Practicing yoga helps pregnant mothers prepare their bodies and reduces the stress and pain of giving birth.
Medical advisors: James Gonzáles, physical education instructor and psychologist – Dora Leyland Ortiz Yarce, prenatal yoga instructor
Making exercise a part of a pregnancy can help expecting mothers to better control their breathing, have good posture and be prepared for childbirth. Yoga allows them to send happiness and peacefulness to their babies as they develop strength, flexibility and techniques to cultivate positive emotions and control anxiety.
Yoga is therefore an appropriate practice for this stage, especially with high-risk pregnancies involving placenta previa, twins, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, being overweight and obesity. Always remember that these exercises must adapt to the conditions of each woman.
Physical and mental benefits
Depending on how the pregnancy progresses, physical activity should be practiced with a certain intensity and frequency. With yoga, the suggestion is to do postures that are beneficial to the mother until one week prior to giving birth. “This activity should be done along with prenatal care and regular medical checkups because with high-risk pregnancies, postures should be limited and selected to meet the specific needs of each expecting mother,” explains prenatal yoga instructor Dora Leyland Ortiz Yarce. (You may be interested: Yoga para la vida).
According to physical education instructor and psychologist James González, the benefits of yoga include the following: “Emotionally, mothers become more involved with their babies and feel more at peace. Physically, it helps to prevent health conditions, and the postures they take help reduce pain. Socially, they get to interact with their peers, and feel welcome and supported.”
Four resting postures
1. Legs propped on the wall
Lay down on your left side and lift up your right leg, followed by your left leg. Roll until you are lying on your back with your legs stretched out on the wall and your toes facing downwards. If this is challenging for you, place a cushion under your head to prevent acid reflux.
Benefits: this allows your legs to relax, reduces swelling and distributes your weight evenly.
2. Balasana (or Child’s Pose)
Get on your knees and spread them apart so there is space for your belly, relax the tops of your feet so they are touching the floor. Move back until you are sitting on top of your heels. Then, bend your torso forward and stretch out your arms to the floor.
Benefits: this stretches the muscles of your back and arms, releasing tension, and helps with insomnia and hip pain.
3. Baddha Konasana (or Butterfly Pose)
Sit with a straight back, your shoulders relaxed and touch the soles of your feet together. Bring your heels towards your pelvis. Your knees should be bent and aimed towards the floor. Carefully move your knees up and down (like butterfly wings) to warm up and make the pose more challenging.
Benefits: slowly opens the hips with each breath.
4. Relaxation pose
Lay down on your left side and place a pillow under your head and between your legs with your legs bent.
Benefits: this prepares you for birth by making your contractions less painful, allowing you to rest, making you feel at peace and allowing you to connect with your baby.
Alternatives to yoga
Other physical activities that can also benefit pregnant women. They include:
Prenatal gymnastics: improves flexibility, makes you stronger and strengthens your cardiovascular system.
Water aerobics: helps prevent circulation problems, and increases your cardiovascular endurance and flexibility.
Dancing: because it is aerobic, this is a good cardiovascular workout.
Pilates: improves breathing and is great for birth because it works the pelvic muscles, back and spine.
Walking: helps improve your cardiovascular endurance, circulation and prevents stress and anxiety.
2 months. The perfect time to start exercising is after you have been pregnant for 2 months.