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yoga and pregnancy

Yoga and Pregnancy Together Can Increase Your Quality of Life During Pregnancy and After

We offer a yoga therapy program tailored specifically to pregnancy at Femina/Fusion Wellness PT. At the end of this article is a link to more blog posts highlighting how yoga can mesh well with issues like pelvic floor dysfunction, pelvic pain, and pregnancy.

Why Integrate Yoga and Pregnancy?

Modified, gentle, and restorative yoga practices can be a fantastic addition to physical activity during pregnancy. Yoga can also give an opportunity for mamas to listen to their bodies, gain stamina and the courage needed for labor and motherhood. Whether you start practicing yoga after you get pregnant, or you already have a practice, yoga also helps you to consciously connect to the process of nature and your baby and prepare you for your birth.

With guidance, safe poses can be practiced during all three trimesters. Studies have found that a yoga practice during pregnancy can help improve health for both mothers and their newborn babies.

What is Yoga?

Yoga is a movement practice that incorporates movement for strength and flexibility with breath work and mindfulness for reduction of stress and tension. Yoga is used therapeutically for a variety of immunological, neuromuscular, psychological, and pain conditions.

Yoga increases comfort during pregnancy and makes for shorter and less painful labor.

Recent studies indicate that yoga may be effective in improving pregnancy, labour, and birth outcomes for both mommy and baby.

A systematic review by Curtis et al (2012) suggests that yoga during pregnancy can lead to better outcomes for pregnancy, labor, and birth. Studies suggest that a regular yoga practice of at least 3 times a week (during the 2nd and 3rd trimesters) increased quality of life for yogis during pregnancy, including reduced stress levels, increased aspects of intimacy and interpersonal relations, and decreased pain. Participants also reported improved physical condition and psychological functioning. There have also been indications that a regular yoga practice during pregnancy may make labor less painful and shorter.

During Pregnancy: What is Safe?

It is very important to only practice yoga poses that are safe for each stage of pregnancy. A trained yoga teacher can help create a personalized routine for you that is custom tailored for your body and stage of life.

Yoga Therapy at Femina Physical Therapy

Make an appointment with a therapist at Femina Physical Therapy to receive one-on-one yoga training, including a customized yoga flow for you and your body.

Yoga therapy at Femina PT will include:

  • A comprehensive intake evaluation
  • One-on-one yoga instruction and hands-on adjustments based on your body
  • A yoga program customized for you to practice at home to increase strength and flexibility where your body needs it

Here is a little preview of the types of poses that are safe during each trimester:

 

First Trimester (0 to 13 weeks)

Most experts advise against starting an active yoga practice (sun salutations, athletic poses) during this phase if you have never done yoga before. However, the most gentle restortative poses and yogic breathing can be safe, and can help with the nausea and fatigue without increasing the risk of miscarriage.

For those who have an existing strong yoga practice, modifications are still needed during this period. Do not practice certain backbends (wheel or upward-facing bow pose), inversions, twists, or jumps during the first trimester.

Second Trimester (14 to 28 weeks)

For most women, it is safe to start an active, modified yoga practice in the second trimester. A modified yoga practice designed for pregnancy can help the body gain strength and flexibility in the right places to prepare for carrying a growing baby, as well as making labor, delivery, and recovery easier.

Linking movement to breath will help decrease stress, while longer holds in strengthening positions build stamina, muscle tone, correct alignment, and increase joint mobility and stability.

Third Trimester (29 to 40 weeks)

Yoga postures for the third trimester concentrate on issues such as balance, reduction of low back pain, pelvic floor flexibility and strength, and stabilization of loose joints, including the sacroiliac (SI) joints. Breathing techniques will also be emphasized which can be used during labor and delivery.

For more articles about how yoga can benefit your overall health, click here.


Resources
:

Curtis, Aliza Weinrib, and Joel Katz, “Systematic Review of Yoga for Pregnant Women: Current Status and Future Directions,” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 2012, Article ID 715942, 13 pages, 2012. doi:10.1155/2012/715942. https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2012/715942/

Felder, L. “Prenatal Yoga Poses For Each Trimester,” Yoga Joural website. https://www.yogajournal.com/practice/yoga-for-moms-to-be

**This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor.**

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What Our Patients Have to Say

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Testimonial by A.M.

