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  • Writer's pictureRosemary Scott

How does yoga support a positive birth experience? What are the benefits of pregnancy yoga?

Expectant women experience numerous changes during pregnancy and into the postnatal period. As well as the obvious (and some less obvious!) physical change, you may notice changes to your state of mind and emotional wellbeing.

Yoga in pregnancy provides powerful and positive benefits.

As a minimum, it’s a safe form of exercise for those who wish to maintain stamina, flexibility and strength for efficient labour. However, many women come to yoga in pregnancy for the first time because they are seeking more.

Women come to pregnancy yoga:

  • to find a quiet space in which to unwind and bond with their baby;

  • for a safe space to connect with their pregnant body and learn techniques to support them in labour;

  • as a gentle way to soothe pregnancy aches and pains; and

  • in person yoga classes can be a great source of comfort amongst the company of other expectant women who are experiencing the same things.

You probably won’t feel like exercising in your first trimester and the NHS recommends that exercise in pregnancy is gentle. For most women, the second trimester is when they feel their best during pregnancy. Energy levels are higher and sickness has stopped. However, balanced with renewed energy, comes back ache and sometimes aches and pains in the pelvis or groin. Your baby will grow to a significant size during this period, weighing around 2lb by the end of the trimester putting a lot of pressure on your body.

Pregnancy yoga can be really beneficial by providing relief from aches and pains and strengthening areas of your body to support the weight of your growing baby. Yoga provides an opportunity to connect with your pregnant body and growing baby.

Waiting for the 20 week scan can also be an anxious time for some. Some women wait until after the milestone ultrasound before they feel confident about their baby's well being and ready to make plans such as antenatal courses or buying expensive baby items. You’ll also have the opportunity to find out the gender of your baby which for many helps them to bond with their baby in utero. Along with starting to feel your baby’s movements from 21 weeks, this can be the turning point when an expectant mum realises she’ll soon become a mum!

As you approach your third trimester and due date, pregnancy yoga helps you prepare for birth. By becoming aware of your breath and movements for labour and birth you grow in confidence about your upcoming birth. Practicing yoga helps prepare your mind for labour and birth. The quiet more mindful aspects of yoga practice can be applied off the mat. Mindful yoga techniques are positive birth tools to support a calm, relaxed mind and body on your birthing day.

The benefits of pregnancy yoga

  • Eases pregnancy symptoms like back ache, constipation and heartburn

  • Improves quality of sleep

  • Safe form of exercise during pregnancy

  • Releases worries and anxiety

  • Provides a dedicated time to tune into your pregnant body and bond with your baby

  • Creates a connection between your breath and calm which will support you in labour

  • Strengthens pelvic floor

  • Prepares your body and mind for birth

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