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I’m Finally Confident in My Pregnant Body

Women doing prenatal yoga
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When I first found out I was pregnant, I knew there was one thing I absolutely had to do. It wasn’t decorate a nursery or buy baby clothes.

It was sign up for prenatal yoga.

I knew it was something I wanted to make a priority during my pregnancy. Something I wanted to be selfish about and dictate time for myself to for one little hour a week.

So often in pregnancy we hear the list of things we’re not supposed to do. It can seem overwhelming and it made me feel like I was supposed to be broken. But I wasn’t broken or injured or weakened, I was simply pregnant.

There’s a difference in being smart about your actions and not doing anything at all, especially when it comes to physical activity. Even though I knew exercise was safe during pregnancy, I started to lose my confidence in what I was capable of doing because I received so many negative messages from doctors, books, and other people.

I knew I needed something that would make feel that I was simply in a different stage of life, not disabled or hindered. That’s where prenatal yoga came in.

The first class I took, I assumed I would just stop in one time, learn some safe modifications and exercises, then jump back into my normal yet newly modified gym schedule. I’m not a big fan of yoga personally, but I new a class designed for pregnant women was just the stepping stone I needed.

My expectations were wildly wrong.

The prenatal yoga classes I ended up in were everything I never expected. The least they were was a workout — they’re not technically advanced or require any great skill — and unless class ends with a long series of squats, I rarely break a sweat. But I quickly learned they were so much more valuable than a simple workout.

I got particularly lucky with my classes, as the instructor is not only a yogi but a former labor and delivery nurse, so she knows a thing or two about childbirth. At the beginning of each class she reads a birth story from a former student. Some are sweet tales of easy, quick, and calm births, while others are stories you’d rather not hear, but really need to — ones where nothing goes as planned. The anecdotal side notes the yoga instructor ad libs are more of a learning experience than any of the thousands of pages of childbirth books I’ve read.

While the classes aren’t extremely intense, there’s no being babied — women 42 weeks pregnant are in there doing downward dogs, warriors, and squats just like any non-pregnant woman. The class reinforces that pregnancy and childbirth is a completely normal, natural process.

There’s something empowering and comforting about being in a room full of pregnant women that are focused on maintaining a normal life and doing what’s best for themselves and their baby. Not to mention the stretching and relaxing does wonders for the aches and discomforts that come uninvited with pregnancy.

The classes restored my original attitude that I could still do just about anything — I just happened to also be pregnant. I came to the realization that yoga and childbirth overlap more than I’d like.

Training your muscles to hold poses is like training for labor.

Learning to deal with the pain and discomfort of a pose correlates directly to breathing and getting through a contraction.

Knowing you can do anything for a minute, even if it’s not comfortable, is invaluable.

Since the yoga itself doesn’t necessarily provide the workout aspect I was looking for, I’ve learned how to make accommodations to continue doing Piyo and PureBarre, but the biggest take away for me wasn’t about exercise at all. Pregnant women need more of this pregnancy-is-normal-and-empowering attitude, whether it’s from yoga class, medical professionals, or other women who have been there.

Though I have to say I was surprised I found it in a yoga class.

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Article Posted 4 years Ago

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