Doing yoga during pregnancy has myriad benefits to the mother-to-be. Here, yoga teacher Susan Bradley extols the virtues – from breathwork that helps reduce stress and improves labour, to connecting with your baby and being part of a community…
Susan Bradley is the creator of For Modern Mothers, providing a range of programs, courses and classes for pregnant women and mothers.
Many women who’ve never even thought about yoga before are drawn to it during pregnancy. Perhaps their midwife suggested it, perhaps friends or family raved on about how it helped them.
So what’s the big deal? Well, pregnancy yoga provides a safe and supportive way to move your body in pregnancy, working with your pregnant body as it grows and changes. But it also offers so much more than just some exercise appropriate for the pregnant body.
Let me explain…
As a pregnancy yoga teacher and birth coach, the mothers-to-be in my classes tell me all the time that they are supported on so many levels. Pregnancy yoga is multilayered. Here’s just a few of the numerous brilliant benefits:
1. Your body
There’s all this stuff going on in your body (erm, growing a whole new human), but it can certainly take its toll – both physically and mentally on you. A pregnant body is an amazing and beautiful thing, but the transformation and changes can also be a difficult for some (well, many) women.
So connecting to your body, moving in safe ways that feel good, easing out tension and tightness and strengthening your pregnant body can be so helpful. Feeling good in your body is a really empowering, confidence-boosting and positive thing in pregnancy.
2. Your breath
A key part of pregnancy yoga is learning to breathe better – in ways that is beneficial to you – and your baby, too. It really is such a powerful practice – simple changes to your breathing can make a difference to how calm you feel, and changing your breathing pattern can actually change the level of stress hormones in your bloodstream (reducing them hugely) and brings you into your body’s ‘relaxation response’.
Simple – yet hugely effective, when you know how. Connecting with your breath is also a great way to connect to yourself in the moment, to be more present in your pregnancy and also present with your baby too – because don’t forget that you are breathing for two. Not only can the breathing practices help you to feel calmer and more connected in your pregnancy, but I also teach breathing practices that are really helpful in labour too.
Then there’s the community. Connecting with other awesome mums-to-be. This for me is something very special, I see myself not just as a teacher but also as a creator of community.
As humans we crave human connection, we want to feel part of something and we take support from others around us. Pregnancy can be a time of huge change, and many women feel out of their comfort zone with all the changes. They want to know others are feeling the same as them and this is where connecting with other mothers-to-be can really help.
So on one level, you’re helping to relieve the physical demands of pregnancy on the body (those aches, pains and niggles we all get), on another you are preparing yourself physically and mentally for labour and birth, on another you are growing your inner self-confidence, whilst also having some dedicated time to relax and connect with your unborn baby.
Add to that mix of goodness the social connection, a haven and reassurance for women as they share in their experiences at such a pivotal time in their lives. There lies its true power and magic – all of this combined is how pregnancy yoga can help you.
You can do pregnancy yoga if you have never done yoga before. And it doesn’t matter about your body shape, or fitness level – all that’s irrelevant.
If you’d like to try pregnancy yoga, I’ve created The Online Pregnancy Yoga Program™. It’s accessible and affordable (just £39), and you can do it from the comfort of your own home. Plus, you get the option of connecting to an online community of other pregnant women if you want to.
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