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Prenatal Yoga Benefits

by Elise Bowerman

Ultimate Preparation for Labor & Birth

Outside of the endless benefits of yoga, a prenatal yoga class is the perfect place to begin yoga or learn how to incorporate your growing belly into a regular yoga practice. 

A Prenatal Yoga practice is more of work-in than a work-out. There's plenty of opportunities to get your work-out on elsewhere. Now is the time to welcome self-reflection, self-realization and connect to you inner self or higher power (according to your belief system.)

Physical Benefits

Prevents and relieves physical discomfort by mobilizing and improving posture. 

Prepares for birthing through strengthening and grounding postures (asanas.) These increase endurance and resilience, allowing the body to move organically. (Which is essential to be able to maintain stamina and commitment.) Cultivates relaxation through visualization and breathing exercises (pranayama.)

Aids in postpartum repair by maintaining and/or improving physical fitness level throughout pregnancy and practicing pelvic floor exercises (mula bandha.)

Increases circulation of energy flow (i.e. blood flow, prana, etc.)

Emotional and Spiritual Benefits

Relieves stress.

Confidence is gained in the miraculous, developing body.

Nurtures an acceptance and connection with baby.

Develop trust in self, baby and process of birth by tapping into "primal" self and intuition.

Receive support, have fun and let go while creating a connection with other like-minded people (a kula/community of parents-to-be.) 

"A relaxed state does not necessarily require a
soft and floppy body:
it is more centered on peace of mind,
acceptance of natural processes and
a willingness to embrace all that labour may offer."

- Andrea Robertson, Childbirth Educator & Author

Postures (Asanas) to Avoid

Anything lying on belly (lying on baby!)

Strong abdominal activation (working with rectus abdominus) (i.e. breath of fire, etc.)

Deep twisting from navel down - upper back/shoulder rotation is OK.

Deep forward bends without space for baby (always create space for baby.)

Deep back-bends.

Inversions (unless it is part of your practice prior to baby, or for therapeutic benefit.)

Prenatal Yoga Teacher Relationship

Your Prenatal Yoga teacher will be the most unchanging and frequent supporter you see in pregnancy; likely, even more than your healthcare provider or any other birth worker. 

On average, expecting people visit their healthcare provider (OB/GYN or midwife) for a total of 17 times during the pregnancy. If they invest in childbirth education courses they may see their instructor between one to 12 times. 

When joining Prenatal Yoga after the first trimester continuing until the estimated due date, or beyond, you will see your teacher about 28 times! The classes are 75 minutes in length, offering 35 hours with a consistent pregnancy and childbirth advocate.

Class size is usually between 8-12 students, providing each participant ample opportunity to bond with the teacher, and more importantly, with one another.

Some will attend Prenatal Yoga multiple times a week!

Prenatal Yoga teachers offer support for those navigating their way through pregnancy, preparing for childbirth and bringing baby home. There is no agenda to enforce what works for one person to work for another. The time together is about normalizing this organic experience with encouragement that everyone is capable of handling whatever comes their way.

Building self-confidence and acceptance for however this journey may go is the highest priority.

Research/Studies of Prenatal Yoga

Mindfulness During Pregnancy Linked to Healthier Birth Weight in Newborns, 2017

Yoga during pregnancy: The effects on labor pain and delivery outcomes, 2016

Yoga in Pregnancy: An Examination of Maternal and Fetal Responses to 26 Yoga Postures, 2015

Studies Show Consistent Benefits of Prenatal Yoga

Systematic Review of Yoga for Pregnant Women: Current Status and Future Directions, 2012

Yoga may help expectant mums cope with depression, 2012

I am a prenatal chiropractor and have worked closely with Elise and many of her prenatal yoga students in the past 2 years. I consistently find that the women under my care that are also attending regular prenatal yoga classes with Elise experience less discomfort in their pregnancy, report stronger emotional connections to their bodies, and they consistently state they feel better prepared for labor and delivery. If you are looking for a way to safely exercise but also want a beautiful way to connect with your body prior to delivery seek out classes with Sweet Momma Yoga. Lastly, Elise goes above and beyond to create a sense of community for her students. She has created a thriving group of moms that support one another outside of the classes and virtually. - Kelsi McClure, DC, Lone Tree CO
I’ve participated in Sweet Momma Yoga during both of my pregnancies and have benefited each time. Even on days when I feel tired and just wanted to put my feet up, I always felt better after class knowing that I am taking the best care of myself and my baby. Elise does an amazing job of making all of the moms feel welcome and comfortable no matter what previous yoga experience they’ve had. I got more out of Sweet Momma Yoga than I ever expected, benefiting both my pregnancy and birthing experiences. I would recommend to any expecting momma! - Deidre L., Livonia MI