Yoga Benefits for Pregnant Women

by Sharon Hopkins

Yoga has come to be one of the best forms of exercise for women who are pregnant and want to keep fit. This is an ancient Indian exercise technique which has gained popularity because of the holistic approach it uses. Yoga comprises various breathing techniques, poses, and postures. All the different techniques of yoga have different benefits for the body. The poses also target different areas of the body. The philosophy behind this exercise technique is that with regular practice, a person not only improves his/her health, but can also become more centered, focused, and calm.

Throughout pregnancy, women can practice yoga, experiencing only minimal discomfort. Both during the pregnancy and post delivery stages, yoga exercises can help tone the body and improve body functions. Women who exercise during pregnancy are more likely to remain healthy and happy as compared to those who do not exercise during pregnancy. Performing yoga during pregnancy can help a woman regulate the weight she gains during pregnancy.

During pregnancy, the body's needs increase; extra effort needs to be exerted in order to meet these needs. The various breathing techniques in yoga allow the lung capacity to improve, allowing more oxygen to enter the body for its various functions. The exercises of yoga also help improve blood circulation and prevent fluid retention in the body.

Women who suffer from the symptoms of pregnancy such as morning sickness and back pain can benefit greatly from the stretching exercises in yoga. When you stretch, the stress in the muscles gets relieved, allowing the muscles to relax. Both aches and pains can therefore be addressed with light yoga stretching exercises.

Regular practice of yoga allows the female pelvic floor to become more flexible so that during the time of delivery, the muscles are more flexible and there is minimal pain. In fact, when women practice yoga during their pregnancy, they become calmer, and are therefore also less likely to suffer from postpartum depression. Yoga can, in fact, be continued into the postnatal period. Once the baby is born, light yoga exercises can be pursued so that the woman can get back in shape more easily. After the delivery of the baby, practicing yoga helps to increase the strength of the abdominal muscles and improves the strength and flexibility of the pelvic floor.

There are many yoga studios which offer customized yoga sessions for pregnant women. These sessions are not only beneficial in terms of exercise, but also serve as a meeting point for pregnant women, who can then compare notes and offer each other advice and caution.

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