Benefits of prenatal exercise and yoga

With an emphasis on breathing, stamina, pelvic floor work, restorative poses and core strength, prenatal yoga can help moms-to-be become more resilient during and after pregnancy.

If you’re pregnant, maintaining a consistent exercise routine is one of the best things you can do for your health – and your baby’s health, too.

Exercise is so beneficial that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) encourages all women with uncomplicated pregnancies to do at least 150 minutes of moderately intense aerobic exercise per week, in addition to twice-weekly strength training sessions.

Here’s something else experts recommend: prenatal yoga.

Whether you’ve been exercising for years or are starting a new habit now that you’re expecting, prenatal yoga is the perfect addition to your weekly routine, thanks to its impressive list of well-documented benefits.

Benefits of prenatal yoga

Prenatal yoga is a restorative style of yoga that focuses on stretching, breathing, postures and movements specifically designed with the pregnant body in mind. Movements are modified to accommodate for common physiological changes that occur during pregnancy.

Prenatal yoga is considered safe and beneficial for pregnant women and their babies, according to organizations such as ACOG, the American Academy of Pediatrics the and Mayo Clinic, to name a few. Following are five reasons to add prenatal yoga to your #momlife.

1. Prenatal yoga eases common aches and pains associated with pregnancy. Lower-back pain, nausea and headaches are common problems faced by pregnant and postpartum women. Fortunately, prenatal yoga is a drug-free and noninvasive way to ease all of these issues and more.

2. Prenatal yoga relaxes the mind and improves mental health. Studies have shown that prenatal yoga reduces maternal anxiety and depression and eases stress. It can even enhance sleep, which has a huge impact on mood and brain function.

3. Prenatal yoga prepares your body for childbirth (and beyond). The movements and postures used in prenatal yoga increase strength, stamina and flexibility. This helps moms handle the physical demands of labor and delivery, and can make it easier to recover during the postpartum period. In addition, prenatal yoga teaches specific poses and breathing techniques that can be used to assist with labor itself.

One systematic review of six randomized controlled trials found that prenatal yoga may even reduce labor duration. And a 2018 randomized controlled trial published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that women participating in prenatal yoga were less likely to have a cesarean section and reported greater pain tolerance compared with the nonyoga control group.

4. The health benefits of prenatal yoga can extend to your baby. I am always excited by research that shows how taking care of yourself helps you take care of others, too. In this case, participating regularly in prenatal yoga has been shown to reduce the risk of preterm birth and improve infant birth weight.

5. You can get an all-natural pregnancy glow. You always hear about that elusive pregnancy glow that many mothers attribute to the glistening sweat that comes with all of that morning sickness. But what if your pregnancy glow instead came from all of the energy and peace you had during pregnancy? Prenatal yoga provides the unique opportunity to bring together your mind, body and spirit in one beautiful experience. It allows you to safely get to know your body and explore the limits of your mind.

And when you fall in love with the experience of pregnancy in your mind, body and spirit, you will undoubtedly glow.

Prenatal yoga sessions

PhysioFit offers prenatal yoga, taught by Alexis. A mom herself, Alexis has experienced firsthand the benefits of prenatal yoga. She brings her in-depth training on prenatal yoga along with years of Pilates, Gyrotonic and Gyrokinesis teaching experience to help pregnant and postpartum women feel healthier, physically and mentally.

“With prenatal yoga, you

can focus on things you can do that are beneficial, rather than avoid things you cannot do,” Alexis said.

Talk about empowering.

Moms-to-be can call PhysioFit Physical Therapy & Wellness to learn more about our prenatal yoga sessions. Taking care of your prenatal and postpartum needs will help you and your baby feel your best.

Kim Gladfelter is owner of PhysioFit Physical Therapy & Wellness in Los Altos. PhysioFit offers both in-person/virtual physical therapy and virtual therapeutic fitness. For more information, call 887-6046 or visit physiofitpt.com.