First off, congratulations on your pregnancy! It’s one of the most beautiful and rewarding experiences of a woman’s life and this is only the beginning of the most incredible journey you will take. The first step, though, is to make sure that you keep yourself healthy and strong for the many changes that are coming your way.
As you progress through your pregnancy, your body will surely and steadily start to change, not just in terms of how it looks, but more importantly, in terms of how it works. Your estrogen levels will start to rise and your body will begin to produce vast quantities of human chorionic gonadotropin, or the HCG hormone, as your baby grows inside you. As you enter the second and third trimesters, your center of gravity will shift and your body will begin to feel those aches and cramped muscles that every pregnant woman is familiar with.
It is crucial to stay as fit as you can throughout your pregnancy, both mentally and physically, in order to keep up with the demands of a growing fetus. Walking and light aerobics are good options, but by far, the best way to keep your mind and body centered is to practice yoga. Prenatal yoga is a toned down version of the ancient Indian art, and it is designed to be of benefit to women in all stages of their pregnancy. The asanas or poses that are used are not as intense as those practiced in regular yoga, with the focus being on breathing, meditation, and flexibility. The benefits of prenatal yoga are impossible to overstate. The deep breathing exercises stave off the nausea, and help to keep you centered and balanced. They also come in handy as a pain management technique during the trials of labor. The meditation exercises offer the same benefit, allowing a woman to stay focused during the process of labor and delivery. As for the posture exercises, which are the most important aspect of prenatal yoga practice, these allow a woman’s body to retain its flexibility as it goes through the natural physical changes of pregnancy. When you enter your third trimester, your center of gravity shifts forward, and can throw you off balance. Many women in this stage of pregnancy find themselves being clumsier and more accident prone than normal. This is because the way they move has changed significantly with the added weight of the baby. The postures practiced in prenatal yoga help a woman regain her sense of balance and allow her to become more in touch with her new range of movement. Most importantly, prenatal yoga keeps you fit, allowing you to bear the rigors of labor with fortitude. The enhanced physical flexibility helps during the pushing portion of labor, while the breathing and meditation exercises keep a woman as relaxed as she can possibly be during delivery. Apart from keeping you healthy and strong, prenatal yoga allows you to meet other expectant mothers and form a community that will help support you through this new phase in your life. Prenatal yoga classes are relatively easy to find, so go ahead and get started on your road to a happy and healthy pregnancy!
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