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Monday, May 4, 2009

Prenatal Yoga - Top 7 Benefits For Pregnant Women

By Laura Greenacres

These days expectant mothers everywhere are looking for ways to maintain their health and stay in shape throughout their pregnancy. Unfortunately, pregnancy can severely limit a woman's exercise options. That's why thousands of pregnant women have turned to yoga as a way to stay active and healthy. When performed properly, yoga is safe for pregnant women and has benefits for everything from flexibility to cardiovascular health.

Here are the top 7 benefits of yoga for a pregnant woman:

  • Stretching exercises promote circulation of blood and oxygen throughout the body, relaxing both body and mind and promoting a sense of general well-being

  • Pregnant women typically shift their pelvis forward in response to the increased weight, which places significant strain on the lower back. Yoga strengthens the core muscles, resulting in better posture and alleviated back pain.

  • Yoga strengthens the muscles used in delivery, which will make the entire process easier and less painful.

  • Pregnancy can shift the position of the digestive organs, impeding digestion and causing unwanted side effects. Yoga can help reverse this process and restore healthy digestion.

  • Practicing yoga will build muscle mass, which will give you more energy and make your pregnancy easier. It will also make it easier to lose the weight you put on while you're pregnant.

  • One of the most important benefits of yoga for a pregnant woman is the practice's focus on breathing. Concentrating on breathing properly will teach you to relax your mind and your body, even in frightening or high-stress situations, helping your pregnancy to develop healthily.

  • Yoga is also a great way to make contact with a community of pregnant women, who will be able to give you support and advice. Enrolling in a yoga class will also give you regular motivation to keep exercising and stay relaxed.

If you're pregnant and are considering taking up yoga, try to find an instructor that specializes in prenatal yoga. If you already take yoga, accept that your routine will have to change, and consider switching to a specialized instructor. A specialist in prenatal yoga will be able to advise you on which positions to avoid and recommend substitutions, and also recommend exercises that will help alleviate the aches and pains that pregnant women have.