A time of elevated stress, pregnancy is hard on expecting mothers, physically, emotionally and mentally. Dealing with everyday life is not the only problem that they have to deal with. In addition to these problems are the numerous physical and hormonal elements that can lead to increased anxiety.

These high levels of stress have frequently been associated with the increasing rates of miscarriage, increasing blood pressure, low weight of the newborn, premature delivery and even reduced development of the brain.

Yoga is one effective and safe way of reducing these stresses suffered during pregnancy, covering varying breathing techniques, meditation and different positions.

Yoga will help you calm the different stages that you go through during pregnancy and can also help you to reduce the stresses after giving birth. This in turn leads to more positive interaction between you and your baby, helping to sleep better and deal better with other stressful situations that would otherwise be created by the situation.

Postures that require you to stretch will help you to reduce tension in the muscles and improve the litheness of your joints while various breathing exercises can help to slow the abnormally quick, shallow breathing that you experience during pregnancy.

Yoga also has the potential to help reduce fatigue and some of the lesser pains of the pregnancy while assisting the proper circulation of blood. These techniques, used to relax you, can be used during and after labour.

Women who practice yoga during their pregnancy have been able to significantly reduce the unpleasant side effects of pregnancy, even when compared to women who do aerobic exercises on a daily basis.

You will also realise once you start practicing yoga regularly, that fitness exercises do not always require stress and sweat. Yoga provides an effective way to keep up fitness and flexibility, but this is not necessarily to say that it should replace any other forms of exercise. It should be included alongside a generally healthy lifestyle and other activities that will help you and your child through pregnancy and beyond.

Before taking up yoga during pregnancy, it is strongly advisable that you consult your doctor, since there could be other issues that may prevent you from practicing safely.

Some positions in yoga are not safe to practice while pregnant, especially during the first three months. Because of this, it is advisable not to begin until after the first three months unless you have experience with yoga during a previous pregnancy.

All pregnancies are different, so it is essential that you consult your G.P. before beginning and know about anything that you should be avoiding. You will also find that a doctor’s certificate is compulsory for the yoga instructor for each pregnant patient, but it is the responsibility of the patient to find this out.

Instructors should be trained to a minimum of the RYTA200 standard, and ideally a trained therapist of yoga. They should be registered with the Yoga Association and professionally insured. There are various professionals who can help guide you in the right course of action.

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