When you are expecting your first child, it is common to let your mind wander to the anticipated sleepless nights when baby arrives. However, more than 75 percent of pregnant women start experiencing sleep disturbances well before the baby arrives. Waking in the middle of the night from the first trimester until delivery is an unfortunate side effect of pregnancy for many women. From changing hormone levels, to overall inability to get and stay comfortable, it is no wonder many women are fatigued throughout their pregnancy. The good news is that researchers say prenatal yoga can help women go and stay asleep.
How Prenatal Yoga Helps Sleep
By moving through a progression of focused breathing, gentle stretching and postures to a cool down (savasana), yoga is a natural stress-reliever. By helping to reduce stress during the day, our bodies are more in sync with our natural sleep patterns. Regular yoga practice helps regulate our sleep rhythm – making it easier to go to sleep each night.
Additionally, prenatal yoga poses help relieve tension from the body – making it easier to stay asleep. As pregnancy develops, the center of gravity shifts, abdominal muscles weaken and the lower back takes the burden, resulting in lowerback pain and tension. Prenatal yoga can help gently strengthen abdominal muscles through poses like Chakravakasana, arching and swaying the back while on hands and knees. Other stretching poses can help alleviate the pressure on the lower back.
What You Need To Know About Prenatal Yoga
Not all yoga practices or poses are appropriate or safe during pregnancy. Bikram yoga, or hot yoga, is not recommended for pregnant women as it may increase body temperature too high, causing hyperthermia and putting both mom and baby at risk. Therefore it is important to take a specifically designed prenatal class by a certified instructor. Before beginning a prenatal yoga practice, make sure you have the OK from your health care provider. Women at increased risk of preterm delivery or with other conditions like heart disease may be putting themselves at risk by practicing yoga during their pregnancy. Listen to your body and don’t push yourself into poses you are not ready for. Stay cool and hydrated every time you are exercising.
Hillcrest South is proud to offer expectant mothers and those who have recently delivered free pre and postnatal yoga classes. Classes are held on the second Monday of each month at 10:30am in the South Education Center and led by certified instructor and prenatal teacher Celeste McNeil. No RSVP is required. Please bring a yoga mat.