Breathing for you and your baby
is something which is an involuntary action. You do not need to
pay attention to your breathing as it will happen anyway. When you are
however it will be more important to pay attention to your breathing.
When you are pregnant, you are breathing to get enough oxygen for you and
your baby. As you progress, breathing become snore difficult as your baby grows
larger and needs more oxygen, and it will also start to press against the vital organs for breathing. You will also need lots of help
breathing for labor.
It is best to start early. Breathe slowly and take deep breaths at least once
every day. Doing this for ten to fifteen minutes is a very good practice. As you
move forward in your pregnancy, you can work this into your
Many of the yoga routines designed are
lively, invigorating, almost dance-like. They get your breathing and circulation
working optimally and the vigorous arm movements and upward
stretches, plus deep
breathing, help blood circulate through the abdominal organs and bring fresh,
nourishing blood to your baby via the placenta.
As the body's balance changes with enlargement of abdomen, it is important to take your centre of gravity downward, while keeping your
spine stretched up and your
chest open. This upright, graceful stance will make
you feel elegant and confident and also allows more space to be created around
the diaphragm, which needs to find room to contract downward so that you are
able to breathe really deeply and fully.
Yogic Exercises for stretching
This exercise really focuses on
upper body stretches to open the chest and
loosen the shoulders. The movements wake up the whole of the upper spine and
dissolve tightness in the neck, shoulders and arms - this is particularly
helpful if you spend a lot of time sitting at a desk or driving a car. These
movements also create more space in the
abdomen, so that your digestive system
has room to function and your baby has room to grow.
Sit with knees a comfortable width apart and feet firmly planted on the floor.
Tuck your coccyx under so that your
pelvis is level - imagine that the pelvis is
a bowl of water and you don't want to spill any of it. Stretch up through your
spine from the base to the crown, with your neck long and shoulders relaxed and
down. Breathe in deeply to open and lift the chest. Hold the lift as you breathe
out, drawing your shoulder blades together with arms relaxed and then pushing
the palms down toward the floor with fingers spread wide, to end with straight
arms. Repeat, pushing down against imaginary resistance with each breath out and
relaxing your hands as you breathe in.
Repeat, but this time start with your elbows bent and hands pointing up as you
breathe in - this is so that you create a greater push downward as you breathe
out. Make your movements graceful and rhythmical, rather like a seated dance.
Then, on each breath out, push strongly away from you to the sides, with your
palms at shoulder level (the picture shows mid-push; you finish the push with
straight arms). Engage the muscles around your spine and the back of your waist
as you push. Relax as you breathe in. Repeat rhythmically.
On an out breath, stretch your palms to the sides with arms raised as high as
you can, engaging your upper arms and
back muscles. Finally, repeat the arm
movements in reverse order, moving down until your arms are beside you. Repeat
the whole sequence several times.
Swing high, swing low
This movement should be done rhythmically and with enthusiasm. It loosens up all
the joints from your heels to your fingertips and blows away the cobwebs from
Stand with feet comfortably apart and knees well bent, and rotate your upper
body from side to side, making sure your arms are loose and relaxed. Keep your
spine upright, your hips and legs steady and your centre of gravity low.
Now stretch your arms right up to the right and clap your hands. Then sink
into the previous position before stretching up to the left to clap your hands.
Keep breathing deeply and vigorously as you alternately sink and relax then
stretch to each side in turn.
Getting your legs, rather than your lower back, to support your increasing
weight and bulk is probably the most important postural adjustment that you can
make during your pregnancy because it will save you from
backache. Your womb is
situated in the lower abdomen, which is held in place by the spine at the back,
the pelvic girdle below and the hips on each side, so it has nowhere to expand
as your baby grows except upward and forward. Any upward growth is constrained
by your digestive organs and diaphragm, so most of the bulk has to move forward.
This extra weight should flow downward through strong and well-toned legs,
restoring your vital balance and centre of gravity.
Stand with legs a comfortable width apart, feet firmly planted and knees
loose. Stretch your spine upwards, taking your weight downwards through your
legs. Press your palms together at throat height with elbows out to the sides.
Breathe in and expand the lungs at the back by opening your back ribs more.
As you breathe out stretch your arms forward and bend deeply at the knees.
Hold a moment, then breathe in again. Repeat often.
Pregnancy is a crucial period for women. Consult your doctor before beginning an
exercise program, because your doctor needs to assess your fitness in relation
to your pregnancy. Exercise during pregnancy, is beneficial, both
physically and emotionally. During pregnancy, women encounter a lot of problems,
varicose veins, insomnia, fatigue etc. and these may
be alleviated by exercise. If you exercise during pregnancy, you will have a
better posture, your circulation improves, your backaches are reduced, and you
have a general sense of well-being. Only a well-balanced
exercise program will
offer you these benefits. It's definitely good for your baby too.