What's better than yoga to prepare to become a mother, for the first, second or even third time?
Clichés die hard and to listen to some people, you would have to stay still for 9 months for everything to go well.
It's quite the opposite (well, almost).
First of all, because being pregnant is a high-level sport.
Practicing a sport at moderate intensity is beneficial if not essential to the health of mother and baby.
To be safe, always seek the advice of your doctor before embarking on this adventure.
Yoga will help you reduce certain pregnancy-related ailments such as back pain, heavy legs or nausea, keep in shape but also prepare your body for childbirth.
A study conducted in Japan pointed to a reduction in stress levels during pregnancy and complications during childbirth among expectant mothers who practice yoga.
The most suitable yoga during this period? The one you are used to practicing by eliminating certain postures that have become impossible or even dangerous, or even prenatal yoga.
The most important thing is to listen to your body and adapt your practice over the months.
Without further ado, here are 14 postures for a more peaceful pregnancy and childbirth.
1. Cat and cow pose for lower back pain
As the months go by, the rounding belly weighs more and more and this is felt directly in the lower back. Some even suffer from sciatica.
Doing a few sets of cat and cow poses every day will not only relieve the lower back but also the chest, shoulders, neck and spine.
How ? On all fours on your knees and hands, inhale while pushing your pelvis upwards, head relaxed downwards. Then exhale while tilting your pelvis downward and rounding your spine.
2. Tree pose to avoid cramps
Ah the cramps! We would happily do without them, especially when they wake us up at night. Pregnancy cramp does exist, it is the involuntary contraction of a muscle often due to a magnesium deficiency or the fact that we do not drink enough.
Tree pose comes to your rescue. To put all the chances on your side, make sure you drink enough and eat almonds during your hunger pangs to replenish your mineral intake.
How ? standing on the ground, feet firmly planted, support yourself on one foot and place the other in the crook of your thigh (or against your calf if you lose your balance as is often the case in the 3rd trimester of pregnancy) . Both arms are raised and the hands come together in prayer at heart level or above the head.
3. Warrior pose for better digestion
Constipation, heartburn, stomach aches...are some of the common ailments during pregnancy, mainly caused by hormonal changes. And there's not much to do against it, except the warrior posture!
How ? In a standing position, spread your legs, heels aligned on the same line and the outer edge of the back foot parallel to the mat. Raise your arms in line with your body and parallel to the mat. Your gaze moves forward.
4. Triangle posture to make room for baby
You sometimes wonder – and legitimately – if your belly will continue to grow forever…to make room for baby. You feel ready to explode!
To regain some comfort and make room for your baby, transition from warrior pose to triangle pose. This helps open the rib cage for greater ease.
How ? From Warrior I, slide the front arm down the leg, the hand hooks onto the ankle. Raise your other arm towards the sky, if possible your gaze is directed towards a point on the ceiling.
5. Butterfly pose to open the pelvis
Your due date is approaching and you want to prepare your body as best as possible for this ordeal. Butterfly pose helps open the hips and provides flexibility to the pelvic floor muscles.
How ? Sitting on the floor, bend your knees and bring the soles of your feet together. Position your hands on the ankles and stretch forward as much as possible.
6. Downward facing dog to relieve the spine
A yoga classic that fits perfectly into a prenatal yoga session. Downward Facing Dog is a great pose for stretching the back and back of the legs. You can also make a small back and forth movement to massage your feet and stretch your shoulders and upper back.
How ? On all fours on your mat, position your hands flat, parallel and in line with your shoulders, your feet hip-width apart. As you exhale, raise your knees upwards while supporting your hands. If you can, straighten your legs. The back is flat, the head and neck are an extension of the spine.
7. Child’s pose to relax
The child's posture is that of relaxation par excellence. As your pregnancy progresses, it may be more difficult for you to place your forehead on the ground. Consider adapting your posture by placing a cushion or simply placing your two fists on top of each other under your head.
