Many of the common discomforts in pregnancy can be relieved by specific yoga postures to alleviate pressure on the particular part of the body and strengthening the surrounding muscles.
There are many issues that you can come against in pregnancy, but bear in mind you may be lucky and breeze through. Below are merely the usual suspects and even with a dream pregnancy, you’ll probably encounter one or two.
Back pain and Sciatica
Yoga can help relieve these pains by practicing correct postural alignment – this will change from week to week. There are fantastic poses in yoga to alleviate particularly lower back pain – they are simple and easy to practice. They can also help you prevent or reduce muscle separation.
Sciatica is described as a sharp pain usually running through one side of your buttock (although in pregnancy it can effect both sides) and down your leg which can make it uncomfortable to stand or sit. It can be debilitating, particularly in pregnancy. The causes can be weight gain, increased fluid retention, your baby’s position and expanding uterus placing pressure on your sciatic nerve. Where yoga can benefit you is by practicing postures to relieve this pressure and correcting your postural alignment, thereby shifting your weight, the position of your baby and your uterus.
Headache and Migraine
There are certain yoga practices which help balance your endocrine (hormonal) system, one of these being downward dog. Balancing erratic hormones can help reduce the frequency of migraine. Where tension headaches are concerned, working with careful stretches for the neck and shoulders will open up the cervical (upper) spine, decreasing the tendency for pressure to build and cause the headache. Meditation and relaxation are scientifically proven yoga techniques to reduce the worry that causes stress headaches.
Hemorrhoids – varicose veins in the rectum are painful and itchy and uncomfortable.They come from straining the bowels – constipation – due to the increased progesterone in your system. Piles affect more than half of all pregnant women. By working with particular yoga postures and particularly with pranayama (yogic breathing) you can not only reduce the tendency towards constipation but also heal and reduce the hemorrhoids you may already have!
Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction
When you’re pregnant the body produces and releases a hormone called Relaxin. This is an excellent hormone as it enables your pelvic muscles to open during labour and give birth. However, it can also make our pelvic joint – the symphysis pubis – unstable. This can lead to anything from discomfort to severe pain when you open your legs and the need to wear a brace around your pelvic for the third trimester. Tricky indeed. However yoga can be adapted to be practiced with the legs together, supporting the pelvic region and enabling you perform yoga positions specifically for the chronic pain, making yoga one of the only exercises (Pilates being the other) that women with SPD can practice.
The plague of most mothers to be. And the culprit is progesterone once again! Progesterone relaxes your stomach valve. The one that keeps the acid out of your esophagus . Given that your growing uterus is also forcing acid into your stomach, you have a great recipe for heartburn. And heartburn most often affects you when you are lying down, making it quite uncomfortable to sleep. The yoga answer lies in supported postures which open the front of the body allowing the stomach to stretch out comfortably and thereby reducing the flow of acid into your esophagus and throat. In the case of heartburn these postures can be a life saver.