New Delhi: Giving birth to a baby can be extremely challenging for the mother's body, and yoga can help with both the elasticity and endurance power of expecting mothers, in turn increasing chances of normal delivery, says a maternity yoga expert who runs a Gurgaon-based health and wellness yoga centre.
Kedar Nath, Director of Maatriyoga says the aim of pregnancy yoga is to help the mother bring the unborn into the world with minimum hassle and completely no health complications. Positions and exercises practised across the three trimesters of pregnancy can differ with every phase.
The pre- and post-natal yoga sessions, now also conducted online, are focussed on ensuring maternal comfort, training to deal with labour pain and manage birth outcomes. Most of all, pregnancy yoga done in the correct way can help mothers avoid complicated surgical procedures.
Envisioning a platform for women's empowerment and promoting holistic well-being, the health centre focuses on prioritizing self-care in pregnancy. The wellness services support expectants and new mums, and infants in the first 1,000 days of life.
"As per industry estimates, about 90 per cent of women prepare themselves for a normal delivery. However, only 65 per cent of them are able to achieve this. There are factors, such as eating habits and overall well-being which hampers the natural delivery process. Yoga not just helps in delivery of the baby naturally but also helps maintain the physical and mental well-being of the woman," says Kedar Nath.
"Although it became a trend to do yoga for physical fitness but it has meditative and spiritual value also. It brings contentment and gives peace to your mind. Yoga helps fight with all the problems which a woman faces during pregnancy," he adds.
"You need more oxygen during pregnancy, and your body adapts to meet this need in several ways. An increase in hormones, particularly progesterone, directly affects your lungs and stimulates the respiratory centre in your brain. And while the number of breaths you take per minute actually changes very little during pregnancy, the amount of air you inhale and exhale with each breath increases significantly."
For the first trimester, standing yoga poses are advised as this will help strengthen the legs, enhance circulation, generate energy, and may reduce leg cramps.
During the second and third trimester, you should focus on breathing and meditation. you may reduce your time spent practicing the asanas to prevent fatigue and overwork.
It is also not advised to practice from the tenth through the fourteenth week of pregnancy since these are crucial times. Do not overstretch the abdomen; the emphasis of your twisting poses should be on the shoulders and the upper back and not on the abdomen.
"Besides these yoga asanas you can do walking which is one of the cheapest ways to get fit. During pregnancy chances of constipation and high blood pressure are high. So walking 30 minutes twice a day prevents these problems. Walk slowly but walk daily."