How Yoga Supports Preconception, Pregnancy and Postnatal Health
Are you trying to conceive or already pregnant and exploring how yoga could support your journey into motherhood? Or perhaps you’re already a mum, seeking ways to enhance your physical recovery and bond with your baby. Whatever stage you’re at, yoga could be your perfect partner, offering a wealth of benefits throughout preconception, pregnancy and the postnatal period.
Yoga: A Holistic Approach to Maternal Health
In essence, yoga is a holistic health approach, combining physical postures called yoga poses, deep breathing techniques and meditation. Regular practice can help enhance your flexibility, strength, balance and cardiovascular health. More than this, it encourages a sense of inner calm, reducing stress and promoting mental wellbeing.
Preconception: Preparing for Pregnancy with Yoga
When planning for a baby, yoga can play an integral part in your preconception toolkit. In short, yoga can be beneficial for your fertility.
The deep breathing and relaxation techniques inherent in yoga can help reduce stress levels, fostering a more conducive environment for conception. Read more about the impact of stress on fertility here.
Regular prenatal yoga can strengthen your whole body, including your abdominal muscles and pelvic floor muscles, ensuring your body is physically prepared for the journey ahead.
Yoga encourages mindfulness and self-awareness. This can be particularly beneficial during preconception, helping you to cultivate a positive mindset and emotional resilience, both of which can be helpful in your journey to motherhood.
Yoga during Pregnancy: A Nurturing Practice
During pregnancy, you go through a period of immense physical and emotional change. Here’s how yoga can help:
Specific pregnancy yoga poses can alleviate common discomforts, such as back pain, pelvic pain and constipation during pregnancy. If you are struggling or have any concerns, we would also recommend you seek advice from your midwife, GP or maternity unit.
Preparing for Birth
Yoga helps build strength and endurance, both important for labour. Breathing exercises can also assist in managing pain during childbirth. A recent systematic review confirmed that women who practised yoga during pregnancy had shorter labours by an average of 2 hours, increased tolerance for pain and increased odds of having a vaginal birth.
Regular yoga practice promotes mindfulness and can help manage pregnancy-induced anxiety and stress. The recent review of the evidence also concluded that practising yoga during pregnancy helps to reduce anxiety, depression and perceived stress.
Pregnancy can often disrupt sleep due to physical discomfort or anxiety. The relaxing nature of yoga, particularly restorative poses and breathing exercises, can improve sleep quality, helping mums-to-be get the sleep they need.
Postnatal Recovery: Rebuilding Strength and Bonding with Baby
The postnatal period is a time of recovery and adjustment. Yoga can be a gentle way to rebuild strength and bond with your baby.
Postnatal yoga can help restore strength in the abdominal and pelvic floor muscles. Specific yoga poses can also assist in realigning the spine and relieving upper body tension from nursing and carrying the baby.
Postnatal yoga classes offer an opportunity to focus on your wellbeing, fostering stress relief and emotional balance. Focusing on self-care after the birth of your baby is hugely important for physical and emotional recovery.
Bonding with Baby
Incorporating your baby into your yoga routine can be a beautiful way to bond, with gentle movements and touch stimulating your baby’s senses.
Community and Support
Attending postnatal yoga classes can provide a sense of community. Meeting other new mums offers opportunities for socialisation and mutual support, which can be invaluable during the early stages of motherhood.
Finding Appropriate Yoga Classes
To get started on your yoga journey, check local community centres, gyms and yoga studios, many of which offer prenatal and postnatal classes. If you’re based in London, check out Yogarise’s pregnancy yoga classes here. And if you’ve just had your baby, check out Yogarise’s postnatal yoga classes here and Baby + Me classes.
Let Yoga Support You from Preconception to Motherhood
From preconception to the postnatal period, yoga is more than just a form of exercise—it’s a companion, helping mums-to-be and new mums navigate the path of motherhood with grace, strength and serenity. Whether it’s a calming yoga nidra session or a vibrant prenatal yoga class, the benefits of yoga are many and varied.
Before embarking on any yoga routine, do a little research into your yoga teacher’s qualifications and experience, let them know whether you are trying to conceive, pregnant or if you’ve recently birthed your baby, always listen to your body, and remember to consult with a healthcare provider if you have any doubts or concerns.
Don’t forget to share this article with friends, family, or social media followers who could benefit from the information. Let’s help each other thrive on this wonderful journey of motherhood.
About the author:
My Expert Midwife was founded in 2017 to help with the physical challenges that women face during preconception, pregnancy, childbirth and beyond. Working with in-house expert midwives, they have developed a range of award-winning products designed especially for new and expectant mums and new babies. Their midwife-developed products come glowingly recommended by thousands of mums.