Pregnancy can sometimes be a devil in an angel’s disguise. It’s not always comfortable and it’s definitely not always roses and butterflies. It can be tiring, and sore, and downright frustrating. There’s hormonal changes, physical changes, and even our state of mind can be altered. I’m being nice here, let’s face it…sometimes we can be downright insane.
(Note to men…never, under any circumstances, EVER mention any of this to any pregnant lady you know or come in contact with. You’ve been warned.)
Our bodies ache, we get weird pains we never had before, we make weird noises we never made before. It gets harder to walk (waddle), it gets harder to breathe, and you lose sight of everything below your belly button. Everything…
But you also get to feel the first flutters of the baby, you hear their heartbeat, you get to watch your stomach do weird acrobats, and you get to bond with your baby for a full nine months before anyone else gets to do it.
As a doula, I’m always trying to attend different activities that revolve around pregnancy and labour so I asked Shanti Hot Yoga (Dartmouth) if I could sit in on a prenatal class. I practice yoga there anyway so I figured it would be a walk in the park considering it’s not heated. Wrong! I had no idea that prenatal yoga was actually challenging, and I’m not even pregnant!
It wasn’t a “typical” class. Obviously geared towards being pregnant, the poses focused more on strength with more use of props. A lot of hip openers, which are so beneficial for preparing for labour and delivery. Squatting is a very common for pushing so getting familiar with it can definitely make it more comfortable when you find yourself in that position (literally!). It can open your pelvic area up to an extra 2cms when pushing and can help aid in the rotation of the baby so the more squatting the merrier!
Even more of a benefit was just the overall experience. In a hectic world, you get that time to yourself *with baby* to be in the moment. No interruptions or distractions…just peaceful, strength-building, labour preparation with good dose of exercise.
The benefits of yoga carry on in to your daily life. Breathing keeps you calmer, the poses make you more relaxed, the quiet time is good for the mind and soul, and the physical benefits are endless. Plus there’s the added bonus of meeting new moms-to-be! The social aspect can be so comforting, it’s amazing how quickly you realize that your worries or concerns are shared by others. It’s definitely like a warm blanket of love and support.
Written and Contributed by student Wendy Harding