While being healthy and fit benefits everybody in general, it’s more a necessity if you’re an expecting mum. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle not only helps you balance your mind, body, and breath; but also relieves stress and addresses prenatal health issues such as Anemia or gestational diabetes. But if you’ve not been a gym junkie and are slowly easing into exercising as advised, first trimester prenatal yoga is the best way forward.
Like traditional yoga, prenatal yoga is one of the safest ways to improve blood circulation, stretch muscles to accommodate the growing baby, and calm the nerves.
First Trimester Prenatal Yoga For Beginners: All You Need To Know
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The first three months of pregnancy can be quite demanding. There is a lot already happening, with hormones releasing, blood pressure decreasing, joints beginning to lose, muscles relaxing, and so on. For this reason, the first trimester also has a high risk of miscarriage. (In fact in Singapore alone, this risk is pegged at 25 percent of pregnancies, according to HealthXchange.) Which is why, first trimester prenatal yoga is a must for all expecting mums.
You may not feel comfortable being vocal about your pregnancy during the initial months. But inform your yoga instructor so they can guide you accordingly.
7 Benefits Of First Trimester Prenatal Yoga
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- Tones the body. Prenatal yoga tones the lower pelvic area, especially the hip and abdominal muscles. It prepares the body for the birthing process. Maintaining muscle tone during pregnancy, with poses like lunges and gentle backbends, can help neutralise the pain of those nine months. It also works to bring your body back to a toned condition post-delivery (read, muscle memory).
- Relieves stress. Prenatal yoga is an excellent stress-buster. Staying committed to yogic practices, like mindful breathing, allows your body to experience a healthy birth process.
- Brings common pregnancy issues under control. According to Mayo Clinic, prenatal yoga eases pregnancy-related hurdles like backache, headache, and nausea. During the first trimester, your body may experience bouts of headaches, lower back pain, insomnia, shortness of breath, and nausea. However, practising prenatal yoga asanas helps your body stretch in a way that blood circulation improves. The breathing exercises help in bringing oxygen to you and the baby.
- Helps maintain healthy pregnancy. Prenatal yoga paves way for a healthier pregnancy. According to research, women who consistently adopt yoga asanas during pregnancy do not experience preterm labour.
- Allows you to connect with yourself. Prenatal yoga first trimester for beginners allows you to connect with your body on a deeper level. Focus on the postures and breath, and you will slowly tune into your body. Gradually, you will reach a stage where you start connecting with the life growing inside.
- Helps you sleep better. It nurtures and promotes self-love as you destress from a tiring day and focus on yourself. A good stretching and you are all set for a good night’s sleep.
- Makes you part of a community. Attending a prenatal yoga session enables support from a community of other expecting women. This can be really helpful, especially as a first-time mother since the experience is quite overwhelming and stressful.
What Foods To Eat While Practising Prenatal Yoga?
While there is no fixed foods for you to consume if you are doing first trimester prenatal yoga, there are some items you can add to your daily intake list.
These include cereal, milk, yoghurt, fruit salad, fruit smoothie, a bowl of soup, carrot sticks and a handful of dry fruits.
All of these food items are rich in calcium, iron, proteins, essential fats and aid in the growth and development of your baby.
5 Best Positions To Kick Start Prenatal Yoga
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- Cat Cow pose: In this asana, you begin with a tabletop position (hands and knees on the floor). Once positioned, you inhale and lift your chest towards the ceiling. As you exhale you lift your spine towards the ceiling and repeat the pose a couple of times. The cat cow pose also called Bitilasana reduces stiffness and lower backache.
- Sitting side bends: This pose helps to create an opening in the pelvis, side waist, and hips. You begin by sitting with one leg extended and the other folded in. You reach towards the leg that’s extended with corresponding arm and repeat the same on the other leg.
- Standing side stretch: This particular pose targets the shoulder and upper back, it’s designed for upper body flexibility and shoulder stiffness. As the name suggests, you begin the pose by standing straight and then slowly go side to side with your arms extended at the top of your head.
- Bound angle pose: Also called the Baddha Konasana or the butterfly, this pose helps to widen thighs and hips for smooth delivery, and also reduces body fatigue. You begin by sitting on the ground and bringing your feet together. You can hold both your feet with your hands and then flutter your legs as a butterfly flutters her wings.
- Yoga squat: You may be familiar with a yoga squat or Malasana already. It’s a great exercise to widen the hips and pelvis and strengthen your quad muscles. All you need to do to practice this pose is to sit down, with your knees stretched wide towards either side (like you would to pee).
5 Things To Remember If You Are Doing Prenatal Yoga
If you have just started yoga, start with first trimester prenatal yoga for beginners. During the early phase of your pregnancy, you will not have many restrictions as you are still small and can bend and sit down easily. But make sure to follow the tips below:
- Keep yourself hydrated, especially during and after exercising.
- Practice safe pregnancy exercises. Consult with your doctor before starting, especially if you’ve tried yoga before.
- Breathe deeply and consistently while stretching.
- If you experience pain or discomfort, allow modifications or ask your instructor to suggest an alternative position.
- Avoid activities involving pressure on the abdomen.
- You may feel tired. Go easy!
- Have a chair nearby as a comfortable support that keeps you safe and secure.
Remember that exercising or simply moving and being active can be greatly beneficial to you and your growing baby. And if you’re venturing into yoga for the first time, start slow and then advance as you go, post consultation.
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