Breathing Exercises And Yoga For A Better Pregnancy
- 10 Mins Read
- Written by: Team Good Health By Yourself
- Doctors recommend exercise during pregnancy.
- Breathing exercises are a great way to relax during pregnancy.
- Pranayama can soothe the mind, help you refocus your energy, and even help you prepare physiologically and psychologically for labor.
- Breathing exercises can reduce the risk of complications during pregnancy like pregnancy-induced hypertension, intrauterine growth retardation, and pre-term delivery.
- Including yoga, breathing exercises, and meditation in one’s pregnancy routine is a great way to stay healthy and have a safe pregnancy.
We often hear doctors talking about the importance of breathing exercises for pregnancy. But is exercising during pregnancy really necessary? Experts have suggested that getting in the benefits of exercise during pregnancy is a must. It needn’t be heavy exercises like weight lifting, running, or biking. You can include a light workout routine like going for a walk, doing yoga, performing Tai-chi, Qui gong, and so on.
Breathing exercises during pregnancy are a great way to relax. Along with being a good workout, they bring peace and balance to the mind and body.
Here is what science has to say about breathing exercises.
Here’s what science has to say!
Breathing exercises or Pranayam during pregnancy is a multi-dimensional physical, mental, and emotional preparation to face the challenges faced by a pregnant woman. The challenges of pregnancy can be managed by the skills of yoga and breathing exercises. This is a skill to calm down the mind and prepare the body for pregnancy.
Pregnancy in a woman is a time in which a woman changes from the inside as well as outside. These changes create obstacles or hurdles in the normal life of a pregnant woman and yoga pranayam during pregnancy can help the woman cruise through these changes and challenges efficiently.
Practicing yoga and breathing exercises during pregnancy provides a wide range of activities and benefits to the fetus and mother in a variety of ways. Pranayam can soothe the mind, help you refocus your energy, and even help you prepare physiologically and psychologically for labor.
Different breathing techniques are known to impart great neural and muscular control that can help in coordinated relaxation and contraction of the uterus. Different types of asanas or postures are described in the Ayurvedic texts and Yoga darshan texts. These texts show which asanas and exercises can be performed by pregnant women as they consume less energy and provide greater benefits.
Several published articles and studies with references have been considered to support the effect of breathing exercises and yoga in pregnancy. Yoga practice includes physical postures and breathing techniques that can minimize the complication of pregnancy, like pregnancy-induced hypertension, intrauterine growth retardation, pre-term delivery, etc.
Western exercises like gym workouts bring about what is known as phase contraction of muscles while yogic exercises create a static contraction which maintains a muscle even under tension without causing repeated motions. Yoga along with breathing exercises during pregnancy can improve birth weight; decrease pre-term labor, and decrease IUGR with least or no complications.
The benefits of breathing exercises and yoga
The benefits of breathing exercises during pregnancy and yoga are often talked about. Read on to learn the numerous benefits that a pregnant lady can reap with these exercises.
Breathing exercises and Yoga provide a wide range of activities to the fetus inside the mother’s womb. It is also a great way to exercise and relax for the mother. These exercises have the power to soothe the mind, refocus the energy, and even prepare the woman psychologically for labor. Various asanas create more space in the pelvis which eases the expulsion of the fetus.
Several yoga poses can assist or speed up the process of labor by relieving tension around the cervix and the birth canal. It can also help in postpartum recovery after the delivery as well. Different breathing techniques can help in relaxing the body muscles, calming the mind, and increasing respiratory wellness.
Proper prenatal preparation with yoga and dhyana, that is meditation can help the majority of women undergo labor with ease and without any complications. Including yoga, breathing exercises, and meditation in one’s pregnancy routine adopted through credible health information is a great way to stay healthy and have a safe pregnancy.
Benefits of breathing exercises during pregnancy
- Boosts the circulation throughout the body. This is great for both, the mother and her baby.
- Improves the oxygen level of blood. This helps the fetus receives more oxygenated blood.
