A balanced diet, regular exercise, and leading a stress-free life can help achieve a healthy pregnancy. In addition, some pregnant women try practicing pranayama during pregnancy to stay calm and composed. Pranayama is a component of yoga that focuses on breath control (1). It has many health benefits for expecting mothers, including increased oxygen flow in the body (2).
Read this post to learn more about the benefits of pranayama during pregnancy, how to get the best out of pranayama sessions, and some cautions to observe while practicing pranayama in pregnancy.
Why Pranayama During Pregnancy?
‘Pranayama’ is the art of yogic breathing or controlled breathing. It stresses on conscious inhalation of oxygen and exhalation of carbon dioxide. Pranayama increases oxygen supply in the body. This is most crucial during pregnancy as an improved oxygen supply aids in the healthy development of your baby (2). The correct balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide through conscious breathing makes your lungs stronger and blood pure. This helps in the healthy functioning of your body so that you can take optimum care of your baby.
While pranayama is highly recommended, it is extremely important to first check about the same with your doctor. Only after your doctor gives you the go-ahead should you practice any kind of exercise.
5 Benefits Of Pranayama For Expectant Moms
- Pranayama increases the flow of oxygen in the body and removes carbon dioxide. This helps to detoxify your system internally.
- Pranayama during pregnancy is known to release positive hormones. These eliminate negative thoughts and bring the mind to a calm and relaxed state (2). This is very important for would be moms and the growing baby inside.
- Yoga breathing techniques, such as pranayama, makes the expectant mother conscious of controlled breathing. It is proven to aid in normal delivery through steady breathing, thus providing for less painful contractions (3).
- Pranayama increases the flow of oxygen. This in turn increases blood circulation throughout the mother’s and baby’s body.
- Effective pranayama sessions help in removal of toxins from the body and is one of the most widely used detoxification techniques (4).
Getting The Best Out Of Your Pranayama Session During Pregnancy
1. Practice Under A Certified Teacher:
There is a lot of information and pranayama videos available online, but nothing can substitute a good teacher especially during pregnancy. Practicing under a good teacher ensures that you exercise right and get the best benefits from your workout. Also, a good teacher will guide you in the right way, telling you about the pranayamas that are good for you and the ones you should avoid during pregnancy.
2. Listen To Your Body:
During pregnancy your body may not feel the same every day. It is very important to listen to your body. On days when you experience exhaustion or dizziness, you must not exert yourself with pranayama as it may have adverse effects on you and your baby’s health. Also, during pranayama certain breathing techniques may cause some reactions in your body. In case you experience any discomfort stop immediately.
3. Choosing The Right Environment:
To get the best benefits of pranayama, it is ideal to practice in a clean and open atmosphere where air flow is free and not restricted. Avoid cluttered rooms, with distractions like television and phones to achieve maximum benefit from your pranayama session.
4. Timing And Meal Gap:
It is recommended to have a meal gap of about 3-4 hours before practicing pranayama. It is ideal to practice pranayama in the early morning hours as your mind and body will be fresh. Also the environment is a lot cleaner and pollution free during mornings.
5. Support And Posture:
While practicing pranayama, always remember to take required support so as to not strain your body. Maintain a correct asana posture to avoid muscular catch and backaches.
Caution To Exercise While Practicing Pranayama During Pregnancy
- Avoid pranayama asanas like Kapalabharati during pregnancy as it involves giving jerks to your stomach which is certainly not safe for your baby (5).
- During pregnancy one must avoid holding the breath for a long time as it builds up tension and strains the body of the mother and the baby.
- Avoid pranayama or any form of exercise immediately after a meal.
- Avoid pranayamas like Surya Nadi and Bhastrika which are known to generate heat in the body and are not recommended during pregnancy.
Pranayama during pregnancy could provide a lot of benefits to the mom-to-be and her baby. This yogic breathing technique helps improve oxygen flow, manage stress, and detox your body. To reap the maximum benefits of pranayama, you may practice it under expert guidance in a calm environment. It is best to avoid certain pranayamas such as Kapalabhati to avoid any risks during pregnancy. However, you must consult your gynecologist or obstetricians before practicing pranayama and yoga. In case you experience any discomfort, you must seek immediate medical care.
- Rajni Goyal et al. (2014). Effect of pranayama on rate pressure product in mild hypertensives.
- Prenatal yoga for women during pregnancy.
- Yoga in pregnancy.
- 12 most significant health benefits of pranayama.
- Yoga in the first trimester.