For soon-to-be mommies seeking a baby-friendly way to stay fit and healthy, yoga is a great choice! What's even better is that not only can yoga offer benefits as your traverse through the trimesters, it can also help you during the challenges of childbirth.The Many Challenges of PregnancyBringing new life into the world, although a rewarding experience, is not without its challenges. Here's an overview of some of the pleasantries you can expect:• Morning sickness• Heartburn or acid reflux• Problems sleeping• Back or leg pains• Pain from stretching muscles and skin• Hormone imbalance• Weight gainHow Yoga Can HelpIf you already practice yoga, then you're likely familiar with its benefits: lower blood pressure, better flexibility, improved muscle strength and an improved sense of overall wellbeing. What's better is that the benefits hardly stop there; yoga is also able to help you through the challenging experience of pregnancy. Here's a look at just some of the benefits of yoga for pregnant women.Yoga Can Help Reduce Back PainBack pain - well, body pain to be more accurate - is something that many expecting mothers have to look forward too. The expanding belly can get in the way of normal sitting or sleeping positions, and this can be a painful experience.The lower back suffers especially from your body mass being shifted off center.In "Bye-Bye Lower Back Pain: Yoga Sequence For Mommies-to-Be," Jenny Sugar offers a comprehensive sequence of baby-healthy yoga poses to help alleviate the back pain associated with pregnancy.
Yoga Helps Limit Stretch MarksRegular exercise causes you to take in more oxygen, and it increases the circulation of that oxygen-rich blood around your body. By doing so, it actually increases the elasticity of your skin - a pretty helpful feature when your abdomen seems to quadruple in size.Another way that yoga can help reduce the appearance of stretch marks is by cutting back on fat gain. Your skin will have to stretch enough as it is to accommodate your growing baby.Yoga Helps Promote Better SleepAnother common problem that women encounter is trouble sleeping. Although the reasons vary, for some, the reason may be as simple as not being able to sleep on their bellies as they're used to.According to a study in 2010, a group of 15 women took either prenatal yoga or mindfulness meditation. The results of the study were that those women who started yoga in their second trimester showed a marked improvement in their sleep quality.Unfortunately, those who began their practice while in their third trimesters didn't fare so well, so it's important to note that it's best to start early.Yoga Can Ease the Effects of DepressionNot all women suffer from depression as a result of pregnancy; however, it is fairly common. In fact, according to a University of Michigan study, 1 in 5 women suffer from extreme depression.The study identified a number of women who were at a high risk of depression and had them participate in a mindfulness yoga class for 10 weeks. The women experienced a marked reduction in symptoms of depression.