For pregnant women, stretching can offer many benefits. It can help you stay fit, relaxed, and prepare you for labor. More importantly, it can help ease some of the aches and pains you might be experiencing.
But there are some things to keep in mind before you get started. Relaxin is a hormone that’s present in the body. During pregnancy, levels of relaxin increase. It helps the body relax the cervix and ligaments during delivery.
Relaxin also lubricates and loosens the joints and ligaments of the pelvis, which can allow you to overstretch in activities like yoga. For this reason, stretching too enthusiastically can be dangerous, as it may cause injury.
To avoid any potential problems, try not to go deeper into poses than you could before pregnancy. If you’re a beginner, “gently and slowly” should be your mantra.
Prenatal yoga can:
- Improve sleep
- Reduce stress and anxiety
- Increase the strength, flexibility and endurance of muscles needed for childbirth
- Decrease lower back pain, nausea, headaches and shortness of breath
Be sure to get your doctor’s approval before practicing prenatal yoga. Certain pregnancy complications might make exercise dangerous.