Prenatal Yoga: More Than Movement

By
By Lakeview Physio
Leah Milne
,
MScPT, Pelvic Health Physiotherapist, Integrated Dry Needling, Pilates
on
Pelvic Health
September 20, 2019

If you are pregnant and looking for an activity that you can do throughout your pregnancy, I cannot recommend Prenatal yoga enough! At Lakeview Physiotherapy we offer prenatal yoga classes, and also have Pelvic Health Physiotherapists that can help assessments, education and advice throughout your pregnancy and post-partum journey!

Hi, I’m Leah, Pelvic Health Physiotherapist and mom to a lovely baby girl. I love to be active, whether I am going for a run, heading to the gym or unrolling my yoga mat - my happy place is when I am moving. So, when I found out that I was pregnant, I already had a good idea of how I wanted to stay active during my pregnancy. I say wanted because as a pelvic health physio, I spend a lot of time meeting and treating patients throughout their pregnancies and into the post- partum period. Thus, I had a good idea of some of the challenges that I might face.

Being a runner, I wanted to run, but being a pelvic health physiotherapist I was more than a little worried. I didn’t want to put too much pressure on my pelvic floor, I didn’t want to over-stretch any ligaments, and I didn’t want to leak! I was lucky to feel mostly OK in my first trimester, so I thought I would give it a try. As I was running I was very conscious of how my body felt, could I feel any pressure vaginally or abdominally? Was I having any leakage? Did I have any pain? Everything felt pretty good until I was early in my second trimester. I was on a run one day and started to really notice feeling different, my body felt heavier and running just felt hard. I knew this was my body telling me that it was time to stop and I wanted to honour these feelings.

Yoga was another one of the activities I wanted to do in my pregnancy, as it has many physical benefits for both Mom and baby.  So in my second trimester I signed up for prenatal yoga.

The class was in the evening, so I rushed from work and was almost late for the class. I quickly unrolled my yoga mat in an inconspicuous spot, glancing around at all of the other pregnant ladies around me. There were women of every shape and size, in all-different stages of pregnancy. The first thing the instructor asked us to do was to find a comfortable position (which was easy with all of the pillows and props that they had) and to put our hands on our bellies. She then asked us to take a moment to share with our babies, to be grateful for this time that they are with us, and to let them know that we are looking forward to meeting them soon.

This comment hit me SO. HARD. It was not like I did not know that I was pregnant, but with the busyness of life I had not really thought about the fact that there was a HUMAN in my belly, and that I soon would be a Mom. I was in tears without being in that class for more than 5 minutes, and so thankful that I had tucked my yoga mat into a back corner. I thought that I was ready for prenatal yoga, my Physio mind knew that it would be beneficial for me, in terms of practicing my breath, strengthening my pelvis, and moving my body in a safe and impact-free way, but I did not even think about the way that prenatal yoga would affect my mental health.

Prenatal yoga has so many benefits, of which I will highlight later, however the MENTAL component, at least for me was one of the most important reasons to continue. Taking the time out of your day to stop and breathe, to think about the little human that is growing inside you is so important!

As a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist, and Mom I cannot recommend Prenatal Yoga enough. Here are the “other” reasons you should attend:

  1. Practice in breathing: Changing or learning more about your breath can have so many benefits, not only to your comfort during your pregnancy, but can help you to manage pain in your labour, help with the delivery of your baby, but also help optimize your pelvic floor strength and function.
  2. Maintaining activity and movement throughout your pregnancy: Like I mentioned, almost anyone can attend prenatal yoga.  If you are 10 weeks pregnant or 40 weeks pregnant, postures can be modified so that you can continue to stay active in comfort. Exceptions to this would be issues with the pregnancy that require you to minimize activity or be on bed rest, significant lower back or pelvic pain that causes pain with walking or standing, or issues with blood pressure and dizziness.
  3. Strengthening your Pelvis: Maintaining activity, and especially strengthening your pelvis can sometimes help to prevent pelvic pain in your pregnancy, and post- partum. Your pelvis is also the stable base that your pelvic floor muscles attach to, so it can also help to prevent pelvic floor issues as well.
  4. Learning to use your Pelvic Floor Muscles: Although the best way to learn how to use your pelvic floor is to have an assessment by a Physiotherapist, prenatal yoga is a great way to start thinking about how to both relax and contract the pelvic floor, and how this relates to movement.
  5. Preparation for Labour and Delivery: There are many yoga poses that are fantastic for starting to open the pelvis, stretch the pelvic floor, and start to prepare the body for delivery.  My particular favourite is the Malasana pose (yogi squat).

If you are pregnant and looking for an activity that you can do throughout your pregnancy, I cannot recommend Prenatal yoga enough! At Lakeview Physiotherapy we offer prenatal yoga classes, and also have Pelvic Health Physiotherapists that can help assessments, education and advice throughout your pregnancy and post-partum journey!

Namaste,

Leah

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