It's already a disproven myth that pregnant women should not move a muscle. In fact, several experts and health professionals encourage preggo ladies to exercise.
If you’re looking for an exercise that you can do even when you're expecting, surely, one of the suggestions you might have gotten is prenatal yoga. Along with prenatal Pilates, walking, and swimming, yoga is one of the best exercises that pregnant women can do safely, especially if you're already hooked on it even before you conceived.
Women were previously advised to steer clear of certain yoga poses that require them to lie on their backs, such as the "happy baby pose" or "corpse pose", and inversions such as the "downward facing dog" pose as they might cause lower blood circulation for the baby. However, a new U.S. study suggests that these poses might also be safe enough for pregnant women and their babies.
In the study published in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology, researchers looked at data from 25 healthy pregnant women in their third trimester who were asked to complete a one-on-one yoga session, and found that their baby's heart rate remained the same throughout the session. The feedback was based on the stress test they took before and after the sessions, which were conducted with a certified yoga instructor and in the presence of an obstetrician-gynecologist. The women also did not notice any less fetal movement, contractions, spotting or vaginal leakage 24 hours after the sessions.
"Though this is a preliminary study, I found there were no adverse changes in maternal or fetal wellbeing in the 26 studied poses," said study lead author Rachael Polis, who conducted the research at Jersey Shore University Medical Center and is currently with Kosair Children's Hospital Gynecology Specialists in Louisville, Kentucky. Even the "happy baby pose" or "corpse pose" and the "downward facing dog" were well carried out by the women.
Since the expecting women were already close to term, about 35 to 37 weeks pregnant, they did not perform any poses that require them to lie on their stomach, hands stands or head stands, and they women were allowed to modify some poses by using blocks, chairs, or hold on to the wall for support.
Many celebrities such as Bianca Gonzalez Intal and singer Princess Velasco, to name a few, have done yoga while they were pregnant. It is a low-impact form of physical activity that helps to strengthen muscles, lubricate joints and get rid of any stiffness that pregnancy might bring.
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“Exercise makes your body happy and helps you adjust to the extra weight. Prenatal yoga is very helpful and also prepares you for your birth,” said Deborah Gustafson, missionary midwife and co-director of Shiphrah Birthing Home, in an article for Smartparenting.com.ph. Irina Otmakhova, an internationally-certified doula and hypno-doula based in Quezon City, adds that it also helps prepare a new mom's mind for childbirth.
Sources: December 28, 2015. “Pregnant Moms Don't Need To Avoid These Yoga Poses, Study Suggests” (huffingtonpost.com) November 16, 2015. “Say Yes To Down Dog: More Yoga Poses Are Safe During Pregnancy” (npr.org)