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Yoga in Pregnancy – An effective and safe fitness option for Mothers-to-be

by Vaishali Sharma
Yoga in pregnancy

By: Dr. Aruna Kalra – Senior Gynaecologist and Obstetrician at CK Birla Hospital, Gurugram

In order to stay healthy and active during pregnancy, a woman can opt for yoga for best results. Yoga helps pregnant women and their babies in a number of ways. It reduces anxiety and help the mom-to-be stay calm during pregnancy and in labour. During pregnancy, a number of women go through mood swings, breathing problems, fatigue and sickness. Yoga exercises reduce all such problems resulting in an easy and smooth delivery. 

Women who regularly perform yoga would only need to make minor modifications to their yoga routine during their pregnancy when the body is undergoing hormonal changes. The main aim of yoga during pregnancy is to help moms-to-be bring their little ones into the world with minimum risks and no health complications. Positions and exercises practiced differ with every phase of pregnancy. So, you should perform yoga under the supervision of an expert and after consulting your doctor.

A happy, healthy pregnancy through yoga

Yoga is a great way to relieve pain during pregnancy. Women who perform yoga during pregnant can experience reductions in:

  • Back pain
  • Leg pain
  • High blood pressure or Preeclampsia risk during pregnancy
  • Labour pain, potentially due to improved core strength

Yoga also offers many psychological benefits for mothers-to-be, such as lowered levels of anxiety and depression, which can result in a happier, more balanced pregnancy. Even in the delivery room, the breathing and relaxation techniques can help relieve pain during labour. 

After delivery, yoga also helps in reducing postpartum depression, which is a serious concern for many women. Yoga can help in re-gaining core strength, which can lower the risks of pelvic floor disorders related to childbirth.

Yoga Poses for Pregnant Women

Following are some yoga poses that can help ease pregnancy symptoms or help you build strength:

  • Cat to cow: This back-arching technique is great for relieving back pain.
  • Garland: This deep squat is thought to help turn a breech baby to the proper head-down position.
  • Happy baby: Aptly named for pregnant yoga practitioners, this pose can help release tense lower back muscles. This is an inversion pose, so Check with your doctor and yoga instructor before trying this as it is an .
  • Legs up the wall: This inversion pose can help reduce swelling in your feet and ankles. Check with your doctor and instructor first.
  • Planks: Planks help in building abdominal strength, which is important for labour and recovery. As your pregnancy progresses, you may find planks difficult to perform, so don’t put much pressure on yourself.
  • Warriors: These standing poses are some of the most commonly practiced to help build overall strength. You can also do double duty by performing Kegel exercises at the same time, which aid in delivery and recovery after childbirth.

Basic Precautions to keep in mind

  1. Inform your yoga instructor about your pregnancy if you are attending a yoga class that is not specifically designed for pregnant women.
  2. Any kind of yoga poses that works on the back should be avoided after the first trimester. These exercises may reduce the flow of blood to the uterus.
  3. Avoid stretching your muscles to the extreme.
  4. Practice yoga poses only to the extent to which you are comfortable. Do not exert yourself too much. Do not over exert your body, listen to it carefully and stop exercising if you feel any discomfort.
  5. Be aware of your knees. Do not strain them too much.
  6. Practice yoga during pregnancy under the guidance of an expert only. Avoid copying videos or DVDs, because it can be dangerous to your health as you will not be able to judge if you are doing any mistake.
  7. Don’t exert yourself too much and know when you should take a rest. Observe the signs your body is trying to give and if you feel tired, take breaks in between.

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