Yoga for Healthy Pregnancy
Written by Dr. Minakshi Welukar.
Pregnancy is one of the happiest movement in a woman's life. Each couple expects to have a normal pregnancy period with the birth of healthy baby. Every nation has an agenda to provide medical facilities and care to every single pregnant woman so that pregnancy and delivery remain uneventful with healthy outcomes for both baby and mother.
Pregnancy brings a lot of physiological and hormonal changes in the body of a woman, which induces physical and psychological impact. Morning sickness, fatigue, dizziness, lower-back pain, indigestion, increased frequency of urination, sleep disturbances, mood swings, stress, anxiety and pedal oedema are some of the commonly noticed discomforting issues of pregnancy. Along with that pregnancy can place complications before, during or after delivery. Such complications are not only hazardous to growing baby but can turn out potentially life-threatening to mother as well. Drug therapy is not always a good option to tackle with complications as it can be risky to developing baby.
Various studies have found out that yoga is beneficial in maintaining smooth pregnancy free from complications with improved outcomes.
Yoga and meditation offer good quality of life to pregnant women by meeting the demand of baby, labour and motherhood. Yoga poses strengthen the pelvic floor and improve joint flexibility for a comfortable pregnancy and easier delivery. Breathing techniques favours enough oxygen supply to growing baby to meet developing demands. Meditation improves physical and mental well-being.Moreover; yoga restores body shape in a post pregnancy period.
Reduction in Pregnancy Discomfort
Hormonal changes and pressure of growing baby on important abdominal organs make pregnancy discomforting especially in the third trimester. However, practicing yoga is found to reduce such discomforts and soothe the labour process facilitating easier childbirth as reported in Journal Midwifery.
Reduce Stress Level
About 20% of women suffer from stress and anxiety disorders during pregnancy and after a delivery period. Practicing yoga during pregnancy for one hour reduces stress levels as well deep relaxation techniques improve the heart rate by increasing parasympathetic activity and slowing down sympathetic one as documented in International Journal of Gynaecology and obstetrics.
Improve Sleep Efficiency
Increased urinary frequency and discomfort from enlarging abdomen frequently causes sleep disturbance. Women practicing mindful yoga covering meditation and Hatha yoga during second trimester of pregnancy significantly experiences fewer awakenings, less wake time during the night and improved sleep efficacy as noted in a study published on Journal Biological Research for Nursing.
Reduce Labour Pain
Effective management of labour pain is a crucial event during vaginal delivery. Many women dislike the drug therapy or invasive methods for labour pain management. In such a scenario using a complementary method of pain management such as yoga offer a good result.
According to the review by Cochrane database, relaxation exercises during pregnancy reduce pain intensity during active phase of labour, reduce the length of labour and cut down interventions during vaginal delivery such as forceps or vacuums. All such things increased satisfaction of mother during the childbirth process.
Improve Pregnancy Outcome
Yoga postures, breathing exercises and meditation during pregnancy for one hour improve birth weight of baby. Additionally, yoga decrease preterm labour and the chances of intrauterine growth retardation in isolation or when associated with high blood pressure in pregnancy as per study finding published in Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.
Yoga journal recommends practicing the following yoga poses during pregnancy:
- Extended Triangle Pose - Utthita Trikonasana
- Extended Side Angle pose - Utthita Parsvakonasana
- Warrior Pose - Virabhadrasana
- Eagle Pose - Garudasana
- Bound Angle Pose - Baddha Konasana
- Wide-Angle Seated Forward Pose - Upavisths Konasana
You must learn all these poses from yoga trainer or better to perform under supervision to avoid unforeseen complications.
- 7 Yoga Postures for Pregnancy
- The practice of yoga during pregnancy can not only keep you physically fit, but also mentally prepared for the birth. Here are some yoga postures to help alleviate pregnancy discomforts.
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