How ? Squatting on the ground, spread your knees and lean the front of your body until your forehead touches the ground. Stretch your arms comfortably above your head. Stay in this position for as long as is comfortable and breathe calmly.
8. Mountain posture to re-tame the breath
With your baby getting heavier and taking up more and more space, it's completely normal to feel out of breath when you're pregnant. This is also due to the blood volume which increases by almost 50% and which increases the heart rate.
How ? In a standing position, with your feet hip-width apart, stand up straight with your arms on either side of your body, palms facing forward. Take advantage of this posture to anchor yourself firmly to the ground and to breathe calmly.
9. Chair posture to strengthen your back muscles
Another posture for your back which accumulates tension as your pregnancy progresses. Chair pose allows you to stretch while strengthening your back muscles.
How ? From Mountain Pose, raise your arms palms facing each other. Bend your knees until they form an angle as close to 90 degrees. The back is straight.
10. Candlelight posture to stimulate blood circulation
Feeling of heaviness in the legs? The candle pose is ideal for restarting blood circulation and promoting lymphatic drainage. During your pregnancy, use and abuse this very relaxing posture, why not against a wall to give you support.
How ? Lying on your back, raise your legs straight and lean them against a wall or opt for the traditional version of the candle if you feel able: raise your legs and support your pelvis with your hands.
11. The half-bridge posture to tone the buttocks, thighs and perineum
Maintain your strength and tone by regularly practicing the half-bridge posture! It will certainly become more and more complicated as the months go by, but this posture will give you a feeling of power and control over your body for the day of your delivery.
How ? Lying on your back with your legs bent and your arms alongside your body, support yourself on your shoulder blades, arms and feet. On an inhale, lift the buttocks from the coccyx and lift the vertebrae one by one.
12. Goddess pose to strengthen the thighs and open the hips
Very similar to the squat, it is the ultimate posture for preparing for childbirth. It opens and strengthens all the muscles involved during labor, so Goddess Pose is one to keep at the top of your list!
How ? While standing, spread your legs and bend your knees as much as possible to a right angle. Raise and extend your arms parallel to the floor, forearms square.
13. Cow's head, pigeon and supine pigeon postures to relieve false sciatica
False sciatica is this nerve pain in the lower back that causes electrical shocks down the leg. Not a very pleasant feeling. To alleviate it, you can practice the cow's head, pigeon and pigeon on the back postures which will relax the sacroiliac joint located at the very bottom of the spine.
How ? For the cow face, start in a seated position with your legs extended in front of you. Bend one leg to one side then bend the other leg over the other, knees overlapping and feet close to hips. Raise one arm alongside your head, bending your elbow and bringing your hand to your upper back. Bend the other arm back and clasp your hands behind your back.
For pigeon pose, get on all fours and slide your right leg forward diagonally, under your chest. Slide your straight left leg back. With your hands on either side of your chest, stand up straight or slide the front of your body towards the ground.
For the extended pigeon pose, position yourself lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor. Position your right foot on your left knee and grab your left leg with both hands at calf level. Keep your head firmly on the ground by tucking your chin.
14. The corpse pose to release everything and feel positive
The long-awaited posture at the end of the session, even more deserved when you are pregnant! Staying calm and positive is the key to a peaceful pregnancy and childbirth, so take full advantage of this last posture to relax and concentrate on a positive outcome for your child's birth. Corpse pose is ideal for a little positive visualization exercise!
How ? Lying on your back, spread your arms and legs slightly while breathing deeply.
Have you thought about using a nice positive affirmation during your prenatal yoga sessions ? These little magic phrases will help you stay positive and plan for the best possible course of your birth.
Here are some examples for inspiration:
“My body is made to give life”
“I am strong and capable of giving life”
“I trust my body which is strong and powerful”
In this post, we have discussed the postures that make us feel good when we are expecting a baby.
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