I have recently been doing some prenatal yoga training which has been brilliant to remind of all the amazing benefits of pregnancy yoga.
For 10 years I taught Daisy Birthing classes and, if you’ve ever been you’ll know, I explain the benefits of all the movements as we do them. But there is so much more to a yoga class than a good stretch.
After Daisy I continued classes under my own name but without ‘Daisy’ Birthing I felt I need to do some more training and so I have completed a 200 hour yoga training and an 85 hour prenatal yoga training. This has given me chance to make a few adjustments to classes and also think more about why I teach pregnancy yoga and what it can do to help you on your pregnancy and birth journey.
During pregnancy your body undergoes some huge changes. As baby grows your organs get squashed and rearranged, your blood volume changes and your heart works harder, your posture changes and your centre of gravity alters which can affect your balance.
All of these things can be amazing changes which you embrace or they could leave you feeling like you are in the body of a stranger. Doing pregnancy yoga regularly can help you feel more connected with your body and more comfortable with the changes. You might find yoga helps you feel more accepting as you explore what your body can do.
If you are feeling some discomfort as your bump grows you are certainly not alone! Back ache, heartburn, pelvic pressure or pain, discomfort in your ribs or even in your wrists are really quite common.
Pregnancy yoga can really help with these aches and pains as we create a bit more space in the body, gently stretch out tight muscles and help encourage balance across the body. If you an area of tension in e.g. your back this can be impacting on muscles elsewhere, such as your pelvis as everything is being impacted by imbalances in the body. Dealing with those little pulls and twists can really help ease other areas of discomfort.
The position of your baby can make a difference to your birth – did you know that? Having your baby in a good position will help your labour progress as they put more pressure on the cervix aiding dilation and oxytocin release and also they will be able to rotate through the pelvis more easily if they only have a short distance to go.
This links back to having the body in balance. Your baby is more likely to find their optimal position when the uterus sits well balanced in the pelvis. To do this the ligaments which support the uterus need to be just right and they connect to the pelvis and spine so muscles of the back and pelvic area also need to balanced. Everything interconnects and can impact. Doing yoga will help with these and we use positions that can also help release the uterine ligaments too.
So yoga can help with baby position and therefore can help your labour progress.
Stress, Anxiety and Depression
There is evidence that a weekly yoga session reduces anxiety, depression and perceived stress in pregnancy.
During pregnancy you might experience a range of mental health issues, some may be a small temporary impact and others may be longer lasting and more significant. If you do need to seek support for depression or anxiety in your pregnancy please do speak to your midwife. You might be referred for specialist midwifery care with a team who can help you more during and after your pregnancy.
Taking time out to do weekly yoga can help with these feelings as you take time to switch off and focus on your body and baby. A key part of a yoga class and certainly in my classes, in relaxation. Throughout the class we focus on breathing which helps your nervous system settle to a resting state and can help you calm your mind, the flowing movements can become a wonderful mindfulness practice. We end every class with a deep guided relaxation which brings you hypnobirthing techniques as well as being a weekly chance to lie down, close your eyes and really relax.
Keeping stress levels low also helps you have a healthier pregnancy reducing the chances of preterm birth or high blood pressure.
Better Birth Outcomes
A recent study actually found that weekly yoga sessions reduce the duration of labour and increases the chance of a vaginal birth. Surely that alone is enough to persuade anyone to give it a go!
It is probably a combination of things affecting this – the fact that baby is more likely to find their best position, preparing muscles that you use for birth, strengthening your pelvic muscles, learning how to relax your pelvic floor and being conscious about your breathing and relaxation techniques.
Whatever the reasons, it works, fantastic.
ALL THE EXTRAS!
I can’t speak for all yoga classes here so here is what I know you get from mine. Birthing classes are so much more than pregnancy yoga. You will leave me with hypnobirthing techniques, breathing techniques and familiarity with movements and positions to help with your birth.
I strongly recommend you attend at least one term of classes with the antenatal education element so you can learn more about your options for birth, the choices you need to consider and a good understanding of how birth works. We cover breathing, positions, hormones, movement, baby position, how your uterus and cervix works, how to work with your body as well as starting to think about things like pain relief and interventions.
All in your yoga class – so simple!
It’s also a great place to meet other local mums-to-be and chat about all the ups and downs of pregnancy and preparing for birth. I love seeing the friendships forming each week and in our private whatsapp groups as people share their thoughts, ideas and experiences (over sharing is always very welcome!).
So what have you got to lose? Pregnancy yoga can be a really affordable way to prepare for birth and enjoy some weekly time for you, I even offer PAYG options if you want to pay weekly when you are able to attend. And it isn’t just for first timers, however many times you’ve done this before, the benefits will all still be there for you.
Make sure your classes are booked, I would love to welcome you to classes soon and help you on this amazing journey.