Pregnancy is something most Women anticipate. It brings both fear and joy to parents, joy for finally having a baby and fear of the risk that goes with it. Pregnancy is the period from conception to birth. That is from the time when a male’s sperm cell fertilizes the female’s ovum (egg) to the time of delivery or a total of 40 weeks or 280 days. Some women go into labor before the expected date of giving birth, resulting to premature infant. Pregnancy Symptoms include missed Menstrual Period, morning sickness, tenderness and swelling of breasts, fatigue, nausea, increased frequency of urination, weight gain, mood swings, and sometimes may also include cravings for unusual substances such as ice, clay or cornstarch.
Pregnancy has a lot of risks, though these risks are always worth taking. The complications may be on the mother or the child. The risks include ectopic Pregnancy wherein the fertilized egg implants outside the uterus and toxemia, a serious complication that occurs in the later stage of Pregnancy and is characterized by High Blood Pressure, extreme weight gain and protein in the urine. Health problems can also increase the risk in Pregnancy such as heart disease, high blood pressure, liver disease, Asthma, epilepsy, and sexually transmitted diseases. The risk relatively the highest during the first trimester or the first few months because it is during this period that the infant’s most vital organs like the brain, internal organs, the arms and the legs are being formed. The second trimester, on the other hand, is characterized by weight gain and the continuous growth of the baby in your womb. You will also notice that your baby starts to move before the end of this trimester. Constipation and leg cramps may also continue, thus it is important to keep yourself healthy. In the last trimester, you may still continue to feel the discomforts you felt in the second trimester. In addition to this, you will also have the need to go to the bathroom often and breathing can become harder. Your baby is growing bigger and putting more pressure in your organs.
The Practice of Yoga can help you prepare your mind and body for labor and birth as this helps you focus, to concentrate and keep you healthy. The Yoga Poses are gentle ways of keeping your body active and supple and minimize the common Pregnancy Symptoms like morning sickness and constipation. It can also help in ensuring easier labor and smooth delivery by relieving tension around the cervix and birth canal and by opening the pelvis. The Breathing Techniques can also become handy during labor. It also helps in restoring your body shape, uterus, abdomen, and pelvic floor, and in relieving upper back tension and breast discomfort after childbirth. Special care, however, is needed in choosing the Yoga Poses that you will practice, you should avoid poses that requires laying on the back or belly.
For the first trimester, standing Yoga Poses are advised as this will help strengthen the legs, promote Circulation, generate energy, and may reduce leg cramps. It is also advisable to do some stretching such as the hamstrings stretch to avoid Sciatica. During the second and third trimester, you may reduce your time spent for practicing the Asanas to prevent fatigue and overwork. It is also not advised to practice from the tenth to through the fourteenth week of Pregnancy since these are crucial times. Supine poses, backbends, and twisting can also be done with modification or if the body is on an incline. Do not overstretch the abdomen; the emphasis of your twisting poses should be on the shoulders and the upper back and not on the abdomen. Avoid doing inversion poses though some experience Yoga practitioners usually still feel comfortable doing this until the seventh month.
Revision date: June 22, 2011
Last revised: by Janet A. Staessen, MD, PhD