Prenatal Yoga at Home

Overview

Prenatal yoga can help enable a woman to prepare her body for labor and delivery. “The Power of Yoga,” an article that appeared in the June/July 2010 issue of FitPregnancy, notes that women who consistently practice prenatal yoga generally experience less pain and shorter labor than those who do not practice prenatal yoga. Another advantage to prenatal yoga is that it can be practiced at home with relatively little resources.

Benefits

Prenatal yoga offers numerous benefits in addition to potentially less pain during labor and a shorter delivery. Practicing yoga can help control stress and anxiety, both of which may increase during pregnancy. Certain poses also are designed to relieve pain in the lower back and hips–a common complaint for many pregnant women. Most prenatal poses are simple enough for people of all fitness levels. More advanced poses can be modified to accommodate beginners as well.

Resources

An optimal resource for beginners wanting to practice prenatal yoga at home is a DVD. Prenatal yoga DVDs offer a sequence of poses that women can follow along with as they see fit. A yoga mat is also beneficial. Mats can be found at most exercise stores and large retail outlets. A towel on a carpeted area may be used as a substitute for those who would rather not purchase a mat. A supportive sports bra is essential as many women experience tender breasts throughout pregnancy.

Poses

While there are numerous prenatal yoga poses, Yoga Journal recommends the cat/cow pose as one of the most beneficial during pregnancy. To perform this pose, get on your hands and knees on a yoga mat or towel with your shoulders directly over the wrists. Arms should be straight and shoulder-width apart. Your knees should be slightly more than hip length apart. Inhale while drawing the tailbone up and simultaneously drawing the shoulders back and looking up. Slowly exhale while pressing the hands deeper into the floor, pulling your chin into your chest and rounding the spine.

Considerations

When practicing prenatal yoga it is important not to overstretch. The poses are designed to alleviate muscle soreness not cause soreness. Stop doing anything that does not feel right. It’s also important to consume adequate fluids before and after practicing prenatal yoga. Dehydration can cause a number of pregnancy complications including preterm labor, according to the American Pregnancy Association.

Warning

The American Pregnancy Association advises that pregnant women should avoid exercising on their backs. Prenatal yoga poses should be done sitting, standing or on the hands and knees. Prenatal yoga is recommended for most pregnant women. However, yoga novices should consult with a health care provider before starting to practice to ensure it’s safe for them.

About this Author

Maria Price worked as an editor for a medical publishing company for several years. She now does freelance editing and writing for various companies both in and out of the medical field. Price has a Master of Science degree from Drexel University in publications management.