Published on Feb 06, 2023 - 4 min read
Practicing yoga in the third trimester of pregnancy is one of the best ways to prepare the body for childbirth. Read the article to know more.
A traditional practice, yoga has Indian roots and is becoming popular as a health practice for a range of immunological, neuromuscular, psychiatric, and pain disorders. It is a comprehensive system that incorporates physical postures (asana), breathing exercises (Pranayama), concentration and meditation (Dharana and Dhyana), and contemplative practice. It is a great form of exercise for pregnant women as it has the potential to create balance along emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual dimensions.
Pregnancy is usually divided into three parts, with each part consisting of three months. Therefore, the third trimester refers to the last three months of pregnancy. It can range from nine to 13 weeks. It starts from the 29th week of pregnancy and ends at 40 weeks (can also vary, depending on the date of the delivery).
The third trimester is a delicate stage and crucial stage involving all kinds of changes - emotional, physical, and psychological. The baby bump reaches its peak size, and women tend to gain additional weight. They also experience other symptoms such as:
Nausea, especially in the case of twins and multiples.
Severe body aches, especially at the back, shoulder, and feet.
Decreased bladder control.
Lack of sleep.
Heartburn or acid reflux.
Joint pain, especially at the knees.
Yoga can be safely practiced throughout the pregnancy, irrespective of the trimester. The third trimester is the most important time of pregnancy, wherein the baby grows to its full potential before its birth. This leads to many psychological and physical changes in the mother's body, which can be easily managed with the practice of yoga.
Yoga is a wonderful technique for stretching and strengthening the core for women in the third trimester of pregnancy. It is a safe and relaxing form of exercise that helps expectant mothers to unwind and destress. It has the following benefits as well:
Enhances the health of the mother and the unborn child.
Allows pregnant women to meet their emotional, mental, and physical demands of the body in the healthiest manner.
Keeps the body and mind healthy.
Breathing exercises help prepare the body for childbirth.
Promotes efficient blood circulation in the entire body.
Helps reduce stiffness and cramps and ensures that the joints are healthy.
Decreases fatigue and body aches.
Prepares the body for the rigors associated with labor.
Prepare the pelvic floor and muscles for childbirth.
Strengthen and tone muscles for childbirth.
There are various yoga poses and exercises from which women in the third trimester of pregnancy can benefit. A few of them include the following:
Full Shoulder Rotation - Poorna Skandh Sanchalana: As the name suggests, this exercise helps improve the flexibility of the shoulders and the upper region of the back. Additionally, it also enhances blood circulation and the function of the mammary glands. For this exercise, women should fold their hands, with palms toward the chest, and place fingers on the shoulder, following which, they should move the shoulders in small circular movements as if they are drawing circles in the air. After performing this exercise five times in the clockwise direction, they should repeat the same exercise an additional five times but in the anticlockwise direction.
Ankle Rotation: This exercise helps relieve tension and swelling from the feet, which occur due to excessive water tension, weight gain, and cramps. In this exercise, women are expected to bend the left leg up and place it against the right leg by bending the knee. By holding the right foot with the left hand, slow and gentle movements should be made in such a way that the ankles make circles in the air. The rotations should be repeated ten times by either foot.
Half Bound Angle Pose - Ardha Baddha Konasana: This exercise helps stimulate the heart and improves blood circulation across the body. It also tones the muscles of the hips, thighs, pelvis, and lower back. For this exercise, women should sit comfortably on the floor with their backs straight. They should stretch the right leg out and fold the other leg inward. With every inhalation, raise both hands up, parallel to the ears and head, and slowly bend forwards as much as possible. Then, slowly with every exhalation, they should return to the original position. This exercise should be practiced at least ten times on either side.
Palm Tree Pose - Tadasana: It helps strengthen the spine and releases all the tension surrounding it. It also helps improve mental and physical balance. For this exercise, women should stand upright, placing their feet together and placing their arms by their sides. Then slowly inhale, raise hands over the head, and let both palms contact each other, allowing fingers to interlock. With every exhalation, hands should be placed over the head. In the next breath, both hands, the chest, and shoulders should be stretched upwards, allowing the entire body to stretch, and then place hands at the top of the head again. This should be repeated for five to ten rounds with short breaks of a few seconds between each round.
Women should be cautious while practicing yoga during the third trimester of pregnancy. They should also take the following measures:
Avoid all poses which involve twists and turns.
Maintain good hydration levels.
Practice under a certified trainer to minimize risks.
Avoid exertion and take a slower pace in the final trimester.
Immediately stop practicing in the event of unexplained pain and bleeding.
Yoga is an extremely beneficial practice for pregnant women. It helps in the development of the mother and baby. It also helps in preparing the mother's body to face the rigors and challenges associated with childbirth. A strong pelvic floor helps the process of childbirth. Women should not exert themselves and practice only as much as the body allows them to. It is also essential to practice under a certified trainer so that the chances of accidents are reduced.
Last reviewed at:
06 Feb 2023 - 4 min read
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