Yoga is an Indian philosophy that focuses on physical and mental health. For this purpose, various exercises are carried out that induce a constant alternation between tension and relaxation and thus establish physical and mental balance. And this is exactly what is incredibly important during pregnancy and the birth process. For this reason, special yoga courses for pregnant women have been developed.
They are aimed at expectant mothers as soon as the pregnancy becomes known, but especially at those who have passed the first trimester of pregnancy, i.e. are in a stage beyond the 12th week of pregnancy. In addition, the participating women should have a positive attitude towards the yoga principles and teachings. Knowledge of yoga is not a mandatory requirement for participating in pregnancy yoga – exercises are always offered that can be easily performed by both beginners and experts.
In this embodiment, pregnancy yoga represents a special form of birth preparation. It can be booked and attended both as a supplement to or as a replacement for the classic birth preparation course. However, the basic requirements for participation are a complication-free course of pregnancy and an adequate physical constitution of the pregnant woman.
The Objective of Pregnancy Yoga
Pregnancy yoga as an alternative or supplementary form of birth preparation is of course based on the corresponding birth preparation courses. The focus is on yoga teachings, so that in some cases considerable differences can be seen in terms of content compared to classic birth preparation. In a way peculiar to yoga, one wants to achieve the following:
- Increase in the well-being of the pregnant woman
- Assistance in coping with and accepting the new situation
- Learning to let go in order to make room for the new life
- Promotion of the spiritual well-being for a pleasant pregnancy atmosphere
- Consolidation of physical fitness for a smooth birth process
- Relief from pregnancy complaints
- Active preparation for childbirth
- Exchange with other expectant mothers
The Course Modalities of Pregnancy Yoga
Even if pregnancy yoga represents an alternative to the classic birth preparation course and is therefore equipped with similar objectives, there are some special features in the design of the pregnancy-specific yoga courses that clearly distinguish them from other training courses.
One yoga course per pregnancy, which should extend over several weeks
As soon as possible after the pregnancy has been determined, registration recommended up to the 12th week of pregnancy due to the limited number of participants
You can start at any time, even in early pregnancy. At best, wait until the 12th week of pregnancy. The best start date is around the 20th week of pregnancy
Yoga for pregnant women can be carried out until the due date
Between 60 and 90 minutes per course unit with one-course attendance per week
Pregnancy yoga is a continuous course that extends over several weeks; regular participation increases the success
Unlike most training courses on all aspects of pregnancy, pregnancy yoga is not a time-limited offer, but is implemented as ongoing courses. These are only rarely fixed groups and clearly defined dates for the beginning and the end. Instead, most pregnancy yoga courses take place continuously and enable individual entry and exit.
This is also necessary in order to be able to take full advantage of this type of preparation. After all, yoga for pregnant women can already be attended in early pregnancy and may only end with the birth. However, it is important to pay attention to a course concept that takes into account the respective stage of pregnancy and only offers suitable exercises. The 20th week of pregnancy is named as the starting recommendation.
Pregnancy yoga usually takes place once a week for 60 to 90 minutes. Courses are offered in the mornings, afternoons or evenings. Those who search intensively can even find weekend appointments. If necessary, it is possible to attend a free trial lesson. In any case, however, prior registration is requested.
Structure and Content
Yoga courses can be booked from various providers. Of course, the content also varies accordingly. But only rudimentary. After all, all of the yoga offers for pregnant women are based on typical Indian yoga teachings. Accordingly, there is content that should not be missing in any pregnancy yoga:
- Learn different breathing techniques
- Physiological posture
- Effective relaxation
- Getting to know your own body
- Perceiving body language
- Conveying a positive body feeling
- Let go
- Perception of one’s own emotions
- Learn to feel within
- Stress relief
- Stretching the pelvic floor muscles to make the labor process easier
- Physical fitness in order to be able to withstand the strains of childbirth
- Relief of pregnancy problems such as back pain, digestive problems or tiredness
In addition to these general topics, professional providers of pregnancy yoga respect the particularities of the respective stages of pregnancy and incorporate this knowledge into the design of the course content:
Pregnancy Weeks 0 to 16
Pregnancy must first consolidate, which is why excessive physical exertion is inappropriate. Instead, the focus is on a reduction in performance, forces must be spared and managed with them. The yoga exercises mainly take place while sitting, kneeling or lying down and often involve deep breathing exercises.
