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How does prenatal yoga reduce stress?

Pregnancy is full of the unknown. If this is your first pregnancy, or your last, we know that we have to adapt fairly quickly in preparation for birth and raising a new little human. All of your other daily woes do not end just because we have a baby on-board, so our body is already high-functioning.

Stress in the pregnant body can show up in many ways. Emotionally, stress can easily spiral into the rabbit hole of anxiety. Physically, stress may show up in the joints, or hips, giving you aches and pains you can't seem to get rid of. This leaves us with a less than pleasurable experience while pregnant. That same stress can build into high blood pressure or complications during birth.

We tend to forget that what we do when we are pregnant, reaches baby down to the miniscule micro-organisms of their being. Stress does not stop at our body. When we carry stress in our head we also carry stress in our womb. Research has found that the stress you carry while pregnant could have long term neurodivergent effects on baby.

How do you counteract this domino effect? It's not like the world's stressors are just going to vanish for your 40wk gestation. On both the physical and emotional level, prenatal yoga prepares the body for what is to come. This does not just mean birth, but all stages in the development of you and baby's body.

1. Prenatal yoga puts you in the room with an expert on the prenatal body. Even if they don't everything, they should know where to point you for the answers. An informed body is a less stressed body.

2. We talked about this before, how the movements themselves for the pregnant body. Therefore the movements that you are doing in your prenatal yoga class are made to lower cortisol levels and put you in the best position for rest.

3. You find a community of people going through what you are going through. Every pregnancy is different, yes, but being in the room ( even virtually) with several other people who are also pregnant is unique to any other part of your day. Even if your friend and spouse can relate to how you feel, they are not actually carrying the weight of being pregnant, but your classmates are. Connect with them.

This not to say prenatal yoga is a fix-all for stress while pregnant, but it does give you a pretty solid toolbox to reduce the anxiety you may feeling about this major life occurrence.

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