Pregnancy is the ideal time to make healthy lifestyle changes. Giving your unborn baby the best possible start in life is the perfect incentive to ditch caffeine, add more greens to your diet and make sure you include exercise on a regular basis. Medical experts recommend that all healthy pregnant women should aim for at least half an hour’s exercise on at least five days a week, to enjoy a raft of benefits for both mother and baby.
If you weren’t active before you became pregnant, yoga is a good way to introduce exercise into your life – it will improve your strength, flexibility and circulation, helping to prepare your body for the birth of your baby.
And if you already exercise on a regular basis, it’s worth considering regular prenatal yoga sessions to enjoy the special benefits yoga provides for Mammas-to-be.
Pregnancy fitness experts FittaMamma say, ‘We love prenatal yoga and would always recommend it as a fantastic exercise for pregnant women.
You’ll find the breathing techniques you practise during a pregnancy yoga session are hugely beneficial, especially when it comes to managing the pain and discomfort of childbirth.
You don’t need to be super-fit or extra bendy to enjoy the benefits of yoga and it needs minimal equipment, just a yoga mat, a blanket and something comfortable and stretchy to wear.’
Need any more reasons to introduce yoga into your life?
- Studies have shown that women who practise yoga during pregnancy are less likely to develop high blood pressure or go into premature labour.
- Many poses will help create more space in your pelvis for your baby and can help ease back pain and heartburn
- There are a number of poses that can assist or even speed up labour, easing your baby’s entry into the world – and help speed recovery after the birth as well.
- Any exercise will encourage the release of ‘feel good’ endorphins, raising your mood and alleviating stress and anxiety
- Many women find yoga promotes more restful sleep.
- Joining a dedicated beginners prenatal yoga class is a great way to meet other Mammas-to-be
- If you can’t join a pregnancy yoga class find time to practise yoga at home – check out FittaMamma’s pregnancy yoga videos
Not sure what to wear?
Choose something comfortable, stretchy and supportive – the FittaMamma range of maternity fitnesswear is designed especially for pregnant women. Their Pregnancy Yoga Top will stretch when you stretch without riding up over your bump and their leggings will support your bump without falling down when you bend down. Team the top with Hotmilk's Vitality Yoga Bra to keep your boobs comfortably supported before and after the birth of your baby and enjoy the freedom of being able to feed on the go with the bras nursing clips.
Unroll your yoga mat and enjoy!
Try FittaMamma’s favourite (easy!) yoga poses to help ease some of the more common pregnancy niggles
Aching shoulders are very common, especially if you’re still working and sitting at a desk all day.
The full Eagle Pose is a standing posture on one leg that improves your balance – but simply sitting and performing the arm movements will create space between your shoulder blades, easing tension in your back.
Sit tall, inhale and raise your arms up to shoulder level with palms facing upwards.
Cross your left arm over the right so that the elbows rest on top of each other.
Bend your elbows, wrapping your forearms around each other with palms facing each other. Your fingers should point to the ceiling.
Remain in the pose for 30 - 60 seconds before unwrapping your arms and bringing them gently back so your hands rest on your thighs.
Relax and repeat the other side.
Cow Pose is a simple yoga posture that will help make more space in your diaphragm, easing the pressure in your stomach which can make your heartburn worse.
Sitting up tall, breathe out and lengthen your back, rolling your shoulders gently to release them.
Stretch your right arm up, bend your elbow and drop your hand down the back of your neck.
Now reach up behind your back with your left hand, reaching as high as you can so the fingers of both hands meet. If they don’t touch, use a yoga belt or a scarf to make the connection, working your hands as close together as you can without straining.
Hold the pose for about a minute, lengthening your lower back and neck and breathing deeply. Make sure you keep your neck free and don’t allow your arm to push against your head.
Release both arms, breathe deeply and relax for a minute before repeating on the other side.
Our favourite pose to ease backache is the Child’s Pose, taking the weight of your baby off your lower back and releasing tension in your pelvis and hip joints.
Kneel on your yoga mat, knees wide apart, feet turned inwards. Come forward slowly, moving from the hips and lengthening your spine. Place your palms on the floor, stretching your arms out in front of you and lower your body until your forehead touches the floor….and relax.
Come up slowly when you’re ready to do so.
If you don’t feel comfortable in this pose lean over a large cushion or a bean bag, focussing on making sure your back feels comfortable and relaxed.