Prenatal Yoga Poses and Stretching
A Gentle Addition to Your Prenatal Fitness Routine
If you’re pregnant, it’s a great idea to stay physically active. However, it’s important to embrace exercise that is gentle enough for your ever-changing body. Instead of hitting the gym or going for a jog, you can practice yoga or stretch to get the activity you need to feel your best, and to promote a healthy delivery and recovery.
Benefits of Prenatal Yoga
Some of the many benefits of including stretching and yoga into your fitness routine during pregnancy include:
- Reducing negative emotions like anxiety and depression
- Improving sleep quality
- Alleviating lower back pain
- Reducing muscle tension
- Reducing headaches
- Increasing physical strength
- Improving flexibility and range of motion
- Lowering the risk of preterm labor
- Lowering the risk of intrauterine growth restriction
Stretches to Try
Sun salutation, or Surya Namaskar, is actually a series of poses that help to warm up and strengthen the entire body. To move through this sequence, follow these steps:
- Begin in a standing position with your feet hip-distance apart and your hands together at your chest.
- Stretch your arms over your head, push your hips forward as you arch your back.
- Bring your chest forward toward your knees, folding over as far as you can comfortably. Your knees should be slightly bent and your hands should reach for your ankles. If they don’t reach, you can take an elbow-to-elbow grip in front of your face.
- Flatten your back and bring your torso up halfway, keeping your hands on your ankles.
- Walk both feet backward to get into a plank position. Your shoulders should be in line with your wrists.
- Bend your elbows to lower your body to the floor, push-up style.
- Pushing through your palms, arch your back and lift your chest toward the ceiling.
- Lift your tailbone toward the ceiling, pushing yourself up with your hands. Your hands should remain flat on the floor, your back should be straight, and your knees should be slightly bent.
- Walk your feet forward, planting them between your hands. Your knees should be slightly bent and your hands should reach for your ankles.
- Come up halfway, keeping your back flat and your hands on your ankles.
- Stand up, stretching your arms over your head, pushing your hips forward as you arch your back.
- Return to the original standing position.
Ustrasana, or the camel pose, helps to stretch the front of your body, strengthens the muscles in your back, and helps to improve your posture. It's also known to elevate your mood and to give you an energy boost.
To move into camel pose, follow these steps:
- Begin in a kneeling position with your body upright. Your hips should be stacked right above your knees.
- Draw your hands up to your ribcage. Wrap your hands around the sides of your ribcage with your thumbs at the back and your other fingers around the front. Your elbows should be pointing out to your sides.
- Lift your ribcage as you open your chest up to the ceiling.
- With your chest open and lifted toward the ceiling, move your hands one time to grab your heels. If this is too difficult, you can use blocks on the sides of your feet to hold onto, elevating the ground.
- Bring your hips forward so they are stacked over your knees.
- If it is comfortable, you can release your head backward, opening up your neck. You can also choose to keep your chin tucked instead.
- Hold this pose for several breaths.
Legs-up-the-wall pose, also known as Viparita Karan, is an excellent yoga pose to help expectant mothers relax without the need for extreme stretching. Once you’re situated with a clear space and a yoga mat, follow these steps to practice the legs-up-the-wall pose:
- Begin in a seated position with your right side against the wall. Your knees should be bent with your heels drawn in toward your hips.
- As you turn to lie flat on your back, place your legs against the wall. Your sit bones should be against the wall and your body and legs should make a 90° angle.
- Place your hands by your side, with your palms flat on your mat.
- You can stay in this position for up to 20 minutes.
Labor and Delivery in Duluth, Minnesota
At St. Luke’s, we are committed to providing you with the customized birth experience you’ve always dreamed about. To do this, we make it a priority to exceed the highest standards of care and seek the training we need to best serve our patients.
To learn more about St. Luke’s Birthing Center or establish care with a provider visit our website.