- Improves the functionality of internal organs.
- Helps your body to get rid of waste effectively.
- Helps your mind and body relax and reduce stress.
- Helps relieve anxiety
- Improves the quality of sleep.
There’s evidence that breathing and relaxation techniques may help you to cope better during labor by calming you and distracting you from pain.
Learning how to breathe deeply will help to prepare you for giving birth. it can help in mastering the relaxing when you most need to.
Your body produces increasing amounts of adrenaline when you’re afraid, which can prevent the production of oxytocin, a hormone that helps labor along. Deep breathing in labor can help you fight the urge to panic when you feel the pain of contractions. Keeping your body relaxed means you can save your energy for when it is needed.
Here Are 15 Breathing Exercises That Can Help!
You can reap the benefits of yoga and breathing exercises only when you meticulously practice them daily. Here are some useful pregnancy breathing techniques with easy-to-follow instructions for you to follow.
1. Anulom vilom pranayama (Alternate nostril breathing)
- Sit in a lotus pose with your legs crossed and keep your back straight.
- Block your right nostril with your right thumb and inhale deeply through your left nostril.
- Once your lungs are full of air, block your left nostril with your right hand’s central finger and exhale through your right nostril.
- Repeat this process for 5-10 minutes.
This is alternate nostril breathing and it can help you and your baby get oxygen-rich air. It is effective in reducing muscle and joint pain that a pregnant woman experiences.
2. Sama vritti (Equal breathing)
- Sit comfortably while breathing in and out through your nose.
- Count during each inhale and exhale and make sure they are equal in number.
- You can also use a phrase or word to repeat during each inhale and exhale.
- Try to breathe as naturally as possible and take pauses if needed.
- Practice for 5 minutes.
Sama vritti breathing helps you equal your breath such that it brings your mind and body the balance that is needed during anxious pregnancy days.
3. Sheetkari pranayama (Hissing breath)
- Sit in a calm, meditative pose with your hands on your thighs.
- Lift your tongue, touch your tongue to the roof of your mouth.
- Now join your upper and lower jaw such that your teeth are together but the lips are apart.
- In this position, inhale through your mouth and swallow the cool air and exhale through your nose. Repeat 15-20 times.
Hissing pranayam can reduce anxiety during pregnancy and cool down the body by regularizing heat.
4. Diaphragmatic breathing
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and your head on a pillow
- Place one hand on your chest and the other on your diaphragm (under your chest)
- Feel the rhythmic movement of your breath as your body moves up and down.
- Inhale through your nose feeling your stomach sink, And exhale through your mouth with pursed lips.
- Keep your hands firmly on your body and feel the movement.
- Practice for 5-10 minutes
- This technique can help you use your diaphragm properly, training with this technique might be helpful during labor.
5. Sheetali pranayama (Cooling breath)
- Sit comfortably with your legs folded or in the Vajrayana pose.
- Rest your hands on your thighs and fold your tongue forming a vent.
- Breathe deeply through this vent.
- Once you are done inhaling with your folded tongue, touch your tongue to the roof of your mouth to feel the coolness while swallowing the air.
- Repeat 15-20 times.
Sheetali pranayama is known to cool the body and mind while regulating the body heat during pregnancy.
6. Resonant or coherent breathing
- Sit in a comfortable position
- Inhale for a count of 5
- Exhale for a count of 5
- Continue this breathing pattern for 5-10 minutes.
This breathing technique helps you to get rid of more air from the lungs and fill it with oxygen-rich air that can help better circulation for the mother and the child.
It helps in establishing balance and peace in the body.
7. Udgeeth pranayama (Deep and rhythmic chant)
- Find a comfortable spot and sit with your legs folded.
- Close your eyes and place your hands on your thighs while connecting the index finger to your thumb.
- Now close your eyes and take a deep breath filling your lungs.
- Exhale while chanting the word Om through your mouth.
- Repeat 15-20 times.
