Pregnancy Yoga Therapy Program (Ante-Natal Yoga)
Yoga has several exercises or postures that work wonders on a woman’s health in pregnancy conditions. Varying widely in application and style, these exercises (postures) gently stretch and relax all parts of body.
During pregnancy, Yoga asanas are a gentle way to keep active and supple. The remarkable effects of these postures in pregnancy show the power of Yoga for ensuring a smooth pregnancy, natural childbirth and restoration of body shape after childbirth.
Yoga physically, mentally and emotionally prepares for the birth of a new child and supports both the mother and child throughout the pregnancy.
Physically, Yoga improves blood circulation, helping to lessen leg cramps and varicose veins and nourishing the fetus. Yoga strengthens postural muscles and can alleviate the minor discomforts of pregnancy such as heartburn, backache, hip joint and ribcage aches.
Pranayama (breathing exercises) ensures a proper supply of oxygen, blood and energy to both baby and mother, and reduces fatigue. Yoga postures relieve tension around the cervix and birth canal and open the pelvis to make labor easier and quicker.
A yoga practice of postures, breathing and meditation improves flexibility, mental awareness, concentration and discipline, enabling a smooth pregnancy and a relatively easy childbirth.
Emotionally, Yoga and meditation reduce and control stress, anxiety and fear. Yoga also improves general mood and the ability to manage pain. Meditation can also create a deeper awareness and connection with the baby.
Yoga restores the uterus, abdomen and the pelvic floor. Relieves upper back tension and breast discomfort.
We have segregated these yoga exercises into trimester-wise sequences.
Yoga Program in First Trimester
First trimester is a very delicate stage in pregnancy. Light practices should be given which helps the expected mother to adjust with the physical and physiological changes happening in the body.
Relaxation and Breathing practices
Simple relaxation techniques like slow rhythmic abdominal breathing, deep progressive muscular relaxation (Shavasana in Tadagi Mudra), deep breathing and few pranayamic breathing practice (Anuloma viloma, Shitali, Bhramari) helps in soothing the initial symptoms like morning sickness, nausea, back pain, giddiness etc. All above practices are very safe in practices.
Asanas and Postures
Gentle stretching practice of upper body like Pravatasana, Skandhachakrasana, Brahma Mudra can release the tension, muscular stiffness, rigidity of the upper back region. They are also useful to raise the energy levels and pep up the emotional status, which is low due to the new physiological change happenings in the body and mind to some extent.
Practices, which increase the intra abdominal pressure, should be avoided.
Tadagi Mudra Supine lying down posture with folded legs.
Yoga Program in Second Trimester
The practices of the first trimester should be continued in the second trimester as before. All these practices are equally effective and more enjoyable during the second trimester.
Now the placenta is formed and the pregnancy is quite stable so muscle toning and strengthening practices for abdomen and pelvis can be introduced.
The hormone relaxin is secreted during pregnancy. This makes the joints of the pelvis and ligaments to soften so that they can stretch easily with the growth of the pregnancy.
Such asanas, which tone and strengthen these ligaments and muscles, should be prescribed.
Lying down Postures
Ardha Halasna (with one leg)
Pavanmuktasana (legs towards the side of the abdomen)
Setubandhasana (bridge pose)
Marjarasana (Cat pose)
Meditation and Mantra chanting
Om chanti (11 times)
Gayatri Mantra (11 or 21 times)
Meditational practices create positive impression (samaskar) on the foetus mind. Mantra chanting soothes the mind and brings positive energy in the surrounding of the expected mother and child.
Yoga Program in Third Trimester
Yoga practices prescribed in the first and second trimester of pregnancy should be continued as it is in the third trimester of pregnancy.
Practices to breath the birth canal for easy labor can be added during this period.
Ashwini Mudra in Tadagi mudra position and in the cat pose are helpful and make the muscles around the birth canal flexible and strong.
Bhadrasana complimented with Gomukhasana also tones up inner thigh muscle including those around the vagina.
Cat pose in the third trimester release the congestion in the lower back due to the speedily growing pregnancy. It also relaxes the uterine muscle and reduces the load on lumber spine.
The baby is completely formed; only it grows in size much faster than that in the previous months. So it gets involved equally in the feeling of the mother, physically, mentally and emotionally. This is the time the practices of meditation, relaxation and mantra chanting will have a great impact on the fetal mind. So they should be religiously practice by the expected mother.
DO’S AND DON’T DURING PREGNANCY
Sleep on your side with a pillow between your legs
Bend your knees (squat) to pick things up from the floor or low places.
Drink plenty of fluids – preferably water and fiber rich food.
Take off ring if they get too tight on your fingers.
When sitting on chair your feet should be flat on the floor.
Eat nutrient dense food.
Place one foot on a low step stool if you are standing for a long period of time.
Use a chair that fits you comfortably and support your low back well.
Be well rested and get more sleep, especially during the first and last trimesters
Exercise for short intervals. Decrease the intensity of exercise as your pregnancy progresses.
Do not forget to take adequate prenatal nutrients like Proteins, Folic acid, vitamin B and C, Iron, Calcium, Magnesium and Zinc.
Don’t hunch your back.
Sit for periods longer than 30 minutes without a stretch break.
Sit with knees crossed.
Strain to have bowel movement.
Cut down the caffeinated beverages, such as coffee, tea or colas, or limit your intake to two per day.
Avoid sitting in a hot tub or sauna. They can elevate your body temperature and cause health complications.
It’s best to avoid food containing additives, such as MSG (monosodium glutamate), aspertame etc.
Avoid using pesticides, paint and aerosal sprays during pregnancy. Their fumes could be harmful to your baby.
Do remember that you’re not really eating for two while you are pregnant.
OVEREXERT ! If you become too tired or a little short of breath, LISTEN to your body and rest.
Consume any drug without doctor’s advice.