Pre-Natal Yoga – The Mind Body Baby Connection
By Deborah Metzger, ACSW, RYT, Princeton Center for Yoga & Health Founder and Director
The Mind, Body, and Baby Connection
Yoga offers many benefits, especially during pregnancy.
If you have practiced yoga before pregnancy, you can continue yoga through your pregnancy. (A pregnant woman should always check with her medical support team to be sure it is safe and appropriate to begin a yoga practice during pregnancy.) Some poses may need adjusting depending on your belly size and your body’s and baby’s needs, however, yoga is generally safe to practice for pregnant women. And if you have never tried yoga before, now is a great time to give it a shot, while you are experiencing wild mood swings, changes in balance and body, and even complete exhaustion.
Yoga is an exploration – exploration of self, of mind, of body. It can be an amazing journey inward as you work on your outward. And what better time to learn about yourself and what you are capable of doing than when you are pregnant!
Prenatal yoga is a good way to put aside some time for yourself when you are pregnant.
During a pregnancy, a woman can find that she loses time for herself. She’s busy planning for the new life she is about to bring into the world. That means planning a place for the baby to sleep, clothes for the baby to wear, and stocking up on diapers, diapers and more diapers! At the end of the day, she may be too tired to do anything for herself. Yoga is a wonderful opportunity to be with herself in her pregnant state and learn about her changing body – and her changing self. It also gives a pregnant woman some time to bond with the growing child (or children!) inside of her. Now that is time well spent!
Prenatal yoga helps you learn about your changing body…and your changing sense of balance.
A woman’s body will go through incredible transformation during a pregnancy. Pregnancy alters a woman’s sense of balance because the enlarging uterus and breasts shift her center of gravity. High hormone levels make pregnant women’s connective tissues more lax, so her joints may be more susceptible to injury. Prenatal yoga works with all of these changes and helps women to understand them and work with them.
Prenatal yoga teaches breathing techniques that will come in handy during everyday pregnancy, and labor!
Pregnant women need more oxygen than non-pregnant women and have to work harder for that oxygen, especially as pregnancy progresses because the enlarging uterus crowds the diaphragm. These changes make it easier to become short of breath. A major part of yoga practice is pranayama, or breathing exercises. These exercises teach you how to take complete breaths – something we don’t typically do in everyday life, and something that will sure help during pregnancy – and after!
Prenatal yoga helps decrease stress levels, which can lead to better birth outcomes.
Yoga provides relaxation techniques that everyone can use – and these techniques are particularly important for pregnant women. Women who experience large amounts of stress during their pregnancy are more at risk for preterm births or other complications. And every pregnancy has its stresses – pregnancy itself is stressful! Prenatal yoga can teach a woman techniques that can help turn off emotional and physical stresses, if only temporarily, which is helpful for both mom and baby.
Prenatal yoga helps you connect with other moms-to-be!
In a prenatal yoga class, you’ll also get the added benefit of a sense of community by connecting with other local women who are pregnant. A class full of women who had this ache or that pain, or a doctor who said this, or a husband who did that or just felt the first kick…how wonderful to have an opportunity to share those experiences!
Yoga’s benefits are there for you before, during and after pregnancy. Take advantage today!
A pregnant woman should always check with her medical support team to be sure it is safe and appropriate to begin a yoga practice during pregnancy.
NOTE: Prenatal yoga should be done with a trained professional to guide you through your experience. PCYH is delighted to offer Prenatal Yoga on Thursdays at 6:30 pm. Space is limited. Contact us for next series or additional times which may be offered.