Prenatal yoga: Your key to staying fit with a bun in the oven

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Pregnancy does not have to be a death sentence for your figure, but you do need to be careful when you...

Pregnancy does not have to be a death sentence for your figure, but you do need to be careful when you exercise while pregnant. You should avoid workouts that cause you to lay on your back for long periods of time or cause your to overly exert yourself, as these activities could potentially harm your little one. If you follow a regular yoga routine, you need to make sure that you make the proper alterations to your yoga practice. Prenatal yoga is a specialized form of yoga that is designed especially for pregnant women. This type of yoga can help you stay fit without causing harm to you or your baby.

What to Avoid

Before you begin a prenatal yoga routine, talk to your Atlanta-based OB/GYN first. She can give you an examination to let you know whether it is safe for you to start or continue exercising, and will explain further about which types of exercise you should avoid. Pregnant women should not practice any yoga poses that require excessive stretching or bending upside down, or poses that place excessive strain or tension on the abdominal muscles. Try finding a class taught by an instructor who is certified in prenatal yoga. If you feel unsure about how to find a prenatal yoga class, ask your OB/GYN for a recommendation. Even regular yoga instructors will show you special adjustments so that you can practice in a traditional class. When you attend a standard yoga class before you are showing, let the instructor know that you are pregnant so that she can explain any necessary adjustments to you. If you try to do yoga on your own, try to stick with a video that will guide you on how to correctly do the poses and stretches when you are pregnant.

Prenatal Yoga Goals

A good yoga class for pregnant women will focus on breathing exercises that promote relaxation, safe stretching and gentle movements and poses that can strengthen your body without overtaxing it. Your goals when you practice yoga during pregnancy should be to keep your body limber, lithe and supple, while improving your lung capacity and slowing down your heart rate.

Benefits

You can experience a multitude of benefits from practicing yoga while pregnant, including:

  • Lower anxiety: Practicing yoga while pregnant can help relieve stress and keep you calm throughout your pregnancy.
  • Decreased pain: Yoga may help you avoid or reduce pain associated with pregnancy, such as back pain, rib pain, nausea and headaches.
  • Healthier pregnancy: Yoga during pregnancy may reduce your risk of having early labor, hypertension and preeclampsia.
  • Better sleep patterns: Women with pregnancy-related sleep problems may benefit from a regular yoga practice.
  • Stronger, more flexible muscles: Yoga can tone, strengthen and increase flexibility in muscles you need during labor.

Most importantly, always listen to your body. If you start to feel dizzy, short of breath or feel abdominal tightening or cramping, stop your exercises immediately and talk to your obstetrician before returning to your yoga routine.


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