9 benefits of pre-natal yoga

Yoga makes you stronger all over - perfect for the extra weight you'll be carrying, writes Liz Gray.

Poses like the downward dog and the warrior will help stretch and strengthen the muscles required to counterbalance the growing belly, while asanas, like the tree pose and the half-moon pose, can help you get comfortable with your changing centre of gravity.

It keeps you in shape
When paired with gentle cardiovascular exercise such as walking or swimming, prenatal yoga can be an ideal way to stay in shape during pregnancy. It keeps you limber, tones your muscles and improves balance and circulation with little, if any, impact on your joints.

Stress relief
According to a report in the Harvard Mental Health Letter (April 2009), rigorous studies have found scientific proof that yoga helps the body deal with stress by slowing heart and breathing rates and lowering blood pressure – beneficial to both the unborn baby and mother during and after pregnancy.

Pain management
Breathing exercises can be incredibly calming and centring during pregnancy. And when it comes to the labour and birth, breath control is an invaluable asset for pain management (especially for those planning a natural, drug-free birth).

Back-pain relief
A common complaint during pregnancy is back pain, especially as the pregnancy progresses and the weight of the uterus (and the baby in it) increases. Prenatal yoga strengthens the muscles that support this weight, taking pressure off the lower back.

Yoga makes you stronger all over – perfect for the extra weight you’ll be carrying during pregnancy and the weight you’ll be carrying in your arms after birth – your baby!

It helps with labour and birthing
Squats and other hip-opening poses can help your baby get into position, and help you when it comes to contractions and gentle pushing during the final stages of active labour.

Connection with your baby
It is believed babies are very tuned in to their mothers emotions and feelings in utero and prenatal yoga gives you the opportunity and ability to connect with the experience of being pregnant.

Be in the moment
Yoga is about being in the moment and letting everything else fall away for the time being. During pregnancy, many women find themselves worrying about their health and that of the baby, the birth, what they should and shouldn’t be eating, their changing body shape – the list goes on. 

NEXT: How to prepare your body for pregnancy>>

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The information presented on this website is not intended as specific medical advice and is not a substitute for professional medical treatment or diagnosis. Read our Medical Notice.