Why Yoga is a MUST During Pregnancy
Let’s face it, most OB’s spend very little time, if any, advising pregnant women on diet and exercise. My OB didn’t spend any time on this at all and the OB coordinator (who knew nothing about my history of working out) told me a very generic recommendation of not lifting over 25 lbs. Little did she know that I regularly lift 45 lb plates and bars frequently throughout the day while in personal training sessions! The point is, you need to do some research on your own to figure out what works best for you and hopefully this article will shed some light on your different options!
Changes During Pregnancy
According to Farel Hruska, a personal trainer who specializes in prenatal fitness, “a pregnant woman’s body will change more in 9 months than a man’s will in half his lifetime.” (Senger, 2014) Wow, that’s a lot of change! Bellies become bigger, breasts become larger and heavier, joints become more lax to prepare for childbirth and your body is expected to just somehow magically keep up with all of these enormous changes! The result?
- Postural changes: big breasts and bellies= extra curvature of the spine
- Lower back/pelvis pain: common are sciatica, SI joint pain and generalized low back pain
- Joint weakness and/or pain: the body releases the hormone relaxin, which causes the joints to become lax and can lead to movement in joints that shouldn’t move
- Loss of balance: a growing belly will certainly shift your center of gravity which can lead to loss of balance
Benefits of Yoga
I personally have been doing yoga 1-2 times per week during my pregnancy and absolutely love it! There are so many benefits to yoga that I have personally experienced and have research to back them up.
- Functional fitness- trains your body for what’s to come post pregnancy…a baby!
- Stretching that’s appropriate for pregnancy- not too much, just enough
- Helps with relieving aches and pains, including lower back pain
- Builds muscles for added joint support and to support postural changes
- Can help prevent falls through balance training
- Preps your body for labor & delivery- A 2008 study showed that only 6 1-hour sessions of yoga significantly increased maternal comfort during delivery in the control group. (Chuntharapat, 2008) Another study found yogi’s had a lower incidence of preterm labor, higher normal weight babies, less complications and reduced pregnancy induced hypertension. (Narendran, 2005)
Goals For the Body During Pregnancy
Due to the significant changes that happen to a woman’s body, seemingly overnight, it is important to keep up with an exercise routine that will support those changes. Goals to focus on (which yoga can help with!) are increase abdominal, glute, low back and upper back strength. When these specific muscle groups are trained it helps prevent poor posture that will only exacerbate already painful joints.
I have personally experienced SI Joint Pain, which can be excruciating. Movement in my sacroiliac joint has caused this pain, which is an immobile, stabilizing joint found in the pelvis. Yoga and yoga type moves have helped to stabilize the joint by strengthening the muscles surrounding it. I have been using YogaGlo.com at home but there are plenty of other websites and local yoga studios you can use. Just make sure that when you’re pregnant you are engaging in prenatal yoga. This just ensures that the yoga is not going to cause any harm during pregnancy, only benefits!
Chuntharapat, S. (2008). Yoga during pregnancy: Effects on maternal comfort, labor pain and birth outcomes. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice , 105–115. Narendran, S. (2005). Efficacy of Yoga on Pregnancy Outcome. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine , 237-244. Senger, M. (2014, April 14). Functional Fitness for Pregnancy. Retrieved June 13, 2016, from IDEAFit: https://www.ideafit.com/fitness-library/functional-fitness-for-pregnancy