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Congratulations! You Are Expecting embrace each day…

During pregnancy encircle yourself with yoga. One want to stay in shape and do what is best for your baby-to-be. In our go-go-go world, yoga offers a much-needed opportunity to slow down and connect with your baby and the transformation you are experiencing

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You’re expecting... Congratulations! You must be going through n number of emotions – excited, scared, happy, and overwhelmed – all at the same time. It’s difficult to put your finger on just what you’re feeling, isn’t it? The kicks are delightful, but the cramps are draining. You might be glowing with excitement one moment and overcome with emotion the next. Nothing quite explains the feeling of having a life growing inside you. You may also experience a fair share of mood swings; courtesy of hormonal changes.

With morning sickness, indigestion, gassiness and managing the pain of swollen joints, feeling good during pregnancy can be a challenge for most women. You can thank the surge of new hormones going through your body. At the same time, you may be concerned about getting enough folic acid (Vitamin B9), as this is an essential nutrient for baby’s brain and spinal cord development while nausea can dampen anyone’s desire to eat, but try eating smaller meals throughout the day and don’t lie after eating. Respiratory practice like deep belly breathing helps to release tension and take the edge off your nausea.

The good news is, there are lots of things you can do to maintain a healthy diet in combination with Yoga, which is like a spiritual route to a relaxed mind and healthy body.  

During pregnancy encircle yourself with yoga. Stay in shape and do what is best for your baby-to-be. In our go-go-go world, yoga offers a much-needed opportunity to slow down and connect with your baby and the transformation you are experiencing. Whether you are new to yoga or are already an experienced practitioner, you can enjoy the many benefits of yoga while expecting.

Yoga asanas help keep the body supple. They relieve tension around the cervix by opening up the pelvic region. This prepares to-be-mothers for labor and delivery.

If your pregnancy is considered high risk or there are other complications, definitely talk to your gynae before starting yoga. As you are undoubtedly already aware, a pregnancy is divided into trimesters lasting three months each. The appropriate adaptations to your yoga practice will become more numerous as your baby grows.

Your body produces a hormone called relaxin throughout your pregnancy that helps to soften things up to make room for your growing baby and prepare for his or her delivery. The presence of relaxin may make you feel more flexible that usual, but you want to be careful not to overstretch since it's also possible to destabilize joints and ligaments during this time. 

Breathing practices such as bhramari & nadi shodhan maintains body temperature and enhances oxygen supply which helps with the baby’s growth but remember while practising one shouldn’t hold or suspend breath.

For the first-trimester yoga, the postural changes are pretty minimal because the size of your belly isn't really a concern yet. More than anything, you want to get in the habit of really tuning in to your body and listening to what it wants. You may be feeling tired and nauseated, so give yourself permission to take it easy if that's the case. 

Most women who are already taking yoga classes can continue with their daily routines, though it's a good idea to mention your pregnancy to your guru. If you're doing yoga for the first time, it's fine to start with a prenatal class and with simple stretching exercises which encourage circulation, help fluid retention, and relieve stress and they can be combined standing yoga poses strengthening the legs and enhancing circulation reducing leg cramps. 

The second-trimester is the perfect time to start prenatal yoga. You're probably past the worst of your morning sickness, if you had any, and your belly is starting to make an appearance, so you're in greater need of pregnancy-specific poses and advice. As your uterus expands, it's time to stop doing any poses where you are lying on your belly and avoid deep twists.  

Try asana such as marjariasana which gives a stretch to the neck and shoulders alleviating stiffness and keeping the spine flexible - helping the back to support more weight as the pregnancy advances. Another asana which greatly supports this trimester is trikonasana giving physical and mental balance and being useful as the center of gravity shifts. It also stretches and opens the hips which can be a big help during delivery. But remember, reduce the time spent holding asanas to prevent fatigue and can be backed up with breathing exercises and meditation.

In third-trimester the belly comes to be a big factor and thus yoga promotes more adaptation for standing poses. Taking a wider stance makes you more stable, which is helpful because one want to avoid anything that could make you fall. For that reason, inversions are discouraged at this point in the pregnancy. 

A study published in Obstetrics & Gynecology in December 2015 was the first to monitor the fetus during the performance of yoga poses in the third trimester. It found no evidence of fetal distress in any of the 26 postures attempted, including adho mukha shvanasana or savasana. However, these poses may still feel uncomfortable at some point, which is reason enough to avoid them. 

With benefits all around, one should know - on the basis of pregnancy trimesters there are certain exercises that cannot be carried throughout all pregnancy months. For instance, konasana should not be continued post seven months of pregnancy. 

Once the mother feels uncomfortable doing an asana, it is advisable to stop immediately without straining the muscles. One must avoid forward bending and inverted asanas that might put pressure on the abdomen or require lying down on the weight of your stomach. 

Most importantly, avoid  hurrying into weight-loss exercise regime immediately after delivery. Post-natal yoga (post six weeks after birth) and exercises should be practiced only when the mother’s body is fully ready and relaxed. Do not hurry but embrace each day.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Tags assigned to this article:
pregnancy yoga exercise healthy diets

Shruti Chatur Lal Sharma

The author is Curator, Conceptualiser, Culture Promoter & TEDx Speaker

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