Is it too late to start?

I get emails and phone calls all the time from gorgeous pregnant mamas, and so many of them are wondering the same thing.... is it too late for me to start yoga? I can hear the slight anxiety in their voices.

For many pregnant women, the time has flown by, particularly if they have other children at home and life is busy! They can be around 30 weeks pregnant sometimes before I talk to them. The very short answer is NO, it is never too late to start prenatal yoga in my opinion! Even if you are 38 weeks pregnant and you attend one class or practice Prenatal Yoga online once, you will always get some benefit from it.

In all my years teaching, I have yet to meet someone who didn't enjoy at least some aspect of the session! The very least you will get from yoga is a good stretch out, reduced back pain, and a blissful period of relaxation. So if I was 38 weeks pregnant, I'd certainly take that! 

But just look at what a few weeks or months (or longer!) of yoga practice can do for you:

  • Reduce aches and pains - practicing yoga regularly will have a transformative effect on your pregnant body. It will lengthen muscles, bring fluidity and flexibility into your muscles and joints and leave you pain-free and feeling nimble!
  • Sleep - yoga can be extremely calming for the nervous system. The focused breathing can take you inward, releasing a lot of anxiety, and feeling ready for a restful nights sleep.
  • Strengthen - depending on your practice, yoga can strengthen the key muscles used during pregnancy and prepare them for birth too. In my classes, I ensure to strengthen the core canister of muscles which can have an enormous impact on the body such as improving back strength, improving pelvic health & normal function, pelvic floor strength...and a ton more! 
  • Mindset - apart from feeling calmer and blissed out after a practice, you have the ability to strengthen your mindset or completely turn around a fearful mindset into a positive one. I've had so many gorgeous women completing my courses, saying that they felt so much more positive and ready for birth afterwards. I'm telling you, the mind is SO powerful, you can change your deep-set beliefs!
  • Pelvic floor - ahh the lovely pelvic floor - nobody really knows exactly what's going on down there, do they?! There are specific poses and exercises that I include in pretty much every session of yoga, which will lengthen and strengthen this amazing set of muscles, which are crucial to reducing pain in the body and ensuring they function correctly. 
  • Bond - this isn't really focused on too much but I think it's a biggie! In our busy, busy world, days and even weeks can pass by and you might 'forget' you are pregnant at all! Taking time out to be still and fully present with your little baby is glorious and massively important to help you both prepare for the motherhood and babyhood journey.
  • Preparing for birth - Yoga will help to prepare both your body and mind for birth. You can do all the mindfulness work available to you (which is crucial), but you also should be physically preparing your body, to help it open naturally and to help baby get into a wonderful birthing position, therefore making your birth arguably a lot more easy. 
  • Time for yourself - I don't know of anybody who could not benefit to some extent from having some time out, just for themselves, particularly if you are already a mother. Life puts so many demands on us as most of us play so many roles - worker, sister, partner, supporter, friend, aunt, caregiver etc, and adding yet another role (the most important of your life arguably!), the role of mother, can be quite overwhelming for many due to it's level of commitment, stress, love, challenges, and every other emotion going!! Yoga can be a heavenly and much needed time out for yourself.

I'm sure there are more benefits to practicing yoga during pregnancy, but these are just some of the main ones I see and have experienced myself.

So get on your mat, or get to a class, regardless of how many weeks pregnant you are! If you want to practice more with me, check out The Club @ NurtureMamas, my monthly membership for pregnant ladies and new mamas.

xxx Helen xxx

Helen Plass is a Pre & Postnatal Fitness Specialist, and Yoga Instructor, working with women and their birthing partners to achieve a comfortable, healthy & happy journey into Pregnancy, birth and Motherhood. Check out The Club @ NurtureMamas, the fabulous Monthly Online Membership club preparing you for an incredible Pregnancy & Birth journey. She is a mother of three boys, all birthed naturally, and is known for her very practical & non-judgmental approach to pregnancy and the crazy times of motherhood. Check out all her communication at NurtureMamas.com, and if you are in Ireland, her local business MumandBaby.ie