Deep breathing Udgeeth pranayam is known to reduce anxiety, balance emotion, and calm the body and mind during pregnancy.
8. Breath focus technique
- Lie down comfortably in a cool spot.
- Pay attention to your breathing as it is without changing anything about your breathing.
- Alternate between deep breathing and shallow breathing and make a note of how it feels.
- Place your hand below your belly button and feel it rise and fall. Inhale deeply and practice some deep breathing.
- Exhale with a loud sign from your mouth.
- Imagine beautiful scenery, positive things, outer space, or just visualize the air going in and out of your system.
- Focus on inhaling peace and exhaling tension.
- Practice for about 10 minutes.
This technique can help in calming the mind and body and reducing the rampant negative thoughts.
9. Ujjayi pranayama (Ocean sound breath)
- Sit comfortably with your legs folded.
- Inhaling and exhaling in this exercise are done through the nose.
- Breathe in through both the nostrils, and constrict your throat muscles once inhaling is done and hold for a moment.
- Now exhale while making a “ha” sound from your throat through your nostrils.
This breathing exercise calms the mind and is recommended during pregnancy.
10. Deep breathing
- Stand or sit in a comfortable position while drawing your elbows backward to open your chest.
- Deeply inhale through your nose and hold your breath for a count of 5.
- Slowly release your breath and repeat for 5-10 minutes.
Deep breathing can be used to channel your energy towards positive things during pregnancy.
11. Simhasana (Lion’s breath)
- Sit in the Vajrayana pose and keep your distance between your knees.
- Place the palms of your hands on the ground right in front of you between your legs such that the fingers of your hands should point backward.
- Keep your spine flexible and inhale deeply with your nose,
- Now draw your tongue out as much as you can and exhale forcefully roaring.
- Hold this pose and repeat 4-5 times.
A great breathing exercise for pregnancy that can help in getting rid of heat and toxins in your body.
12. Lamaze breathing
- Breathe slowly and deeply
- Make sure your breathing is rhythmic
- You can either breathe through your mouth or nose. Try to follow a rhythm and feel it.
- You can either close your eyes and imagine positive things or keep them open and focus on an object.
- The goal is to relax and feel balanced.
Lamaze breathing can help you get through labor and even help you feel relaxed in stressful situations.
13. Simple breathing exercise
- Sit comfortably and relax.
- Inhale deeply through your nose
- Now exhale slowly through your pursed lips making a wooshing sound
- Notice your stomach goes in and out as you inhale and exhale.
- Repeat for 10 minutes.
This technique can help you relax and even help during labor to push the baby out.
14. Bhramari pranayama (humming bee breath)
Sit comfortably in the lotus position.
Use the thumbs of your hands to block the earlids of your ears, place your index fingers above your eyebrows and your remaining 3 fingers on your eyes.
Concentrate on your mind.
Inhale filling your lungs with air, now while exhaling chant the word Om and feel the ringing in your body.
Repeat 4-5 times.
Bhramari pranayam helps in improving concentration and calming the body and mind. It can help in balancing hormones during pregnancy.
15. Mindful breathing
- Sit in a comfortable spot
- Close your eyes
- Focus on your body inhaling and exhaling and feel its rhythmic movement.
- Let the thoughts in your head flow, let them pass without judgment.
This technique can help in being more mindful during pregnancy.
Try out these breathing exercises for pregnancy and labor safely and without losing your mind.
The benefits of breathing exercise during pregnancy have been spoken of since ancient times. These exercises not only benefit the body but also help the mind. During pregnancy the need to calm the body and mind is high. Practicing these exercises has been advised by scientific professionals for their calming and relaxing effects.
Being mindful of how these breathing exercises help you and your baby can motivate your to practice them regularly. The benefits of these exercises can be experienced by practicing them regularly. Following the steps correctly and being mindful of your body can help you connect with your baby.
So breathe in and start your journey of breathing exercises, yoga, and mindfulness for a calmer and relaxed pregnancy.
Keep reading to know about the benefits of physical activity in your life!