haha so I’ve been trying to add more stretches to my everyday routine now.