Why do yoga in pregnancy? What are the benefits?
Elisa of @benessereingravidanza explains how she helps pregnant and postpartum women feel good through her yoga programs.
YOGA'S WORK ON BODY AND MIND
Why is yoga good for expectant mothers?
Yoga is a comprehensive discipline and is also used against stress. Practicing it continuously, in fact, also has positive effects on hormones especially lowering the levels of cortisol in the blood, this helps to combat anxiety and depression by creating a healthier, stronger and resilient even at the level of the immune system. Conciliates sleep, which is more difficult during this period, going to physically and mentally relax the woman. Gives inner strength and increases self-esteem. It helps to create balance, that which begins to waver at the beginning of pregnancy mentally and physically with the advance of time and the growing belly. The body's center of gravity is constantly changing and Yoga is of great help in strengthening and adapting the body by accompanying these changes. It also gives more emotional stability because it increases the flow of vital energy.
Yoga does an exceptional job on breathing, in addition to increasing the awareness we have of the breath moving through the body, it teaches how to connect it to movement. It teaches how to use it as a real tool to relax the mind, oxygenate the whole body and soften the diaphragm, (a muscle that is part of the respiratory system and is located at the base of the lungs, it acts as a "pump" and is very important in breathing) allows you to improve abdominal breathing by increasing the direct oxygenation of the internal organs. This function improves digestion because it increases the direct blood flow to the whole apparatus and brings it especially to the uterus and the baby. The abdominal breathing, diaphragmatic, serves the woman and is used also in labor because it helps to control the pain of contractions and use them in the best way to facilitate then the descent of the baby into the birth canal during the expulsive phase, thus facilitating the birth.
Main benefits of yoga breathing
- Link breathing to movement as analgesia during labor
- Easy digestion of organs that are compressed by the expansion of the uterus
- Increase oxygenation and blood flow to the uterus and baby
LAMBS, ABDOMINALS AND BACK
During pregnancy, as I mentioned earlier, the center of gravity is constantly changing so the entire balance is affected putting a strain on the whole body. Your posture changes to accommodate your new shape and weight and this can have repercussions on your back, hips and legs. Yoga helps the body and accompanies him in these changes going to stimulate and strengthen the abdominal muscles, in a light way, which during pregnancy are weakened and lengthen therefore going to weigh on the back, especially in the lumbar area. It also strengthens the muscles of the back and legs giving additional support. Speaking of posture also keeps stimulated the entire sole of the foot, strengthening the muscles of the ankles. This ensures better circulation throughout the body and a diminution of night cramps that afflict most women during pregnancy. It improves and increases the flexibility of the feet and ankles by increasing awareness in this area, thus teaching to support them and move them properly by increasing the physical balance.
Main benefits for legs, abs and back
- Support for changes in center of gravity
- Strengthening abdominals and back in carrying the weight of the belly
- Prevention of leg cramps
Another area that reacts and changes considerably throughout pregnancy is the pelvis and the whole area that concerns the pelvic floor, that is, the muscles and ligaments that are located at the base of the structure of the pelvis, which close the lower part of the abdominal cavity and which acts as a support because it helps to maintain the pelvic organs in the correct position ensuring their normal functions (bladder, urethra, uterus, vagina, rectum).
The first changes are given by relaxin, a hormone that is secreted throughout pregnancy and that allows to relax the joints and cartilage especially between the bones of the pelvis itself, this allows to prepare it for childbirth. The body already by itself creates the right space to prepare the body for birth, already from the first weeks when, the future baby, is still a small cell. The circulation of the uterus increases immediately creating small discomfort and cramps in the abdomen.
The pressure on the pelvic muscles does not begin immediately but as the pregnancy progresses, the weight of the uterus and the baby increasing on this area begins to cause discomfort that, with constant exercise, you can mitigate if not completely avoid.
The onset of hemorrhoids or urinary incontinence (albeit minimal) are very normal things and Yoga helps us to counteract them with a good work at the pelvic floor and teaches us to recall the Mula Bandha (a "seal" or "block" energy that draws the muscles, in this case, the pelvic floor) during the entire practice of Yoga and also throughout the day.
This exercise is similar if not the same as the Kegel exercises used and recommended for women and pelvic floor wellness, it helps to strengthen and tone the muscles and organs of the lower pelvis and bring awareness to areas of the body that are not usually considered.
If done regularly it ensures a better recovery after childbirth avoiding excessive tearing damage, because the perineum and vaginal area become not only stronger but also more elastic. It helps to limit, if not avoid, problems of urinary or fecal incontinence after childbirth, the healing of the whole system, including the uterus, is definitely better.
Main benefits for the pelvic floor
- Relaxation of muscles under pressure
- Contrasting the onset of incontinence and hemorrhoids.
- Strengthening of a muscle that we never use but that in childbirth is the protagonist
- Better recovery in postpartum
The author: you can find Elisa a @Benessereingravidanza