A pregnant woman goes through numerous physical, emotional, and mental changes for nine months since the baby is conceived, developed and delivered. A woman must stay healthy and fit to ensure not only her health but that of the baby as well. The three factors essential during pregnancy are eating healthy food, taking appropriate rest, and exercising regularly for a few minutes. Eating nutritional food and taking rest are two factors which a pregnant woman can do but the important factor which needs attention is performing some physical workout. A daily routine of low impact physical activity can considerably help a pregnant woman to optimize her energy levels, remove the discomforts of pregnancy, prepare the body for labor and childbirth, and help to recover quickly after the baby is born.
A woman who is careful about her fitness before pregnancy will likely do all the necessary tasks to ensure her physical and mental health during the months of pregnancy. However, it is important to talk with the doctor of the health service provider before a pregnant woman decides to join a fitness club and start exercising routine. A doctor can guide and advise on the type and duration of physical activity, which would be best during pregnancy. The common physical and emotional problems that women come across during pregnancy are backaches, muscle fatigue, indigestion, heartburn, varicose veins, nausea, lack of sleep, bloating, constipation, frequency of urination or lack of it, and swollen ankles.
The pregnancy period is divided into three stages, which are called three trimesters.
The first trimester starts from Week 1 and ends in Week 12, the second trimester is from Week 13 to Week 28, while the third trimester is from Week 29 and until the baby is born which can be anywhere from Week 37 to Week 42. The easy and low impact exercises that pregnant women can conveniently perform are brisk walking, stationary cycling, Yoga, Pilates, swimming, and low impact aerobic exercises. The one physical workout routine that can help a pregnant woman stay fit and relaxed is ‘yoga’ which helps to achieve the right balance between the mind and body. There are many fitness and wellbeing centers that are offering pregnancy yoga classes for pregnant women wanting to maintain their physical and mental health. The yoga classes are conducted by an expert and experienced physical trainers who not only know about the yoga postures but modifying the yoga activities to suit the needs of pregnant women. The emphasis of the yoga workout is stretching, breathing, and relaxation, which can comfort the mind and body of pregnant women.
The four essential factors of yoga are physical exercises and postures, breathing activities, relaxation, and meditation. A pregnant woman should buy a yoga mat and keep a bottle of water along with small meals or items to eat, which can provide instant energy. The yoga instructor would modify the yoga postures and not ask the women to perform movements which can cause muscle strain and aches. A typical yoga class will start as
- The yoga trainer or instructor would first know the names of pregnant women present in the class and the stage of their pregnancy as every woman feels pregnancy differently. The yoga instructor would also like to know if any women have some other physical or emotional problem or stress.
- A regular yoga session begins by pregnant women warming their bodies by gentle stretches of their arms, shoulders, and back. The stretches would allow to improve the blood circulation and relax the muscles.
- The second part of the yoga class is women practicing certain easy and low impact postures. A standing vinyasa flow will include pelvic floor, hip and chest opening poses, diaphragmatic breathing, and toning of the abdominal muscles.
- The last pose is lying on your back and closing of the eyes. The lying down pose will be modified depending on the trimester of the pregnant woman. In the second trimester, the pregnant woman would lie on her back and prop the body at 45-degree angle while in the third trimester, the woman should keep a pillow and blanket for support.
- Few minutes are also served in breathing exercise where the pregnant women are asked to breathe in and out deeply with their nose. The breathing exercise is necessary to help women cope with shortness of breath which is common in labor and childbirth
- The last part of the yoga class is meditation, where pregnant women are asked to listen to their heartbeat, thoughts, and emotions.
The advantages and physical benefits of pregnancy yoga classes are
- Helps to tone the muscles particularly the abdominal muscles and prepare the body for labor and childbirth
- Boost the strength, endurance, flexibility, and stamina of the pregnant women
- Improve the blood circulation and heart function
- Helps to get a good night sleep
- Reduce muscle pain, body aches, and anxiety
Decrease lower back pain, shortness of breath, headaches, and bloating.