Why is yoga good for me during pregnancy?

Yoga is picking up speed in the Western world, and moms-to-be are among the most zealous. Many doctors and fitness gurus recommend women practice yoga during pregnancy in order to help them stay fit, centered and de-stressed during this often hectic and emotional time.

Yoga is the practice of meditation, breath control and posturing. Originally drawn from Hindu spirituality, millions of people now practice the art of yoga as a fitness routine for both the mind and the body. Practitioners are guided to explore the effects of different bodily positions on all aspects of their being. For pregnant women, this can be extremely beneficial.

According to the Mayo Clinic, yoga can help pregnant women by improving sleep, reducing common aches and pains associated with pregnancy, reducing anxiety and getting the body in better shape for the birthing process. It can even decrease the risk of certain adverse birth conditions, such as preterm labor.

Which yoga poses should pregnant women consider?
Yoga can vary in intensity. If you're new to yoga, don't push yourself beyond your physical boundaries. Here are a few different types of poses that pregnant women can enjoy.

  • Backbends: These types of poses will keep your skin stretchy and may reduce the instances of stretch marks.
  • Inversions: These positions can help promote blood flow, especially to the feet. (Avoid any inversions with twists or abdominal stretching.)
  • Lunges: Lunges can help you stretch out and are good to practice before birth, as the position shortens the birth canal.

If you're thinking of starting a yoga routine, talk to your doctor as well as your instructor to ensure that you understand the risks and best practices.

Do you have experience with prenatal yoga practice? Tell us about it in the comments section!