Prenatal Yoga: Is Yoga Good for Pregnant Women?

Published on December 24th, 2019 and Updated on December 27th, 2019

Reflection of a pregnant woman in a standing yoga pose.

Yoga can be highly beneficial for pregnant women. If you were doing yoga before you got pregnant, you can keep it up, and there are some classes just for you. If you’ve never done yoga, you can consider starting with your doctor’s permission.

Those First Few Crucial Months

You’re overjoyed to have found out your baby’s gender early, and you want to be certain your little bundle will be as healthy as possible. A normal pregnancy lasts nine months and is made up of three, three-month periods referred to as trimesters. Weeks 1 through 12, also known as the first trimester, are seen as the most crucial weeks of pregnancy.

During this time the baby is going through the embryonic stage and is often referred to as an “embryo.” Throughout the embryonic stage, the baby is developing in leaps and bounds. Knowing how crucial the beginning months are, it is important to establish a healthy prenatal routine, which can include yoga.

The Benefits of Prenatal Yoga

There are many benefits to prenatal yoga when it comes to wellness for both the body and mind.

  • Ease the Delivery Physically and Mentally: Pregnancy yoga helps expecting mothers to strengthen their pelvic floor, and stretch the hip region, which can help with the aches and pains that are bound to occur during childbirth.
  • Lose Baby Weight Faster: Consistently practicing yoga throughout pregnancy can make the transition to post-pregnancy health easier.
  • Improve Strength, Flexibility, and Endurance: The specific poses of a prenatal yoga routine can help you prepare for those final moments when you’ll be using your muscles to actually give birth.
  • Minimize Physical Issues: Including less lower back pain, nausea, headaches, and shortness of breath. Yoga may also reduce hypertension, and reduce the risk of preterm labor.
  • Lowers Stress and Anxiety: Pregnancy can be stressful, and even just the thought of giving birth can double that stress — yoga can help mitigate these feelings. Prenatal yoga may also help the mind to stay calm and clear in the face of pregnancy-induced anxiety.

Prenatal Yoga Classes

It’s a good idea to take a prenatal yoga class because there are poses and types of yoga that an expecting mother should avoid, and you will want to be specific about the type of yoga you do. A prenatal yoga instructor knows that the way you stretch is different when you’re pregnant.

How early an expecting mother starts prenatal yoga classes is up to her. However, during the first few weeks, there is a chance that she may feel nauseous and tired, so she may not feel up for doing any kind of physical activity. As long as she listens to her doctor and her body, she can start prenatal yoga classes as early as she’d like.

Practice yoga poses such as:

  • Tree Pose: Fine-tunes overall balance.
  • Goddess Pose: Relieves tension.
  • Resting Shivasana: Calms the nervous system.
  • Cat/Cow Pose: Helps prepare for labor.
  • Chest Opener: Helps you connect with your baby.
  • Standing Flow: Increases circulation.

Yoga poses to avoid during pregnancy can include:

  • Inversions: Yoga poses that take you upside down, such as head or shoulder stands, forearm balances, scorpion, etc., should be avoided unless they are already a part of your practice. If you don’t feel comfortable going upside down or feel you can’t get up and down safely, these poses should not be incorporated into your practice. However, laying on the ground with your legs on the wall is a great way to get your circulation going, reduces swelling, and is technically considered to be an inversion.
  • Twists and Other Movements Targeting the Abs: These movements can decrease circulation and can pull your abdominal muscles.
  • Poses That Require You to Lie on Your Stomach: This just won’t feel too comfortable for you or your baby.
  • Flat on Your Back: During the second semester of your pregnancy, lying flat on your back for too long can increase the weight on your uterus and disrupt the blood flow and nutrition to your baby.

The Benefits of Yoga for Women

Even before getting pregnant, yoga can be a good idea for women in general. Benefits of yoga for women include, but are not limited to:

  • Better Sleep: Yoga is exercise, and it can help you relax, concentrate, and get centered in yourself for better sleep.
  • Lower Stress and Anxiety: You’ll take time away from thinking about the pressures of the world and rejuvenate your body.
  • Improves Your Posture: Poor posture can cause body strains. Yoga can help realign your head, neck, and spine into a position that will be more comfortable for your entire body.
  • Boosts Immune System: Practicing yoga increases the drainage of your lymph nodes which helps your body fight infections.
  • Helps Women Who are Going Through Menopause: Yoga helps to reduce blood pressure and promotes oxygen flow and blood circulation throughout the body which can help reduce night sweats and hot flashes.
  • Promotes Self Care: The concept of “look good, feel good” can easily be applied to practicing yoga. When you start to see positive changes in your body, both physical and mental, it boosts your overall self-esteem.