Returning to yoga postpartum is very important to help address a lot of the aches and pains and healing the body experiences after your baby is born. It can also help address issues around sleep and some of the stress and anxiety that arises with being a new parent. However, “regular” yoga classes are not designed with the postpartum body in mind.
I recommend that postpartum, if you can find a postnatal yoga class or a mom and baby yoga class to support you, it is the very best thing that you can do for you and your new baby. Also, consider adding online postpartum yoga classes to your routine, these shorter practices can be easy to fit in when you can't make it to class. I highly encourage you to wait until you get the okay from your doctor or midwife before beginning any exercise postpartum whether it is yoga or otherwise. Here's what a postnatal yoga class can offer you that a regular class cannot.
In nearly every postnatal yoga class that I teach, mamas come to class and one of the first things they ask is how to get their abs back and how quickly they can get their pre-baby body back. In striving to make this happen, many mamas end up diving into intensive abdominal work postpartum that can actually end up doing more harm than good.
What we have to remember is that over the course of pregnancy our abdominal muscles are stretching and lengthening. We want this! We need to make room for the growing baby. As these muscles stretch and lengthen they lose some of their tone and they can also begin to separate. Postpartum, once the body is no longer housing the baby, these muscles need time to reintegrate and reconnect and begin working, slowly. Think of this, if you haven't been running for nine months, would you jump right in and run 10 miles in one day? In the same way, the abdominal muscles need to slowly be brought back into shape and tone with exercises that have a more subtle focus.
Insomnia is a common experience during pregnancy, particularly as you head into the last trimester. This can be particularly frustrating as there is a lack of sleep on the horizon when your baby arrives and you know that sleep will become a precious commodity. There are many factors that can play a role in insomnia during pregnancy here are some tips for ways that you can help combat insomnia as it arises.
The pelvic floor is an extremely important network of muscles at the base of the spine that creates a hammock of support for the internal organs in the torso. As women we may have heard of the importance of pelvic floor tone for better sex (many of us have heard of kegels), but pelvic floor muscles are infinitely more important than that. They are helping hold all of our insides in. As the pelvic floor muscles lose their strength and tone we can start to experience issues like incontinence or worse.
In recent years, is has become increasingly clear that yoga has huge health benefits not only dot he physical body, but also in helping relieve stress and anxiety. Yoga has also become an important form of pregnancy exercise and yoga during pregnancy is something that can have many positive impacts not only for the pregnant mama, but also during the laboring process and subsequent childbirth. There are very few pregnancy workouts that will offer some of the benefits that yoga can have as you prepare for childbirth. Here are some ways that yoga will support you during labor and childbirth:
Cesarean sections are on the rise. In the United States it is estimated that around 33% of births end in a C-section. The World Health Organization estimates that on average 10% of births should end in a cesarean section. Why is it that the US is 23% higher than the suggested rate?
Don't get me wrong, Cesarean sections are life-saving medical procedures that can be invaluable in cases where the mother or the baby is in extreme distress. As someone who had an emergency c-section I can attest to the fact that there are certainly times when a c-section is both valuable and life-saving. However, given the impacts a Cesarean birth has on the mother and on the baby one would wonder why the rate is so high above WHO standards. I believe one of the reasons for this high rate is general misinformation or a lack of education around birthing options and practices that are available.
Is yoga safe during pregnancy? This is such a complicated question. Yes! Absolutely yoga is safe during pregnancy, however certain types of yoga and yoga postures are not safe during pregnancy.
The most important thing in pregnancy, with any exercises during pregnancy that you're seeking out, is working with a teacher who knows what a pregnant body should or shouldn't be doing. This means whether its yoga, or cross-fit or lifting weights, you should be working with someone who is trained in working with pregnant moms and knows how to best support your body as it changes throughout your pregnancy.
Wisdom and insight with a dash of humor to help guide you on your journey through motherhood.