If you’re looking to stay in shape and ease some pregnancy discomforts, yoga is a great option. Not only does it provide all the benefits of stretching, but the breathing techniques you learn can also be helpful during labor. Yoga can help improve your overall health and wellbeing, reduce stress and tension, and increase circulation. Plus, it’s a great way to boost your mood and energy levels. For those dealing with pregnancy heartburn, yoga can be a soothing and effective antidote.
Yoga to help with heartburn
Instead of reaching for an antacid the next time you experience heartburn during pregnancy, try doing a few minutes of yoga instead. Yoga can help to provide relief by soothing the digestive tract and reducing the production of stomach acids. Heartburn occurs when the acidic stomach contents back up into the esophagus.
If you are pregnant and thinking about incorporating yoga into your fitness routine, always consult with your doctor or midwife first. Be sure to let them know which poses you plan on doing, so they can offer guidance and advice based on your individual medical needs.
Heartburn in pregnancy
Heartburn during pregnancy is caused by the hormone progesterone combined with the growing size of the baby pressing up against the diaphragm. Progesterone relaxes the valve that separates the stomach from the esophagus, allowing stomach acids to flow back up into the esophagus. The pressure of the growing baby on the stomach can also contribute to heartburn.
There are a number of yoga postures that can be beneficial, but one of the simplest and most effective is “Easy Pose.” Just sitting in this pose and breathing deeply can help to calm and focus the mind, ease tension and stress, and improve blood circulation and breathing.
With your buttocks on the floor and your legs crossed, place your feet directly below your knees. Rest your hands on your knees with your palms upward. Press your hip bones down into the floor, and reach the crown of your head up to lengthen your spine and open up the space in your diaphragm.
Or try the Prayer Position:
Get into a kneeling position and roll your shoulders a few times to help release tension. Then, bring both arms behind your back, and interlace your fingers so that your palms, wrists, thumbs, and fingers are all touching.
Place your hands on your back, close to your shoulder blades. Relax your shoulders and allow your chest to widen as you breathe. Hold for a minute before relaxing your arms by your sides.
Yoga to help with stiff neck
Practicing yoga while pregnant is a beneficial way to alleviate tension, ease cervical discomfort, while finding calmness and rejuvenation for yourself. Taking a few minutes to release tension, increase awareness of yourself and your growing baby, and remember how to relax can significantly improve your pregnancy health and well-being. So if you’re feeling a bit stressed or overwhelmed, consider taking a yoga class or doing some simple yoga stretches at home.
If you find it uncomfortable to sit in a cross-legged or half lotus position, simply kneel on your mat with your body centered over your feet. This will help you find a more comfortable position.
Start by letting your head hang forward, allowing the muscles in the nape of your neck, your shoulders, face and eyes to relax. Slowly rotate your head over your shoulder, back, over the other shoulder and forward in a circle, breathing comfortably. After completing the rotation three or four times, come back to the center and repeat in the other direction.
Open your chest and sit up tall, letting your shoulders fall naturally with your head centered.
Place your right palm on the left side of your head, and use the weight of your arm to stretch your neck. Don’t pull on your neck, just allow the weight of your arm to assist the stretch. Breathe and hold before coming back to the center and repeating on the other side.
“If you are prone to varicose veins, it is much better to kneel or sit cross-legged,” says yoga expert Vikki. The half lotus position can constrict the blood flow to the lower parts of the legs, which can cause problems.