Healthy Body...Happy Baby

When I found out I was pregnant, I understood that it would be like training for a marathon and not like running a sprint. It was clear that in order for me to achieve the natural birth I wanted and to ensure a healthy body pre- and postpartum, I would have to start now - and I did, and am so grateful for it. I started off slow with small walks and hikes, and then added in my daily squats, and finally my prenatal yoga.
The prenatal yoga is what really hit the nail on the head. After a month of prenatal yoga, I felt like a completely different woman, not only physically but mentally.
Benefits/ What’s it do
As mentioned, the benefits are not just physical but also mental. The first thing I noticed was a reduction in stress & anxiety. I now felt more able to handle all the anxiety that was coming my way, from being 4000 km away from my family to being confined to my home due to a global pandemic (COVID-19) - and I was finally able to wrap my head around preparing for motherhood. Prenatal yoga really helped me to be mindful and re-taught me how to truly breathe: two techniques that will definitely come in handy during labour.
Physically I noticed an increase in my strength and flexibility, especially in my legs. Prenatal yoga is also great for all the pesky back and shoulder pain that comes with pregnancy, and there has even been evidence of it aiding Mommas experiencing nausea. Fortunate for me, I did not experience morning sickness, whether that is due to my prenatal yoga or not I don't know, but I'm happy never the less!
There have also been studies done by Université de Montréal showing that moms who exercise during pregnancy produce babies with enhanced brain development. They're not sure how long this lasts, but it's continuing to be studied. Overall, if a bit of downward dog or pigeon pose gave your little one that boost to get into Harvard, then why not!
If you're starting yoga for the first time while pregnant, don't be surprised if you feel as flexible as a Cirque du Soleil acrobat! I warn you to be mindful not to overstretch, because this feeling of flexibility is due to something called Relaxin. Relaxin is a hormone produced by the ovaries and placenta. It plays an important role in preparing your body for childbirth by relaxing the ligaments in the pelvis, and softening and widening the cervix. So again, be mindful to not overstretch as this can lead to injuries instead of benefits.
When to start
How about right now!
Don't ever be discouraged or think that it's too late - anytime is a great time to start, all it can do is benefit you!
Most Mommas will wait until their second trimester, when the nausea and morning sickness has usually subsided, and the energy level has recovered from the first trimester. The HSE recommends 30 mins a day, 5 times a week. For those who never exercised prior to pregnancy, it's best to start off slow and gradual - remember it's a marathon, not a sprint.
Your body is designed to grow that little baby of yours and it’s a tiring job to do, so there will be days when your body is going to ask to just chill for the day and that’s ok! Don't ever force yourself.
My favourite App
Down Dog is a fantastic app that creates a new session for you every time! Its like having your own private session. Its a great app that allows you to customise the session to focus on common pregnancy areas such as nausea, breathing, pelvic floor and so much more. It is a paid app but it's worth it, however if you hurry its free till June 1st so why not give it a trial run.
There are nothing but benefits and rewards linked to prenatal yoga (or any form of exercise) during your pregnancy. Of course, remember to always consult your GP first, to stay hydrated and listen to your body.
Most of all, enjoy this time, as it's the closest you'll ever be to your baby.
Get that body moving. A healthy body & a healthy mind brings a happy baby.
Namaste & Start Living Simpl Today,
Nadine & the Simpl Team

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