Pregnancy can be a wonderful and totally nerve-wracking time in a woman’s life. I remember when I first found out I was pregnant with my daughter; my mind instantly started to question my diet and exercise regimen.
If you’re looking for a gentle way to relax and stay limber, I highly recommend yoga, which can be done virtually anywhere. Yoga has been a part of my weekly exercise routine for many years. Sometimes I rely on practicing for stress-relief and other times for the deep stretch and physical challenge it offers.
Yoga during pregnancy comes with so many benefits, including helping mom to stay fit as well as reducing stress and anxiety. Yoga can also help with labor and delivery because you are increasing the strength, flexibility, and endurance needed during childbirth. I also found that it helped me to sleep (a little) more soundly. [If you’re pregnant, always make sure you talk with your provider about what exercise is right for you—since every person and pregnancy is unique.]
Here are 3 of my favorite yoga poses to do during pregnancy:
- Cat /Cow helps to relieve pressure on the back and (possibly) help to get the baby in the “head down” position near the end of pregnancy. Simply come to all fours pressing your hands firmly into the ground making sure your knees are hips distance (or wider) apart. On an inhale, arch your back (belly pointing toward the floor) and look-up, pulling your shoulders away from your ears. On an exhale, round your back and look to your belly. Gently flow through this sequence 8-10 times.
- Sitting Side Stretch is the perfect stretch for a growing belly! It stretches your side waist and hips. Sit in a straddle position on the floor with your toes flexed. Bend your right-knee and pull your foot in toward the midline. Next, reach up and over with your right hand towards your left toes. Hold for 20-30 seconds. Switch sides.
- Child’s Pose feels good whether you are pregnant or not! It is a great pose to help calm the nervous system and breathe deeply into the back—both of which are good for labor. Come to all fours. Widen your knees so they are about as wide as a yoga mat. Send the hips back towards your heels while reaching your fingers in the opposite direction ahead of you. Settle your hips down as if you are sitting back and just breathe. Hold for at least 30 seconds.