For pregnant women, prenatal yoga classes offer myriad benefits that can help with the physical and mental preparation of welcoming their new bundle of joy into the world. Prenatal yoga is not just a physical exercise – it has profound implications for the body and soul, as it helps improve the mind and body, aiding in the entire birth process. This guide discusses how prenatal yoga can especially bolster birth preparation, ensuring an optimal birthing experience.
The Mental Benefits of Prenatal Yoga
The first, and arguably the most important, benefit of prenatal yoga is its impact on the pregnant mother’s mental wellbeing. Prenatal yoga has been found to have a calming effect throughout the birthing process, helping to reduce anxiety and stress levels, something that all expectant mothers can likely relate to.
In a longitudinal, randomized controlled trial, 94 healthy women, compared changes in stress and immunity salivary biomarkers from 16 to 36 weeks. They were able to conclude that, “Prenatal yoga significantly reduced pregnant women’s stress and enhanced their immune function.” (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0965229916301959)
A further benefit of practicing prenatal yoga is the heightened sense of self-awareness it can bring to mums-to-be. Pregnancy often brings about a lot of changes to the body and emotions, and learning how to become aware in and of the moment can be a fantastic tool for when labor begins.
Paying attention to bodily and emotional sensations can empower pregnant women with a sense of ownership over the birthing process. Prenatal yoga is one of the most effective means of cultivating this self-awareness, and in turn, this can prepare them to manage the intensity of labor.
The Physical Benefits of Prenatal Yoga
Beyond the mental wellbeing benefits of prenatal yoga, it is also a powerful resource for physical preparation for childbirth. Many physical and physiological changes occur in the body in the lead up to labor, some of which can be uncomfortable, such as back pain and breathing difficulty.
Prenatal yoga is designed to reduce common discomforts by providing safe, gentle exercises, poses and stretches that target the areas of tension. Prenatal yoga can also help to strengthen muscles and encourage better control of the body, aiding pregnant women during birth.
This is particularly significant for problems such as hip pain and pelvic instability, as birth requires mother’s to use their strength and flexibility in order to move in different directions. Strengthening the pelvic floor muscles can help to reduce anxiety and make birth much easier.
Additionally, the various breathing exercises that form a vital part of the practice can help the mother to relax and cope more effectively during the birtb process.
Prenatal Yoga as an Educational Tool
Another major, often overlooked, benefit of prenatal yoga is its educational aspect. Prenatal classes can give expectant mothers access to information about the physical, mental and emotional changes associated with pregnancy and birth; and inform them about the different stages of labor, natural and medical forms of pain relief, and postpartum suggestions.
Learning about the birthing process beforehand can make expectant mothers feel much more prepared and confident when it comes to giving birth.
Prenatal yoga is a powerful tool in the birthing process and can help to prepare women in a myriad of ways. Mentally, it has been found to reduce anxiety, decrease depression and enhance relaxation. Physically, it can help strengthen muscles and improve flexibility, aiding in the labor process.
Lastly, it also provides an invaluable source of information, informing women about the stages of labor, natural forms of pain relief, and postpartum suggestions. Overall, with its medley of benefits, prenatal yoga can help ensure an optimal birth experience.