5 Reasons For Doing Yoga During Pregnancy

5 Reasons For Doing Yoga During Pregnancy

This is the perfect time to practice Yoga during pregnancy as your body is changing and adjusting to being pregnant. Check out these reasons why.

1. Better Posture

A Pregnancy Yoga class will introduce poses to encourage good posture, balance and stability. The centre of balance and spinal curves change as your bump grows. To maintain a healthy posture an Ante Natal Teacher will suggest poses to strengthen the back muscles and the supporting muscles such as the buttocks and thighs.

2. Reduce Stress and Anxiety

A study shows that doing Yoga during pregnancy may reduce stress and anxiety. It said that those who did yoga felt less anxious about their pregnancy and birth. A weekly class reduces stress hormones in the body by 14%, even after the first yoga class, and can possibly prevent depressive moods, according to the research.

3. Strength for Labour and Birth

Strengthening exercises and poses in Yoga will support you during labour. This is a time where women need a lot of stamina and strength as well as being able to deeply relax between contractions. Yoga classes will teach poses suitable for this time as well as techniques such as relaxation, breathing and meditation.

4. Stay Fit, Strong and Flexible

Yoga is an excellent way to exercise during pregnancy. An Ante Natal Yoga class can still include sequences to build up stamina, muscle tone as well as stretching, whilst accommodating the pregnant body.

5. Easier Post Natal Recovery

If a woman is strong before pregnancy it is easier to maintain fitness levels whilst pregnant. If she is fit during pregnancy the postpartum recovery will be easier too. Pelvic floor exercises are practiced in Ante Natal Yoga. If you are connected with the pelvic floor muscles before giving birth it will be easier to strengthen them after. Strong flexible muscles heal quicker too. The breathing and relaxation techniques are useful afterwards as well. We need to relax in order to restore.

The Benefits of Yoga & Pilates during Pregnancy?

The benefits of Yoga & Pilates during Pregnancy?

I love both of these and the benefits of doing both during a class gives you that extra bonus of mixing poses together which are beneficial or works best for you. Stretching exercises promote circulation of blood and oxygen throughout the body, relaxing both body and mind and promoting a sense of general well-being. So let’s start with

Yoga During Pregnancy

Yoga is great for working our muscles without putting too much strain on your joints. Most of the breathing techniques you’ll use in yoga are a good preparation for giving birth, as they will help you stay calm and breathe steadily through your contractions.

One of the most important benefits of yoga for a pregnant woman is the focus on breathing. Concentrating on breathing properly will teach you to relax your mind and body, even in frightening or high-stress situations, helping you to develop an healthier pregnancy.

You will gain so much more than flexibility, it will improve your posture by strengthening the core muscles and will help ease or relieve back pain, it will aid balance, stability, relaxation, meditation and self-awareness.

When pregnant women tend to shift their pelvis forward in response to the increased weight of baby, which places significant strain on the lower back. Pregnancy can shift the position of the digestive organs, impeding digestion and causing unwanted side effects. Yoga can help reverse this process and restore healthy digestion.

There are some positions which are not ok during pregnancy, so do ensure you choose a pregnancy yoga class with a fully qualified yoga pregnancy teacher.

Pilates during Pregnancy

Pilates can be very beneficial for pregnant women, helping you to maintain good posture, alleviate some of the aches and pains and become more aware of your changing body. It also helps you to follow a safe and effective exercise program throughout the whole of your pregnancy, which can be adapted to meet each stage of your pregnancy and energy levels day to day.

Pilates targets the very muscles which get weakened by pregnancy itself eg the pelvic floor and core. It also helps you breathe (great for labour), puts your body in an optimal postural position and relieves tension in your neck, shoulders, hips and lower back.

The benefits are similar to Yoga, tone your abdominals/core muscles, realign your posture, become more flexible, strengthen your pelvic floor, relieve tension in tight muscles, strengthen your back, works on your breathe and finally relaxation.

New Ante & Post Classes Starting 22nd April 2014

Super excited to announce due to popular demand, I will be adding 2 more classes onto my timetable starting from Tuesday 22nd April 2014.

Yoga & Pilates –  this is going to be an open class which will be available to pregnant ladies and non pregnant. Due to the requests of having a early daytime class,  from pregnant and non pregnant ladies, I am combining the class together, which I have done before and worked well. I am confident to have a mixed class and am capable of making tweaks to each individual ladies needs, whether pregnant or not. I can assure you it will be fun and friendly and everyone will benefit from it. Strengthen your pelvic floor and core muscles, release tension and back ache, hip problems and pelvic girdle pain, to list a few.

