Prenatal yoga

A natural, safe and simple way of pregnant women maintaining their health is by engaging in yoga exercises. Yoga prepares pregnant mothers and fetus for easy uncomplicated birth process.

It relieves stress and brings peace and harmony not only to the pregnant women, but to all family members. Yoga is one of methods guaranteeing pregnant women a healthier lifestyle, and pregnant mother’s body alignment in order to enhance healthier pregnancy and delivery process.

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Yoga provides means and techniques to relax. Yoga also improves breathing during labor and in the entire pregnancy. It relaxes body muscles thus alleviating lower and upper back pains. Pregnant women should practice yoga with an experienced yoga teacher. The latter ensures that pregnant women’s parameters remain at optimum in all pregnancy stages.

Initially, before commencing on yoga exercises it is important for any pregnant woman to inquire which poses are suitable for her depending pregnancy stage. It is important to determine if pregnant woman has complications such as cardiovascular diseases which should be dealt with carefully.

It is crucial for pregnant woman to avoid strenuous, belly twisting, inverted and belly compressing poses. One should not attempt to hold or retain breath during the exercises. Additionally, pregnant women should avoid poses which are uncomfortable and exercise moderate not to an extent of extreme fatigue (Health and Yoga.com, 2011).

There are various complications associated with pregnancy. Back pain is a complication common during pregnancy. It is rampant in third pregnancy trimester. Back pain is caused by shift in pregnant mother’s center of gravity. Edema is another complication during pregnancy.

It is due to compression of pelvic veins and inferior venacava by the uterus. Compression of pelvic veins and inferior venacava leads to increase in lower limb’s hydrostatic pressure. Carpel tunnel syndrome is a pregnancy complication which results due to edema in the lower limbs.

Gastro-esophageal reflux disease is a common complication during pregnancy. It is caused by lower esophageal sphincter muscle relaxation during pregnancy. Additionally, prolonged time for transit in stomach causes gastro-esophageal reflux disease. Other common complications in pregnancy include hemorrhoids which are caused by high venous pressure. Also, lower abdominal pain is another complication during pregnancy that is caused by stretching of ligaments and uterus expansion (Tran, 2001).

There are yoga poses that best suits the above complications. Back pain in pregnancy can be resolved by poses such as kati chakrasan also known as waist rotating pose. Thunderbolt pose (vajransan), bhadrasan and gracious pose flapping fish pose (matsya kridasan) are effective in alleviating gastro-esophageal reflux disease (Yoga Journal, 2011).

Sleeping abdominal stretch pose (sputa udarakarshanasan), and flapping fish pose (matsya krid asan) are effective in preventing constipation during pregnancy while half butterfly pose (ardha titali asan) is helpful in alleviating edema in during pregnancy. Other poses which alleviate edema include full butterfly pose also known as poorna titali asan, and churning the mill pose (chakki chalanasan).

Different types of yoga poses are recommended for each semester of pregnancy. In the first pregnancy trimester the recommended yoga poses include half butterfly. It is also known as ardha titali asan. It aims at facilitating fast delivery progress and relaxing knee and hip joints.

Full butterfly pose also known as poorna titali asan is helpful in first trimester. It relieves legs fatigue and contributes to muscle relaxation. Sleeping abdominal stretch pose (sputa udarakarshanAsan) aims at facilitating digestion and alleviating constipation. Also, it relieves spinal tension.

Churning mill pose (chakki chalan asan) improves pelvis muscles and nerve tone. Kashta takshan asan also known as chopping wood pose is important in improving pelvic muscles and nerves tone. Cat stretch pose (marjari asan) boosts spine, neck and shoulder flexibility. Kati chakras also known as waist rotating pose improves hips, back and waist tone. Tadasan or palm tree pose improves mental and physical balance (Health and Yoga.com, 2011).

The recommended second trimester poses include flapping fish pose. It is also known as matsya kridasan. This pose is beneficial in improving digestion and alleviating constipation. Thunderbolt pose (vajransan) improves pregnant women’s digestion especially after meals.

Bhadrasan also known as gracious pose serves same purpose as vajransan. Cat stretch pose is recommended in the second trimester of pregnancy. It facilitates spine, neck and shoulder movement. Utthanasan also known as squat and rise pose is essential for thigh, ankle and uterus muscle firming. Spinal bend pose (meru akarshanasan) easies abdominal, hamstrings and thigh muscles (Health and Yoga.com, 2011).

In third trimester the poses recommended include ankle crank pose that is important in facilitating blood circulation in lower limbs. Half butterfly pose is also known as ardha titali asan. It is aimed at facilitating fast delivery progress and relaxing knee and hip joints. Full butterfly pose is also known as poorna titali asan that is helpful in first trimester.

It relieves legs fatigue and contributes to muscle relaxation. Sleeping abdominal stretch pose (sputa udarakarshanasan) aims at facilitating digestion and alleviating constipation. Also, sleeping abdominal stretch pose relieves spinal tension (Health and Yoga.com, 2011).

References

Health and Yoga.com: Yoga and pregnancy. (2011). Retrieved April 09, 2012 from www.healthandyoga.com/html/pfirst.html

Tran, M. (2001). Effects of yoga practice on the health related aspects of physical fitness. Prev Cardiol, 4 (4), 165-170.

Yoga Journal: Pregnancy modification for experienced students. (2011). Retrieved April 09, 2012 from www.yogajournal.com/practice/767