Yoga for Moms-To-Be: What's It All About?

Katie Mcmoran

Brian Tomlinson/Creative Commons
Brian Tomlinson/Creative Commons

When the big day for baby’s arrival comes, mom’s job is to dilate and baby’s job is to rotate. If there’s not enough room for baby to move, how can he or she get out?! In yoga, we create space – in body and mind – by linking movement with breath, and in doing so, we learn to listen to our body’s needs – and our baby’s needs.

Women in prenatal yoga have a special opportunity to practice listening. With listening comes wisdom. This wisdom is the “mom instinct” that people talk about: to know exactly what your baby needs before he or she can speak, to know if your child has been hurt even when you’re somewhere else. Prenatal yoga is a perfect place to connect to this wisdom prior to your baby’s birth so you have a strong bond when he or she comes into the world for better communication.

Nuts and Bolts About Class

Class Outline: Quiet-the-mind time, introduction, warm-up, challenge, stretch, and rest

Stages of Pregnancy: All stages of pregnancy welcome.

Yoga Experience: All levels of yoga experience are welcome. Already a yogini (a regular yoga-going mama?) Great! There’s something special about a prenatal class that is absent in a regular yoga class: the power in sisterhood. This class builds positivity and support for each other on this super special and life-changing journey.

Birthing Preferences: All birthing preferences welcome. Prenatal yoga builds the body to be strong during labor and post-birth regardless of the type of birth you have. All five of the moms who attended the class once a week last summer and fall delivered happy, healthy babies naturally.

Perks to Prenatal Yoga

Stamina and Strength. You’ve heard about some labors that are super long and some that are 2 hours and out. You want the shorter version. As you increase your overall strength and belly strength, your uterus muscle also strengthens. It needs practice to build strength for a marathon to help push baby out!

More Room for Baby and Breathing. We need to balance strength with the ability to relax, specifically in our pelvic floor. Can’t relax? Baby can’t come out. So, we tune in to the baby canal space and practice releasing it before labor arrives. We also use yoga moves in safe ways to create more space in the belly for baby and in mom’s rib cage for easier mama breathing as baby gets bigger.

Balance. Especially during the winter, you want to feel solid on your feet in an ever-changing body. Yoga strengthens all the muscles around your hips and core. Plus, we practice standing on one foot so you can feel secure on your feet treading the icy drives and walkways.  

Sleep Soundly. Sleep is often hard for moms because of aches and pains and nonstop thoughts. Yoga helps decrease women’s calf cramps and back pain while helping them let go of the never-ending circular thoughts.

Bond with Baby. We live in such a busy environment. Work requires our mind and effort to be focused on tasks or people other than baby. When we slow down in class and connect (or attempt to connect) with baby, we’re more likely to know what baby needs during birth to come on down the canal and what he or she needs as a crying newborn.

Confidence. Decisions pop up in labor that you may not have considered, and usually fast. Yoga breathing calms the mind to make solid, confident decisions. We explore using sighs, “oms” and “horse lip” sounds so you’ll feel stronger in stating your needs and desires at any given moment.

Improve Moods. Exercise is shown to reduce stress. Yoga is a form of exercise for the physical body. It also moves your energy … yes, energy! The breath helps move out the junk and open channels in the body so you leave feeling more emotionally stable, ready to tackle the next pregnancy hurdle – what you really need to buy for this baby, or the energy to make it through your next full day at work or home with your crazy active toddler!

Prenatal Yoga Take-Aways

1. Leave class feeling uplifted in mind, body, and spirit.

2. Benefit from finding balance between relaxation and strength.

3. Feel greater confidence with decision-making and the birthing process.

4. Meet other mamas in your community for possible future play dates