Mummies and Babies Bootcamp – this is aimed for the more advanced but if anyone struggles to make the Friday session, I am more than capable of making tweaks to suit the individual person. Whether you have a baby or your children is at Nursery/School, you have no excuses you attend the class. If you fancy a “me time” workout and someone else is looking after baby, then you can put your full effort into your workout without any distractions. Strength and tone your whole body using your own body weight or a variety of equipment, dumbbells, resistant bands, sandbags and much more. Let’s transform your body and make you feel sexy.

Look forward to seeing you all next week.

 

Loosening Joints and Ligaments in your Pelvis

Loosening Joints and Ligaments in your Pelvis

The past few weeks this topic has been mentioned in class, so I thought I would explain in more detail.

The pubic bone is actually made up of two separate bones joined together in the middle of the pubic area by a strong ligament. Under the influence of relaxin, a hormone released in increasingly greater amounts throughout pregnancy, this ligament can become so soft and unstable that the two bones may literally separate. It sounds bad, but this phenomenon is actually desirable, because it increases the dimensions of your pelvis and creates more room for your baby to pass through the birth canal during childbirth.

Be warned, however, a number of pesky ailments can also crop up as a result of pelvic shift. In fact, if you’re starting to feel funny little pains on the edges of your pelvis, you’re already experiencing one of the most common side effects: round ligament pain. Ranging anywhere from mildly cramp like to sharp and stabbing, round ligament pain is usually worst when you get out of bed or up from a chair. Rest will generally alleviate the pain and learning the correct way to get up from a sitting or lying down position can help avoid the problem. To stand up from a chair, put your hands on your legs just above your knees, lean forward, and push yourself up slowly with your arms. To lie down, or to stand up after lying down, roll over onto one hip and use your arms to lower or lift your body.

For particularly annoying cases, try the following exercise, which was shown by researchers at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, to be effective in relieving both the intensity and duration of round ligament pain:

Stand barefoot with your feet together, one hand holding the back of a chair or touching a wall for support. Keeping both legs straight, raise your right leg up by lifting your right hip so your right foot is about 2 inches off the floor. Keep your shoulders and the bottom of your right foot parallel to the floor. Hold the right leg in the air for 6 seconds, then lower. Repeat 10 times on the right, then switch to the left. This movement tilts your hip and pelvis about 30 degrees, which releases and relaxes the irritated ligament.

A small number of women have a large degree of pelvic separation, which can cause severe pain in the center of the pubic area, a condition known as pubic symphysis pain. Now this is another topic and will be cover next time.

Hope this has helped you understand a bit more.

Number 1 Exercise That Every Ante & Post Natal Lady Should Do

Number 1 Exercise That Every Ante & Post Natal Lady Should Do

Squats

 Firstly they are really simple and safe to do during and after pregnancy.

Pregnancy – they strengthen the glutes (bum) which weaken during pregnancy, strengthen and tones your thighs, works your pelvic floor on the upward phase from squatting to standing (without you even having to actively switch it on – super) and finally prepare your body if you are wanting an active birth, where you are encouraged to stay active and move around during labour.

Post Natal – your glutes actually lengthen and weaken during pregnancy because your pelvis tips forwards to allow your growing bump to come forward. So focusing on your bottom is definitely priority on your to do list of what muscles you should be working on after birth. And, why wouldn’t you?! Any strengthening exercise performed for these sets of muscles should be done so in a slow, controlled manor, ensuring your technique and pelvic positioning is maintained. So, make sure your pelvic floor or core is switched on, keep the lower back from arching, and perform the exercises slowly and with control, for maximum results.

Starting point:

Stand with feet hip width apart, knees soft, pelvis neutral, shoulders down and back, head in line with spine.

As a precaution, if you are new to squatting stand by a wall or have a chair next to you, in case you feel off balance or wobbly.

Draw baby/belly button towards spine (these are your core muscles working when you do this action) or engage your pelvic floor muscles underneath and hold them in slightly. Slowly bend through your hips and knees and sit back into your heels. Feel your glutes and thighs working as you squat, remember put your bodyweight into the heels of your feet to get the muscles working correctly. On your way back up, lift through your pelvic floor and come back to standing tall. Repeat 2 sets of 15, keeping the focus on your glutes, thighs and pelvic floor too.

