Yoga in pregnancy: benefits, when to start and other tips

Yoga is a fairly safe and effective exercise for pregnant women because, in addition to providing relief during pregnancy, it can help prepare the body for labor and delivery.

In addition to having beneficial effects for people in general, yoga is also beneficial to women during pregnancy. There are many and various benefits that a pregnant woman can derive from this discipline. Let’s see how and why, and what the limitations are.

Is it safe to practice yoga during pregnancy?

If you started practicing yoga before getting pregnant there is no reason for you to abandon this practice during pregnancy: there are some poses that you can continue to do during the first, second and third trimester, others that you will have to limit or avoid, especially during the third trimester.

The question is different if you are thinking of approaching this discipline for the first time during pregnancy: in this case it would be better to approach the discipline with a preparatory yoga course.

Benefits of yoga during pregnancy

1) Improve body-mind awareness

The person who has body awareness knows what he feels and where he feels it in the body.

In pregnancy this also translates into being more aware of the changes that are taking place in your body and adapting to them more easily.

2) Prevents or relieves back pain

Back pain in pregnancy is mainly due to postural changes that occur during this period. Yoga emphasizes the importance of correct posture and is able to tone and relax muscles.

3) Helps fight stress

Practicing yoga is also an excellent way to counteract stress, calm the mind and improve concentration.

Yoga stimulates the release of endorphins, the happiness hormones. It is not uncommon after a yoga class to experience a general sense of well-being, lightness and happiness.

4) Teach to breathe better

Yoga and breathing are closely interconnected. Yoga teaches you to control your breath and therefore to breathe better. With improved breathing it is easier to deal with the pains of pregnancy and in particular those of labor and delivery.

5) Yoga improves the circulatory system

The circulatory system includes the heart, blood vessels and blood. Yoga helps prevent various circulatory ailments and diseases such as high blood pressure, shallow breathing, and coronary heart disease.

6) Yoga tones the muscles

Yoga consists of simple movements and stretches that strengthen and make the muscles more elastic, which, as we have seen above, are particularly stressed during the nine months of pregnancy.

What to pay attention to

Talk to a qualified instructor and your doctor, learn to listen to your body and never push yourself beyond what you feel are your “new” limits, i.e. the limits dictated by your current situation. If you’re not sure how much to push your body, do exercises that are slightly lower in intensity than you’re capable of.

The belly and lower back are the areas not to put too much pressure on. Avoid positions that put pressure on your belly or put you in trouble. If you feel pain or a position puts you in difficulty, change or avoid it. Never hold your breath and, on the contrary, use your breath as a litmus test of the effort you are making. Poses that put pressure on the abdomen and other difficult poses shouldn’t be done during the later stages of pregnancy.

If you experience any unusual symptoms during or after a yoga session, speak to your doctor or qualified yoga instructor before continuing. Stop exercising immediately if you feel nauseous, confused, overexhausted, dehydrated, notice bleeding, or experience numbness.

Yoga in pregnancy, conclusion

Yoga can be a useful activity to continue during pregnancy. If you approach it for the first time during pregnancy, you should move towards maternity yoga courses. In any case, the decision whether or not to practice yoga during pregnancy should be discussed with your doctor, especially if you are having a high-risk pregnancy, if your baby is breech, if you are carrying a twin pregnancy, if you are taking medications or have problems of health, or if you are going through the period from 10 to 14 weeks of pregnancy (a “critical” period for the development of the fetus).

Yoga is also very effective for recovering and managing stress even  after the birth of the baby  and for toning up the body again without subjecting it to too much effort.

Katherine Johnson, M.D., is a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist with clinical expertise in general obstetrics and gynecology, family planning, women’s health, and gynecology.

She is affiliated with the Obstetrics and Gynecology division at an undisclosed healthcare institution and the online platform,

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