Staying active during pregnancy has many health benefits for expectant mothers and their babies. Health professionals recommend about 30min of daily exercise to help with fatigue, aches and pains. Walking and Prenatal yoga are excellent forms of exercise during pregnancy. They will help build strength & flexibility in the body which will be beneficial during birth and aid the healing process after birth.
Prenatal yoga is a wonderful form of exercise for expectant mothers. It helps prepare the body physically but also mentally. Prenatal yoga has specific yoga poses that are selected to help the ever changing pregnant form. Poses can build strength and offer relief from aches and pains. Prenatal yoga is focused around the breath and how to use the breath to relax and quiet anxiety or fears mothers may have about birth and beyond.
Prenatal yoga poses help empower expectant mothers. The poses will show how strong and amazing pregnant mothers are. Prenatal poses are tailored to make the pregnant body more comfortable. If you are a mother who has never practiced yoga, we recommend you take a prenatal class to see how it feels. Your body will thank you.
There are so many basic beneficial poses you may try at home. Here are our top 5. If these feel good in your body, take a look at our website to find out more about our classes and teachers. We have classes and teachers to suit everyone.
1) Wide Knee Child's Pose
Target areas: Belly, back and hips.
Benefits: Relieves the pressure of a growing belly, creates space in the hips, relieves back pain and helps lower stress and anxiety.
How to do it: Kneel on a yoga mat with your knees as wide as the mat, letting your hips lower to your heels and bring your big toes to touch.
If your hips do not touch your heels, place a cushion or bolster under your hips. Gently lay your chest down and let your forehead touch the mat.
If it doesn’t feel good with your head on the mat rest your head on stacked fists.
Extend your arms straight ahead of you with your palms resting flat on the ground if this feels good.
Take small swaying movements with your hips from side to side until you feel comfortable to sit in stillness.
Take 10 breaths here.
2) Seated Hip Rolls
Target Areas: hips & thighs
Benefits: Opens the hips and stretches the thighs to prepare the body for childbirth. In addition, this pose reduces overall body fatigue.
How to do: Sit on the floor cross legged. Lower your knees as far as feels comfortable. Don’t force them all the way down. Place blocks or rolled blankets under the thighs to offer support. Try to relax your thighs and hips as much as you can by focusing your breath to these areas.
Place your hands on your thighs or knees. Lean to the left and start to make small circles around your pelvis in a clockwise direction. Inhaling and exhaling as you go. Take it as slow or fast as you like.
If you feel you want to stretch out the upper body too, lower chest to the knees and circle around the pelvis, pausing at any tight areas for a couple of breaths.
Repeat on both sides for about 10 breaths or more.
3) Cat-Cow Pose
Target areas: back, belly, hips and shoulders.
Benefits: Relieves back and shoulder pain, reduces belly pressure and opens up the hips.
How to do it: Get on all fours making sure that your hands are under your shoulders and your knees are under your hips. Toes can be tucked or untucked.
Take an inhale breath, slowly lower your belly, raise your chest and lift your gaze to the sky.
Hold for a couple of breaths.
Exhale drop your gaze to the floor, press into your hands, arch your back and drop the tail bone. Your gaze will be to the floor or to your belly.
Alternate between the two poses as you inhale and exhale.
4) Yogic squat
Target areas: Lower back, hips and pelvis.
Benefits: This is one of the best poses if your hips are feeling tight or achy. It helps to open the pelvis and prepare it for birth.
How to do it: From standing have your feet as wide as your mat with toes pointing slightly outwards. Start to lower your hips about halfway to the floor. Rest your elbows here on your legs and stay for 10 breaths or more.
Alternatively, If it feels good drop the hips to full yogi squat, gently pressing your elbows on the inside of your knees to a prayer position.
If this feels too strenuous you can also try a supported yoga squat where you sit on a bolster or block. (see picture above)
Take 10 breaths here.
5) Standing & sitting side stretch
Target areas: Shoulders and upper back.
Benefits: Reduces back pain, improves upper body flexibility and reduces shoulder stiffness.
How to do it: Stand in mountain pose with your arms at your sides, feet can be hip distance apart. Raise your arms and interlace your fingers over your head with your index fingers pointing upwards.
Draw an invisible arch with your arms, extending them to your left side as far as feels comfortable while pushing your right hip in the opposite direction. Reach up and over with your arms while really rooting down with the right hip and foot.
Lift your arms back to center and stretch to the other direction, taking 3-5 breaths on each side
You can also try doing this pose while seated (see picture above).