Yoga is originally an Indian tradition, which combines the use of postures and breathing to promote flexibility, strength, calm and a sense of spiritual connection. Yoga was developed over thousands of years to help people obtain optimal physical health and a relaxed and peaceful state of mind. Recent studies have revealed that yoga benefits pregnant women immensely by relieving back-pain and nausea and increasing stamina.
Studies have found that yoga can induce a relaxed state and regularly practicing yoga might benefit people with asthma, high blood pressure, diabetes, chronic pain and mood disorders. Due to its many benefits, yoga has increased in popularity in recent years. It has been shown to lower blood pressure, improve sleep and digestion, strengthen muscles and joints and increase flexibility. Yoga removes impurities from the body through the breath, sweat, liver, kidneys, and digestive system. People who practice yoga regularly report that they feel less stress and more peace in their lives.
Yoga for the expectant mother
Yoga is a low-impact exercise that can help expectant moms to stay in shape. What’s more – the breathing meditations practiced in a yoga class may come in handy during labour! Practicing yoga is a great way to slow down and appreciate the changes that are happening in your body during pregnancy. Yoga encourages you to listen to your body, to accept it as it is, and to surrender to its sometimes-uncomfortable changes. You can improve your physical health through gentle stretches and simple strength-building postures. Meditation helps reduce anxiety and self-critical thinking and thereby improve your mental health!
However, certain postures (such as those that involve lying on the back or belly) should be avoided while practicing yoga during pregnancy. Get a video or book that is specifically designed for expectant mothers or enroll in a prenatal yoga class. Most videos, books or classes will cover postures that help to reduce back pain, swelling in the lower extremities and misalignments due to weight changes. Many postures (for example, squats) are useful preparations for natural childbirth. During pregnancy, hormones cause joints in the body to become loose. Yoga postures can help to stabilize and strengthen these joints and promote flexibility in the muscles and fascia.
Yoga has 5 vital tools that gear you up for pregnancy. Using all these tools together will ensure that you have a smooth pregnancy.
The 5 tools are:
- Consult a yoga instructor and do some basic yoga exercises. These exercises will work on the pelvis to ensure a smooth pregnancy and a relatively easy childbirth. They also make sure that optimum supply of blood and nutrients go to the developing fetus
- Do your Pranayama or breathing exercises. They will ensure that you and your unborn child get the maximum amount of oxygen. This will make sure that you and your child are healthy after a normal pregnancy
- Mudras are the poses that stimulate the mental and physical being. They have powerful effects on a woman’s reproductive organs
- Meditation will help you resolve the fears and conflicts, which are common during pregnancy
- Yogic sleep or deep relaxation is particularly effective during pregnancy for physical and mental relaxation as well as for childbirth preparation
Practice these yoga routines regularly. You will not only be on your way to a healthy pregnancy but will also be giving your child an opportunity for best development.
Benefits for Baby
According to yoga, there are two nervous systems in the human body: sympathetic and parasympathetic. The sympathetic, commonly known as the “fight or flight” system, causes the blood pressure to rise, the breath rate to quicken, and stress hormones to flood into the body. Historically, this is believed to have occurred to prepare the body for fighting dangerous animals. But in today’s world, we experience this response while we are in traffic or feeling stressed at the office. When this sympathetic nervous system is overly stimulated, we can experience health consequences such as ulcers, migraines, and heart disease. During pregnancy, the effects of the sympathetic nervous system can be transferred to the developing baby. Just as the food that you eat, the oxygen that you breathe, and your state of mind, are all transmitted to your baby, the stress you feel is also passed on to your baby.
The parasympathetic nervous system lowers blood pressure and slows the pace of the breath. When the blood no longer has to rush to the muscles, it is free to travel to the digestive, reproductive, glandular, and immune systems – systems made up of organs more necessary to long-term survival. Studies have shown that the long, deep breathing in yoga, encourages the actions of the parasympathetic nervous system and allows relaxation and healing to occur.
“Yoga” is a Sanskrit word meaning yoke or connection. Yoga connects your body, mind, and spirit. And it can connect you to your baby too! Practicing yoga during pregnancy gives you the opportunity to create a world (your body) for your baby that is healthy and peaceful.
Tips & Tricks
If you water bag breaks, stay calm and call your gynaec. Wear a sanitary pad to protect your clothes and on the way to the hospital, use a plastic sheet to prevent the car seat from getting soiled.
Before buying a home pregnancy test kit, be sure to check the expiry date. For accurate results, take the test after one week after the missed period; testing very early, can give you negative results.
Dry fruits are a rich source of iron and contain high dietary fibre. They also meet your nutritional needs during pregnancy
According to a survey conducted at Iowa State College in 1969, the parent's stress at the time of conception plays a major role in determining baby's sex. The child tends to be of the same sex as the parent who is under less stress.