Staying healthy and fit, maintaining your strength, and staying flexible while pregnant can all help to make your time spent preparing for motherhood easier to manage physically, mentally, and emotionally. When your body is fit and healthy, pregnancy and delivery can be easier to handle, your body can recover more quickly, and you can enjoy more energy, better quality sleep, and less stress. Many women are unsure if they can or should maintain the same level of activity during their pregnancy as they enjoyed before they became pregnant. Some worry about injury, others are concerned about whether increased activity might put their pregnancies at risk. While some activities should be limited, there are several forms of exercise you can engage in while pregnant that are both safe and effective for you and your baby.
Prenatal yoga, in particular, can be very effective at relieving some of the discomforts of pregnancy while helping you stay fit at the same time with stretching and strengthening. That’s a win-win! many women suffer from fatigue, heartburn, reflux, sciatic nerve pain, painful swollen legs and ankles, and morning sickness that can last all day. Certain prenatal yoga poses can help to relieve tension in the upper back, decrease fluid retention, alleviate anxiety around labor, and build strength in the legs to prepare for the physical side of things. There are certain yoga moves you should avoid while pregnant, such as deep backbends, lower spinal twists, and belly-down postures, and you should avoid hot or Bikram yoga, try not to lie flat on your back for extended periods of time, and watch overstretching. Be sure to check with your medical provider and get approval for any change in your routine, including the addition of yoga, and remember to stop any movement or activity that results in pain.
Here are some of the best yoga poses for pregnancy:
- Child’s Pose. With a bolster under your torso for support, this can be a great low back pain stretch. It can also help relieve nausea and relieve anxiety. Just don’t fall asleep while you’re down there!
- Cat and Cow Pose. This alternate arching and stretching of the back can be done all the way up to and during labor to help relieve tension in the back and assist the baby into the birthing position. It can also help ease contractions.
- Goddess Pose. This wide stance squat with arms open to the side is good for your digestion and provides a great stretch for both your legs and back.
- Reclined Bound Angle Pose. The perfect pose for increased blood circulation in the lower abdomen. This pose will also stretch your groin and increase external rotation in your hips. Be sure to modify this posture for pregnancy by creating an incline using a bolster or two under your back and head so you are not flat on your back. Put a block between your feet to expand your pelvis.
- Squat Pose (Garland). Open your hips and pelvis, stimulate digestion, and stretch your legs and back. Modify the pose for pregnancy by leaning against a wall or squatting on blankets. Only do this pose until you are about 30 weeks along.
If you’re not already in yoga classes, check with your local gym about prenatal yoga. In Colorado Springs, these locations offer yoga classes for pregnant women:
- Yoga Studio Satya, 1581 York Road, 80918 (719) 203-4525
- Sisterhood Yoga, Falcon, CO email@example.com (Also has mommy and baby classes)
- Enso Prenatal, 2501 West Colorado Ave., Ste. 3B, 80904 (719) 660-5687
Prenatal yoga classes can help you stay in tune with your body and aware of anything that changes during pregnancy. At Colorado Obstetrics and Women’s Health, our staff offers women in the Colorado Springs area personalized, comprehensive health care for all phases of life, from puberty through the childbearing years, into menopause and beyond. Give us a call today at (719) 634-8800 to schedule an appointment for a pap smear, pregnancy test, or wellness exam. We look forward to helping you achieve your best health.