Physical activity during pregnancy is one of the best ways to help support the body during pregnancy, labor, delivery and postpartum. Private health groups like the Mayo Clinic along with the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Department of Health and Human Services all recommend that women with uncomplicated pregnancies exercise moderately most days of the week. The ACOG recommends 30 minutes daily while the Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes each week.
Are pregnant women heeding this advice? Sadly, no!
Researchers from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill found that only about 23% of pregnant women engage in physical activity as recommended by the above groups. That means only one out of four pregnant women are moving their bodies on a regular basis.
There may be many reasons for a pregnant woman to not be moving their bodies as often as recommended. During my three pregnancies, I had various reasons for not moving my body as often as I should. These stemmed from being exhausted due to following two kids under the age of four around all day, to getting limited sleep during the night, to working from home while raising four young children, to suffering from adrenal issues, to being uncomfortable, etc. The list of reasons why one does not bring physical activity into one’s life can be long, adding in one more thing can seem impossible.
Thankfully, yoga was one mode of physical activity that I could incorporate into my life fairly easily. According to the American Pregnancy Association, “prenatal yoga is a great, low impact exercise that can be highly beneficial for pregnant women.”
Benefits of Yoga During Pregnancy:
Increases daily energy levels
Reduces pregnancy sickness and fatigue
Reduces the impact of extra weight on posture/alignment
Reduces pregnancy weight gain
Improves your baby’s blood supply
Allows for a faster recovery after the birth of the baby
Prepares the body for labor/delivery
Prepares the body for carrying and breastfeeding a new baby
Many of the health benefits that my body needed during pregnancy were provided through the practice of yoga. Another advantage of practicing yoga during pregnancy was that my body was also being set up for a smoother postpartum process as well. The benefits of practicing yoga during pregnancy transfer over into postpartum recovery, this meant my body was stronger for delivery which resulted in a smoother recovery time.
If one of your goals is to have a smooth postpartum phase, it really starts during the months of being pregnant.
Looking for some pre/postnatal yoga flows? Be sure to check out Holy Yoga TV today!
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