The Secret to Keeping Fit while Pregnant
It is funny how everyone looks at a pregnant woman as a very fragile human being who should barely do any exercises or keep fit because she could go into labour at any time. Well that is not true and exercises is what they should do a lot of, especially then.
Yoga for sure was the last thing on my mind when it came to a mum-to-be’s list of keeping fit. I was proved wrong. I had an opportunity to hang out with an expert instructor from Africa Yoga Project Shine Center as she taught instructors about prenatal yoga.
You can only begin prenatal yoga when you are 14 weeks pregnant and above. This yoga is good for the mother and the baby, and yes pregnancy yoga is different from the usual yoga everyone knows of or has heard of. The stretches are gentle and not harmful at all. A first when I entered the room I saw very young enthusiastic group of instructors to be who had graduated that day. She came in with her baby, her being a new mum with a baby not over 5 months, still breast feeding her every chance she got.
So I pulled a chair at the corner of the class like an invigilator and just started observing. They all began with sitting on their mats on the floor and started stretching. This went on for about 20 minutes or so, as she kept asking the students what steps follow. They all participated in a really engaging way, cracking jokes and asking questions. I honestly felt tempted to join the fun, but I had to continue doing my job, observing.
This was their last lesson and what she kept insisting was that pregnancy yoga was not just a physical activity/keeping fit but also emotional. She taught them that breathing was the most important thing, and as they exhaled they kept making a sound like an exhaling sound, this helps with the noise one makes during labour.
I found that really interesting. Then next thing they did was the stretches, they had one in particular called the camel. This is where you walk like a camel- leg forward then you push your baby bump forward and bum out in a continuous motion. It made them look so silly, but it was helpful in the sense that it helps push the baby down, that way it reduces the labour time. This brings us to the benefits of pregnancy yoga.
Fit pregnancy and baby mentioned that pregnant women should practice prenatal yoga because,
- It relieves tension from your body.
- It calms the nerves, this is done by the deep breathes you take during class.
- It improves hormonal balance-as the foetus grows there is an imbalance of hormones due to the increase of progesterone and estrogen.
- It also develops stamina and strength; particularly by strengthening the hips, back, arms and shoulders.
- It relieves heart burns.
- It helps connect with other mothers.