Pretty simple really.

Do note if you can’t feel your bum, thighs doing anything and/or you feel pain in your back, hips, knees or feet, then it’s likely your doing something wrong.

If you are struggling, then try the reverse squat. All you need is a sturdy chair. Start seated, bottom towards the edge/front of the chair, feet flat on the floor and knees are hip width apart, sit tall, shoulders down and back, pull your tummy muscles/pelvic floor up and without using your arms, slowly come to a standing position, then slowly lower back down to the chair. Repeat 2 sets of 15.

3 Gentle Exercises During Pregnancy

3 Gentle Exercises During Pregnancy

Doing these in your daily routine, will help strengthen your muscles to help carry that extra weight, make your joints stronger, ease backache, improve circulation and make you feel better. You should be doing your pelvic floor exercises daily. See my previous newsletter about how to do these, if you aren’t doing them already or as a refresher.

Cat Stretch

  1. Start on all fours, wrists, shoulders in alignment and knees, hips in alignment, Fingers facing forward, baby into spine (stomach muscles lifted) nice flat back, (ensure you don’t sag)

  2. Slowly pulled in your stomach muscles and round your back up towards the ceiling, your head looks towards your knees/stomach. Don’t lock out your elbows

  3. Hold for a few seconds then lower to start position

  4. Do not hollow your back, bring it back to a flat back/neutral position

  5. Do 10 times, nice and slowly

 Pelvic Tilts Standing

  1. Stand with your shoulders and back against the wall

  2. Knees soft

  3. Bring your belly button towards your spine (Baby to spine), your back should flatten against the wall

  4. Hold for 5 seconds and release

  5. Do 10 times

Foot Exercises 

These can be done either standing, sitting or lying down. They improve blood circulation, reduce swelling in the ankles and prevent cramp in the calf muscles.

  1. Point and flex your foot vigorously up and down 30 times, then change foot

  2. Rotate your foot round one way and then the other, 10 times each side then swop foot

 

 

 

 

3 Top Exercises to Ease Cramp During Pregnancy

3 Top Exercises To Ease Cramp During Pregnancy

Oh no the dreaded Cramp! How I remember this while I was pregnant, especially during the night. That tightness in the lower leg, Ouch. Well here’s my tips

Cramp can be eased with regular exercises to increase circulation. Before bed have your feet lifted and circle your ankles, if you do cramp then point and flex your foot or better still get your husband or partner to move your foot around and massage your calf.

Calf Raises/Pedalling – Improve circulation and strengthen the ankles

Standing tall feet hip width apart, shoulders down and back, bring baby to spine and switch on your pelvic floor. Hands on hips to ensure pelvis stays in alignment throughout the movement. Slowly lift one heel off the floor, ensure hips are level during movement, lower down and change foot. If feeling unbalanced hold onto a chair, worktop or wall. Perform 10-15 on alternate legs.

Calf Stretches – Stretch the calf

Stand tall, shoulders down and back, draw abdominals and pelvic floor in and up, slowly step 1 leg back, keep back leg straight, front leg is bent, knee in line with ankle, hold stretch for 10-15 seconds then change legs. For a deeper stretch or if feeling unbalanced, use a wall or chair for support.

Seated Ankle Rotations – Mobilise the ankle and improves circulation

Sitting tall, shoulders down and back, ensure baby into spine, slowly lift one foot off the floor and rotate around in a circular motion one way then change direction, change legs. Perform 10 circles each way on each leg and repeat twice.

A lady who attended my Ante Natal Yoga/Pilates Classes, suffered a lot with cramp, she did the exercises and also started having Almond milk, it seemed to ease and didn’t keep reoccurring, so why not try Almond milk as well.

Top Tip To Ease Labour Pain

Top Tip To Ease Your Labour Pain

Try this Yoga movement to ease your labour pain. Stand short distance from wall, lean forwards, push against the wall with hands, slowly circular your hips or move your hips side to side, to the rhythm of your own breathing. You can also lean on the bed or worktop. This can encourage the process of labour and ease pain.

 

New Ante Natal Yoga & Pilates Class

New Corporate Ante Natal Class

I’m really pleased to say, I have now set up a class at West Notts College, Mansfield 5.00pm – 5.45pm, for their staff, and they have kindly said I can open it up to the general public too, which is very kind of them. Thank you.

The room is small so places are limited and works on a first come first serve. So booking is essential.

Free parking.