Yoga is great exercise preparation for childbirth and I think it helps for the entire pregnancy too, to be fit, limber and comfortable with your body. In our metropolitan area there are countless venues for prenatal yoga classes. Of course, I am partial to ohbaby!fitness and Northside Hospital has just included ohbaby! into their Mother's First Program. Just another addition to the long and impressive list for ohbaby! Their prenatal yoga instructors have completed a rigorous certification. And I am happy to admit that I helped in the creation of the ohbaby!fitness training manual. The idea is to make sure that your instructor isn't just a yoga teacher but a certified prenatal yoga coach.
You may be confronted with which type of yoga to pursue. Don't do Bikram: it's way to hot and you don't want to raise your core body temperature above 101 degrees F. There are forms of yoga that are very strenuous and obviously they aren't for you either. Gentle yoga, Hatha yoga, PRENATAL yoga is the way to go. Always hydrate well and it bears repeating, if yoga becomes aerobic for you, ( you're out of shape ), you have to keep your heart-rate or pulse, below 140 beat per minute. Make sure that you can talk while exercising. A certified prenatal yoga instructor will not require you to do any postures that are contraindicated, like bridges where you're inverted with your legs extended above your heart.
Make sure that your provider okays the yoga program that you have decided on. A good gym should insist on medical permission. Thirty minutes should do it for a single session and remember, you'll get better. Shoot for 2-3 days a week and on the other days do water aerobics or walk. No one is a yogi their first day out. The nice thing about a yoga practice is that it is strictly your own. No competition, even with yourself. One day may be better than another. It's all about that moment.
A good prenatal yoga class will help you practice breathing and focusing. It will make you aware of relaxation and an ability to provide yourself with a calming inner environment. You will improve your strength, endurance and flexibility. You will stretch in new ways to promote a full range of motion. Yoga often is credited with improving sleep, decreasing backaches and headaches and many aches associated with pregnancy. We all know that exercise reduces the risk of high blood pressure and pre-term labor. Yoga is thought to reduce anxiety in general. If all that doesn't help with labor and delivery, it sure will help with motherhood. In fact, life all around, feels better as a yoga practitioner. I love yoga.