Relieve Pains With Prenatal Yoga

You don't have to suffer with aches and pains during pregnancy. Try these yoga positions.

Pregnant woman stretching

Why yoga is good for pregnant women

According to the Mayo Clinic, prenatal yoga combines stretching, mental centering and focused breathing that benefits pregnant women as well as their babies. Prenatal yoga can improve sleep, reduce anxiety and stress and increase strength and endurance of the muscles, which comes in handy during childbirth. Research also shows that prenatal yoga can decrease lower back pain, nausea, headaches and shortness of breath as well as decrease risk of preterm labor and pregnancy-induced hypertension.

Yoga poses to try

Chair pose

The chair pose strengths the thighs and pelvic muscles, which are needed during delivery. To try this pose, stand with your feet about 10 to 12 inches apart, keeping them parallel to one another. Take a deep breath, then raise heels and arms to shoulder level with your palms facing down. Exhale slowly while you sit back into a squat pose keeping your knees parallel. To intensify the pose, you can lift up onto your toes.

Butterfly (or Cobbler's) pose

The butterfly pose also strengthens the thighs and pelvis. It is a great stretch to do after a regular workout. To do this pose sit on the floor, bend your knees and bring your feet together. Open your feet so your soles are touching and gently press your knees toward the floor. Bend forward to stretch your lower back and lengthen the spine.

Cat and dog pose

The cat and dog stretches are great for flexibility and stability of the spine. To do these stretches get on your hands and knees, with hands directly under your shoulders and knees under your hips. On the inhale, elongate the spine and press your chest forward. On the exhale, draw your naval in and round the back. Alternate the stretches, staying mindful of your breathing.

Child's pose

Child's pose is a relaxing one that helps relieve pain from a tight lower back and can even relieve nausea in the first trimester. To achieve child's pose sit on your shins with your toes touching and your knees apart as far as you need to in order to give your belly room. Fold forward and inch your hands out in front of you for support.

More on pregnancy exercise

Pregnancy exercise: How much is too much?
Exercise: The right heart rate
Prenatal DVDs you'll love

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