Months after giving birth, it was difficult for me to go from a sitting or lying position up to a full standing position without feeling that I had to remain hunched over until a bit of time had passed to get fully upright. However, after taking Heather’s course, I learned exercises to get my body back to normal. She also showed me correct ways to lift and carry my son as well as put him in/take him out of the carseat and stroller. This class was really beneficial and Heather is a wonderful teacher who made me feel very comfortable.

-- A.M.

Testimonial by Amanda W.

Heather's unique physical therapy program literally changed my life! After years of struggling with vaginismus, a condition that made it impossible for me to have intercourse and very difficult to use tampons without pain, a gynecologist referred me to Heather. I was nervous for my first appointment, but Heather's professional and friendly demeanor put me at ease. She did a great job explaining each technique she was using to help my muscles relax. Heather uses a combination of internal and external stretches and exercises to relax the pelvic floor and build muscle strength. Her specially developed home program helped me quickly recover from an issue that seemed insurmountable before meeting Heather. She was optimistic about my progress and incredibly encouraging. Less than 6 months after my first session, I was able to have pain-free sex for the first time in my life! If you are suffering from vaginismus or any other pelvic floor issues, I highly recommend making an appointment with Heather and reading her book!

-- Amanda W., 2/15/16 via Yelp!

Testimonial by Rosanna R., age 35

Heather has affected my life in the MOST POSITIVE way and I am forever grateful. My husband refers to her as the "sex doctor" so you can only imagine how happy he is with my therapy outcome.

After the birth of my son I suffered from "Vaginismus", however, at the time I just thought I was broken. My "broken vagina" affected me physically but it was an emotional struggle as well. Many women in my life also suffered with pain from sex after their babies were born so I knew I wasn't alone. They told me they "just got used to it" but I couldn't see myself living that way.

Sex wasn't just painful, it was literally impossible - IT DIDNT FIT!

Read more: Testimonial by Rosanna R.,...

Testimonial by Amanda W.

Heather's unique physical therapy program literally changed my life! After years of struggling with vaginismus, a condition that made it impossible for me to have intercourse and very difficult to use tampons without pain, a gynecologist referred me to Heather. I was nervous for my first appointment, but Heather's professional and friendly demeanor put me at ease. She did a great job explaining each technique she was using to help my muscles relax. Heather uses a combination of internal and external stretches and exercises to relax the pelvic floor and build muscle strength. Her specially developed home program helped me quickly recover from an issue that seemed insurmountable before meeting Heather. She was optimistic about my progress and incredibly encouraging. Less than 6 months after my first session, I was able to have pain-free sex for the first time in my life! If you are suffering from vaginismus or any other pelvic floor issues, I highly recommend making an appointment with Heather and reading her book!

-- Amanda W., 2/15/16 via Yelp!

Testimonial by J.B.

My husband and I were having problems with painful intercourse. My therapist recommended that I go and get a pelvic floor evaluation from a physical therapist. Having never been treated by a physical therapist, I wondered how this really was going to help me. My husband who is a physician was very supportive and agreed that a PT evaluation would be a great idea. So i made the appointment and was blown away by what I learned. I had no idea that pelvic floor muscles could get tight and have trigger points just like any other muscle in the body. I'm a massage therapist and very familiar with tight muscles, and this new thought really amazed me. Heather's program to help relax and strengthen these muscles made such a difference. I can say that I am 100% pain free during intercourse now. Yippee! Going to the PT appointments and doing the at-home exercises was definitely a discipline, but it's 100% worth it! The rewards are amazing.

-- J.B.

Testimonial by J.B.

My husband and I were having problems with painful intercourse. My therapist recommended that I go and get a pelvic floor evaluation from a physical therapist. Having never been treated by a physical therapist, I wondered how this really was going to help me. My husband who is a physician was very supportive and agreed that a PT evaluation would be a great idea. So i made the appointment and was blown away by what I learned. I had no idea that pelvic floor muscles could get tight and have trigger points just like any other muscle in the body. I'm a massage therapist and very familiar with tight muscles, and this new thought really amazed me. Heather's program to help relax and strengthen these muscles made such a difference. I can say that I am 100% pain free during intercourse now. Yippee! Going to the PT appointments and doing the at-home exercises was definitely a discipline, but it's 100% worth it! The rewards are amazing.

-- J.B.

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