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Yoga and Pregnancy

Yoga is ranked as one of Baby Bump Fave Exercises.

Yoga strengthens core muscles, eases back pain, and helps you relax. And research shows that it may make labor shorter and more comfortable. Try a prenatal class, which is gentler and focuses on relaxation — good prep for labor. Avoid the “hot yoga,” Bikram, and after your first trimester, don’t lie on your back. If something doesn’t feel right, check with a fitness expert.

Fit Tip:
i. Abdominals Exercises for your abs can ease an aching back and help fight a “sway back” posture that may develop as your uterus gets heavier. Jayne incorporates abdominal exercises for her pre-natal and post natal yoga clients. Two safe options are: Kneeling Pelvic Tilt/Cat and Dog. On all fours with a flat back, tighten the abs and gently arch your back to the ceiling. Don’t let your belly sag down. Standing Pelvic Tilt/Milking the Cow. Back up to a wall, with your feet three inches out. Tighten your stomach and buttocks and press your low back to touch the wall.
iii. Stretching. “Tailor” stretches target pelvic, hip, and thigh muscles. They can also help lessen low back pain. Try these:
a. Tailor sit. Sit with your knees bent and ankles crossed. Lean forward a little, keeping your back straight. In yoga called easy pose with a forward bend.
b. Tailor press. Sit with your knees bent and the bottoms of your feet together. Place your hands under your knees. Press your knees down against your hands and your hands up against your knees. Hold a few seconds and release.
iv. Kegals In yoga we call it base locks. The beauty of Kegel exercises is that you can do them anytime, anywhere, without anyone knowing. Kegels strengthen the muscles that help hold up your uterus, bladder, and bowels, which helps labor and delivery. To do them, squeeze your pelvic muscles as if you’re trying to stop urinating or passing gas. Hold for five seconds and relax. Repeat 10 times, five times a day.
v. Take it easy. Ensure your fitness instructor is trained. Jayne is trained in pre and post natal yoga. Too pooped to put in 30 minutes of exercise? Break it into two 15-minute sessions or three 10-minute sessions. New to exercise? Start off slowly. Begin with five or 10 minutes a day and gradually build up. Always warm up and cool down for five minutes. And listen to your body. If you feel hot, short of breath, or tired, take a break and take it easier next time.
vi. Move Smoothly Changes in your body can make it easier to injure your joints, so steer clear of exercise that requires jerking, bouncing, or high-impact movements. Avoid quick changes of position, such as standing up quickly, which can make you dizzy. And remember that your center of gravity shifts as your belly grows, so it’s easier to lose your balance and fall
vii. Caution: High Temperatures. When you’re pregnant, your body runs a little hotter. Avoid overheating, which may be harmful for your baby, especially during the first trimester. Don’t work up a heavy sweat while exercising. Exercise less or not at all on hot or humid days. Drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after workouts. And stay out of saunas and hot tubs.
Benefits of pre-natal yoga and exercise:
? Boosts your mood. Exercise lifts your spirits. It floods your body with feel-good brain chemicals like endorphins, and calming ones like dopamine and serotonin. Exercising during pregnancy may lower the risk of depression and anxiety and boost your self-esteem.
? Increase your Energy. Being active during pregnancy gives you more energy and stamina. Strengthening your muscles and your heart can help you feel stronger and more capable of accomplishing your goals. Exercise also helps you sleep by relieving stress and anxiety that might otherwise keep you awake. And a good night’s sleep gives you more energy to face the day.
? Control Gestational Diabetes. Up to 18% of expecting moms develop this kind of diabetes, which first happens during pregnancy and usually goes away afterward. Hormonal changes lead to high blood sugar levels. Untreated, it can lead to serious complications for your baby. Exercise may help lower the risk of getting it and control gestational diabetes by lowering blood sugar levels. Talk to your doctor first.
? Get Ready for Labor. In addition to easing aches and pains, and keeping you regular, exercise also seems to prepare women’s bodies for labor. Research shows that healthy pregnant women who exercise during pregnancy may have less risk of preterm delivery and shorter labor, are less likely to need pain relief, and recover from childbirth faster. Yoga breathing can aid mothers greatly in labour and pain management.
? Healthy Baby. Regular, moderate exercise not only gives you a healthier pregnancy, it might give your baby a healthier start. Research shows that when pregnant women exercise, their developing babies have a much lower heart rate. Babies of active moms may also have a healthier birth weight

Work Out gear. You don’t need to invest in a lot of expensive gear to stay safe and comfortable while exercising during pregnancy. For Prenatal yoga, you do not require anything. However if you are doing more cardio types of exercises two must-haves are a supportive bra and shoes that are designed for the kind of exercise you’re doing. Other than that, just wear layered, loose clothes to stay cool.
Drink plenty of Water. You’re not just eating for two, you’re drinking for two as well! Your body needs more water to stay hydrated, especially during exercise. So “think drink” and down about 10 cups of liquids a day. Drink before, during, and after workouts. A good rule of thumb: If you’re thirsty or your pee is dark yellow, you’re probably not getting enough liquids
Know when to stop exercising. If you have any of the following symptoms, stop exercising and call your doctor right away:
? Contractions
? Chest pain
? Dizziness
? Calf pain or swelling
? Less movement by the baby
? Headache
? Muscle weakness
? Fluid leaking from your vagina
? Vaginal bleeding
Stay Motivated:Exercise and pregnancy both take energy. Some days you may have plenty for both and other days you may not have enough for either. It’s important to listen to your body. If you find yourself stuck on the couch, you may need some support and motivation to get moving. Try taking a prenatal exercise class, working out with a partner, or even joining a forum to share workout goals and advice
Fit for 2-After Baby exercise: Once your baby arrives, exercise can help you move into motherhood. Studies show that new mothers who exercise feel better about themselves, adjust faster to being a mom, and lose more weight. Start by gradually getting back to low-impact exercise. Walking is a good place to start — and it’s something you and baby can do together. Jayne at Innovative Wellness offers both group and private Yoga with Baby classes.
? Abs: With baby out of your tummy, you may be tempted to whip your abs back into shape with sit-ups. Slow down! You’ll be working already overtaxed, overstretched muscles. Better to start with tummy-toners like pelvic tilts. Tighten your pelvic floor muscles as you do them to avoid further stretching. As you strengthen your core, you can gradually start doing crunches.
? Some Moms are eager to get your pre-pregnancy body back, but give yourself some time. Losing no more than about four pounds a month is better for you and baby. Eating too little can thin your bones, make it harder for your body to produce milk, dampen your mood, and lead to fatigue. With exercise and a healthy diet, you’ll most likely be back to your normal weight within a year.

For more information please email jayne@innovativewellness.ca

Article Adapted from http://www.webmd.com/baby/ss/slideshow-pregnancy-fitness-moves