The word on the grape vine these days is that women are beginning to shy away from childbirth classes. It’s true we have a lot of information at our fingertips; google, books, blogs, what our friends and families are telling us from the moment they hear the big news. We also have packed schedules. But, I’m here to urge you to make the time to indulge in a little yoga. Here’s why.

For your Changing Physical Body

According to the American Pregnancy Association prenatal yoga improved sleep, increased strength, flexibility and endurance, along with decreased lower back pain, decreased headaches, reduced risk of preterm labor, just to name a few benefits. Prenatal yoga classes are geared towards keeping the pelvic floor muscles toned, balanced, as well as keeping the hips stable and strong as elastin (a pregnancy hormone that allows your ligaments and tendons to stretch) may destabilize the pelvic girdle in its efforts to make room for baby. Other areas of the body that need addressing, are the strength of back as well as arms. We gotta get you prepared for carrying the baby around with you!

Special Needs for a Special Population

It’s true! With concerns of Diastasis Recti, pelvic floor dysfunction, spinal changes, and a host of other physical ailments that can accompany pregnancy and post, it benefits you to have an instructor that is knowledgeable about these conditions. Remember that hint I gave earlier about a lot of misinformation and lack of information? This is a biggie! A class or private geared to the needs of a pregnant or recovering mama will only improve pains, aches, and condition of your body. It’s also an opportunity to learn necessary modifications if you do venture to regular group classes.

For your Mental Health

So the big day draws near, are you anxious? grounded? climbing up the walls? Meditation, and breath practices are being researched on the regular now in terms of their benefits for stress reduction as well as managing symptoms of depression, and anxiety. These will be handy tools and skills for you as you journey from prenatal to postpartum. (And, I’d add, life.) Meditation will also be great practice for the big day when you’ll need to be focused, able to recenter, and stay as calm as possible (even though there will be moments you will not be the scene of a serene photo, let’s be real).

Connecting with your baby

It may sound a bit, well, yogic, but, really! There’s a couple meditation apps tailored to use during pregnancy (HeadSpace and Expectful are my favs). Taking a pause in your day for 5 minutes, imaging the baby smiling and sending her little love notes with breath does in fact help the you and baby.

Community

I know that word is being thrown around a lot these days but, you’ll meet other like-minded new mamas-to-be that live nearby! There is something very special going through this life altering experience with folks going through it along with you! Often times, other students will become your support network, and a safe place to ask questions or concerns.

I hope to see you in the studio soon! Be well.

— By Emily, Yoga Alliance RYT 500/Certified Pilates Instructor