Women often discover the many benefits of pregnancy yoga when they’re expecting and are drawn to it as a safe alternative to their usual exercise regime.
If you’ve never practiced before it’s ideal to wait until you are past the first trimester before attending a class.
However, if you’re a regular yogi then it’s fine to continue with your usual class initially until your body tells you otherwise – usually once you’re out of the first trimester.
Prenatal yoga will focus on asanas or postures that ease some of the common complaints of pregnancy such as lower back ache and heartburn.
Regular yoga classes may encourage circulation and help prevent fluid retention. The stretching exercises can relieve aches and pains.
Many women find that regular practice promotes a good night’s rest, especially as their pregnancy becomes more advanced.
Your teacher should give you techniques to manage your labour more naturally if this is desired.
Yoga might help with reducing any anxiety that prospective mums may be feeling as the focus is on breathing techniques and positive visualisations that can be called upon during the birth.
By practicing yoga regularly a pregnant woman’s body will become more flexible, which enables her to adapt to various positions during labour and the ligaments are more elastic, which in turn may help to reduce labour pain.
Many women find that by being as active as possible during labour they have a more natural birth with less complications.
Always make sure you go a teacher who is a prenatal specialist as most conventional yoga classes aren’t ideal for pregnant women.
Yoga continues to have benefits after pregnancy too.
Postnatal yoga, which can be started about six weeks after the birth (once your doctor has signed you off), strengthens abdominal muscles and the pelvic floor.
It also helps you to get back to your pre-pregnancy shape faster.
I have been attending Natasha’s yoga classes throughout my pregnancy and now, with my 11 week old baby girl. The pregnancy classes not only taught me to relax, breathe and stay calm during labour and the weeks leading up to it, but they also gave me a greater sense of physical awareness, and helped me to enjoy my pregnancy. Now we are both reaping the benefits from the classes, baby Florence loves it and I am learning all sorts of little tricks to make her life and mine, easier! HELEN WOOD on Natasha’s pregnancy yoga and baby yoga classes.
I had such a positive birth with my second daughter Heidi. I wasn’t looking forward to giving birth again as had a hard time with my first child – so I decided to take control of things when I found out I was pregnant again. I went to Natasha’s pregnancy yoga classes every Monday night and for somebody who hasn’t ever done yoga before I couldn’t believe how much I enjoyed it. I learnt so much in the classes and the other girls were so lovely and supportive. When I went into labour for the second time I used all the techniques I’d been taught and stayed at home for as long as I could. By the time I went to hospital I was already 8cm dilated and 25 minutes later – and after just two pushes my daughter was born! I put all this down to the yoga and all the breathing exercises Natasha taught me, I used all the positions I’d been taught and it helped so much, I cannot believe how quick it all was. It was a much more positive experience than my first labour and my husband Dave said I was like a different person this time. I felt so much more in control, thank you so much, it would not have been like this without your amazing classes so thanks so much. The midwife said that Heidi was in an excellent birth position too unlike Freya who was back to back. Everything you taught me helped but the breathing was the main thing that really helped as it kept me so calm during the contractions. Thanks so much again Natasha, I can’t thank you enough for all your advice and encouragement and would recommend your classes to anyone. JENNY ONGLEY on Natasha’s pregnancy yoga class.