It’s no secret that with all the beautiful moments pregnancy brings that there’s also a lot of pain and discomfort. While you may not be able to exercise like you used to, yoga is an amazing way to relieve some of your discomforts. Yoga has the ability not only to decrease your stress—the root cause of many pregnancy ailments—but it can also reduce back pain, heartburn, headaches, tired feet, and insomnia.
Prenatal Yoga to Reduce Stress
On top of presenting its own negative effects on your overall health, stress can also worsen the issues you were already experiencing pre-pregnancy. Learning to tackle stress during your pregnancy will help with all your weird pains and help you sleep better!
Sit on your yoga mat with your legs crossed (criss-cross-applesauce style). Use your hands to move your glute muscles so that you’re firmly on the mat, resting solely on your sit bones. Sit up as straight as you can, and place your hands on your knees. Close your eyes and practice deep, slow breathing. As you breathe in, count five full seconds. Do the same when you breathe out, and get a nice, calm rhythm going.
Supported Fish Pose
This one may require some props! Lie down on your back and use a rolled up blanket or towel, or a small lumbar pillow if you have one, to support your shoulder blades. Your prop should be resting just below your underarms to support your upper back. Rest your arms out to the sides, forming a t-shape with your body. Keep your palms facing up, close your eyes, and practice the same breathing rhythm. Focus on relaxing everything—every muscle from head to toe—and let go of tension and negativity with every breath.
Prenatal Yoga to Help You Sleep
Another cure-all for pregnancy ailments is sleep. Trouble sleeping is a very common problem for pregnant women, and it’s another factor that can worsen any troubles you already have. In addition to the Easy Pose from the last section, try these simple poses before bed to help you fall asleep faster, and more easily.
Recline in bed and bend your knees so that your feet are flat on the bed. Cross your right ankle over your left knee, keeping your foot flexed and perpendicular to your shin. Move your right knee away from you, engaging your hip muscles, or grab onto your left hamstring and pull your leg towards you. Take slow, deep breaths while you do this, and when you’re ready, repeat with the other leg.
Seated Forward Bend
Sit up straight and extend your legs in front of you. Reach for your toes—if it hurts, you’re reaching too far! With every exhale, reach forward a little bit more. Try to keep your spine as straight as possible, while slightly bending your knees to help. Breathe slowly and deeply.
Wide Child’s Pose
Get onto all fours, and separate your knees about as wide as your yoga mat is. Touch your toes together on the mat behind you. Sit your hips back onto your heels, and reach your arms forward on the mat for a good stretch. Stretch as much as you’d like, and relax your arms by your sides. Stay in this relaxing position for several deep breaths.
Lie down on your back, either in bed or on your yoga mat, and let your hands rest comfortably at your sides, palms up. Make sure every limb is resting a comfortable and natural distance away from your body. Close your eyes, and focus on relaxing every muscle you have. Start with your toes, and work your way up your body, releasing any tension you feel. This is a very simple yet very effective way to get sleepy if you’re feeling restless!
Prenatal Yoga for Back Pain and Hip Tension
The average woman gains about 30 pounds during pregnancy, and it’s almost all on the front of your body. With all this added weight to your chest, belly, and pelvic area, you’re bound to experience some back and hip strain. Try some of these yoga poses to help relieve the pain while strengthening those muscles that support the extra weight!
Seated Side Bend
Sit down on your yoga mat with your legs crossed. Sit tall, keeping your spine as straight as you can. Lift your right hand up into the air, and slowly tilt to the left. Make sure you’re keeping your arm in line with your body, and that your arm isn’t moving behind or in front of your head. You should feel the stretch in your side—the deeper you want to stretch, the more you’ll tilt to the left. But remember that stretching shouldn’t hurt!
Standing Forward Fold
Stand up straight with your feet as wide as your hips or a little wider. Place your hands on your hips and hinge forward at your hips, keeping your back as straight as you can while you fold. Continue to fold more and more, and when you can’t keep your back straight anymore, bend your knees and relax into a full fold. You can let your arms dangle, grab onto your ankles, or hold both elbows.
Stand with your feet very wide—wider than your mat—and face your toes outward for optimum balance. Drop your hips down and back, keeping your back straight and your feet flat on the mat. Bring your hands into a prayer position in front of your chest. Focus on deep breathing, and keeping your chest open as you inhale.
Low Runner’s Lunge With Twist
If you’re in your third trimester, you can adapt this pose to how your feeling. The twist may be uncomfortable for you, and if it is, feel free to skip that part. Start in a lunge with your right foot forward. Make sure everything is in line—your right knee should be straight above your right ankle, your shin perpendicular with the floor. Use your left toes for balance, and drop your left knee to the mat if you need the extra support. Stabilize yourself with your hands on the mat, and when you’re ready, lift your right arm to the sky and twist your body. Hold this pose for a few breaths, and again, skip the twisting if it doesn’t feel right.
Seated Figure 4
This is a great alternative pose for those who find the previous poses uncomfortable. Sit on your mat with your hands placed flat behind you. Bend your knees so that both feet are flat on the mat. Cross your right ankle over your left knee, and flex your foot. Move your right knee away from you using your hip muscles. Breath deeply, and then do the same pose on the other side. This pose works great in a chair too, if that’s more comfortable for you.
This pose looks exactly how it sounds! This one is an amazing restorative pose that will bring a lot of relief to your legs, feet, hamstrings, and lower back. Sit close to a wall, and swing your legs up in the air to lean them against it. Scoot your bottom up as close to the wall as you can—if you feel tightness in your hamstrings or your back, you can scoot a few inches away from the wall. Let your arms rest at your sides and breathe deeply.
Get onto all fours, and transition from Cow Pose to Cat Pose while breathing steadily. Inhale through Cow Pose, letting your belly drop and lifting your tailbone and your head to the sky. Exhale through Cat Pose, rounding your spine like a cat, tucking your head down, and stretching between your shoulder blades. Go through several rounds of these poses, breathing deeply and slowly the entire time.
Prenatal Yoga for Indigestion and Heartburn
There’s nothing like a bad case of heartburn to make everything else worse—it’s hard to sleep or relax with heartburn or indigestion, but these yoga poses can help!
This pose stimulates your abdominal organs, and improves digestion! Stand up, and face the right edge of your yoga mat. Turn your left toes forward toward the front of your mat. Turn your right toes at a 45 degree angle. Put your right hand on your hip, and reach your right arm up to the sky. Your body should tip over to the left. Make sure your shoulders are on top of each other and that you aren’t twisting backward or forward. Look up at your right hand, and breathe deeply. When you’re ready, repeat the pose on the other side.
Bound Eagle Pose
Sit down on your yoga mat, and put the bottoms of your feet together with your knees out to the side (butterfly pose). Wrap your hands around your feet, and focus on deep breathing. Sit up as tall as you can, and slowly start to hinge forward to deepen the stretch.
The most important part of prenatal yoga is finding time to relax, recenter, and breathe during your pregnancy. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, but this stress will only add to your ailments. So take some time, maybe even just a few minutes a day, for yourself—you and your baby deserve it! Remember, this is not the time to push yourself exercising or stretching. Your body is under a lot of stress as it is, so be sure you’re listening to what it needs and not over straining it.
For more support, tips, and advice for your pregnancy journey, contact Regional Medical Center today!