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Prenatal Yoga: Taking Care of You and Your Baby

Family | Lifestyle

Staying healthy and in shape are some of the best things an expectant mother can do for her baby-to-be. Both can be achieved with the help of a few prenatal yoga exercises. This safe exercise regimen lets moms-to-be go through a much smoother pregnancy, helping them stave off the many aches and pains associated with the process.

Who Can Do Prenatal Yoga

If you're a long-time yoga practitioner, you'll be glad to learn that you won't have to skip your regular yoga classes once you find out that you're pregnant. You will have to make adjustments to your yoga routine, of course. The exercises will vary according to the trimester, but pregnant women can safely do prenatal yoga during all three trimesters of their pregnancy. As with any form of exercise you'll gain more benefits when you start early, but even if your work schedule or health limits you to exercising only during the third trimester you can still stand to gain a lot from doing prenatal yoga poses. You can start attending a class as early as you like but some yoga experts recommend that you wait until the second trimester when the morning sickness phase passes.

Benefits of Prenatal Yoga

One of the major benefits of doing prenatal forms of yoga is that it reduces the amount of pain associated with pregnancy. It helps build a strong core, countering the baby's pull on mom's body to maintain proper posture. It's also a great alternative for moms who want to opt for a drug-free delivery as it makes labor both easier and faster. Prenatal yoga can strengthen the muscles in your pelvis, making them more flexible for an easier delivery. The yogic breathing exercises taught by yoga also complements the popular Lamaze breathing method. Yogic breathing helps with relaxation while Lamaze breathing is focused on proper exhalation. Despite the name, prenatal yoga is not just for expectant mothers. Its specialized poses can also be used by women who have recently given birth to quickly get back into shape.

What You Should Know

Even if you're a seasoned yogi, be aware that your center of gravity won't be the same when you're pregnant. That's one of the reasons why adjustments to your regular yoga routine are necessary. In addition, although you can start with your prenatal exercises as early as you want, you still need to consider your current state before taking the plunge. Some women can have physical, emotional, and mental issues during the first trimester that would keep them from fully reaping the benefits of prenatal yoga so it's best to consult an expert to know if you're fit to start exercising. The same goes for women who have just given birth.

A six-week recuperating period is generally recommended by doctors for women who have undergone a vaginal birth. Those who opted for a cesarean birth will have to rest even longer before jumping right back into their regular yoga routine. This rest period can vary from person to person so make sure to get the go signal from your doctor first before you start doing any prenatal yoga poses.

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