Pregnancy Weeks 16 to 34:
Now the pregnancy is normally stable and the first period of typical pregnancy symptoms have been overcome. The physical restraint can now confidently decrease and take its place with strength and vitality. Physical strengthening now dominates pregnancy yoga. Mobility should be promoted and the spine should be stretched to relieve it. Exercises are carried out mainly while standing and are accompanied by deep and strong breathing. With all the strengthening, however, the appropriate balance between vitality and calm is conveyed.
Pregnancy Weeks 34 to 40:
With the start of the statutory maternity protection periods, the last weeks of pregnancy are heralded. Active preparation for childbirth is now the focus of pregnancy yoga. Recognition and processing of labor on a physical and mental level are important topics. In terms of content, this phase of pregnancy yoga offers targeted breathing and relaxation and the alternation of energetic movements with rest phases. Targeted pelvic floor exercises are performed and deep breathing is trained. The birth position of the fetus is to be optimized with circular hip movements. In addition, professional pregnancy yoga dispenses with exercises with an inverted posture during this phase.
Regardless of the phase of pregnancy you are in, pregnancy yoga always combines various elements in one training session:
- Breathing exercises
- Mental training
Pregnancy Yoga – What are the Advantages?
- As a rule, entry and exit is possible at any time without waiting, as pregnancy yoga is offered as ongoing courses
- No previous yoga knowledge is required to participate in pregnancy yoga
- Pregnancy yoga is an alternative to the birth preparation course and in this context is an active birth preparation
- Pregnancy yoga alternates between exercise and relaxation
- Exercises are also taught that can be done at home
- Pregnancy yoga is a preparation for childbirth that can be carried out in all phases of pregnancy
- The various phases of pregnancy are thematically highlighted in professional courses
- Following the birth, you can continue with a general yoga course and a specialization in postnatal care.
Pregnancy Yoga – Things to Look After Before Starting
- From the 4th month of pregnancy onwards, no more inversion exercises may be done – instead, one must always carry the head higher than the heart
- Prolonged supine exercises can become uncomfortable
- Pregnancy yoga is not for pregnant women who are not physically agile
- In pregnancy yoga there is no partner event – joint birth preparation has to be dispensed with
- Theoretical pregnancy and birth issues, as well as baby care, are not part of this special form of birth preparation.
Course Provider of Pregnancy Yoga
Pregnancy yoga is becoming increasingly popular with expectant parents. Families in particular who are not expecting children for the first time often ask for an alternative form of birth preparation, as they are already familiar with the content of the classic birth preparation courses. Pregnancy yoga is a good option here. This increasing demand naturally led to the development of a corresponding offer, so that pregnancy yoga is now available in various institutions:
- Special yoga schools that also implement general yoga courses
- Midwifery practices or with freelance midwives who can demonstrate appropriate training
- Adult education centers
- Obstetric clinics with appropriate training courses
- Parent schools
- Birthing centers
Since pregnancy yoga is a specialized form of birth preparation, it is worth asking wherever general birth preparation courses are located. Depending on the regional infrastructure, however, a little research must be carried out in order to develop a corresponding offer. However, great importance should be attached to considering the stages of pregnancy.
The Cost of the Pregnancy-Specific Yoga Class
Pregnancy yoga is a special offer, which is voluntary in its participation. Therefore, in principle, it is the responsibility of the participants themselves, i.e. the pregnant women, to bear the costs. Nevertheless, the success and the positive effect of pregnancy yoga on the course of pregnancy and childbirth have meanwhile been proven and are also undisputed by health insurance companies.
It is therefore always worthwhile to submit an application to the statutory or private health insurance company or the relevant subsidy office for cost coverage or subsidy for participation in pregnancy yoga. The extent to which costs are covered is at the discretion of the respective insurer, although the subsidy can amount to up to 80% of the expenses. In most cases, however, the decision to take a certified yoga course is necessary.
Another way to keep costs down is to attend a pregnancy yoga class instead of an antenatal class. The health insurance would bear this in its costs in full, so that if you choose the yoga alternative, you can usually reimburse the costs up to the amount of the expenses for the birth preparation course. A prior application is also essential in this case.
If you pay for the course in full or in part, you can expect costs of around 8 euros per individual appointment. Complete courses cost a total of around 125 euros. If you are not yet sure whether pregnancy yoga is the right thing to do, you can often take part in a free trial lesson.
Alternative Courses to Pregnancy Yoga
Pregnancy yoga is a specialized form of birth preparation. Therefore, alternatives in this regard are also in the pre-birth framework:
- Classic birth preparation course
- Pregnant swimming
In addition, pregnancy yoga can be continued after the birth. Special rehabilitation offers are available as well as general yoga courses. In addition, pregnancy yoga must not only be viewed as a substitute for classic birth preparation, but can also complement it.