Yoga during pregnancy – Pranayama

In this article, let’s talk about one important aspect of Yoga during pregnancy – Pranayama.

Yoga Breathing (Pranayama)

What is Pranayama?

Pranayama is a form of controlled deep breathing.
We inhale oxygen that our body needs to function properly. We exhale carbon dioxide which the body doesn’t need. Deeper breaths benefit our body much more than shallower breaths. Pranayama teaches you proper breathing. This helps you function better, benefiting your body and baby.

Is it safe to do Pranayama during pregnancy?

Pranayama is usually considered a safe exercise during pregnancy. However, make sure you follow your yoga expert’s advice.
You should not take deep and forceful breaths in pregnancy. Yoga experts don’t recommend holding your breath when you are pregnant. Hence bhastrika and kapalbhati are not recommended during pregnancy. This is because breathing forcefully can make you dizzy.
If you suffer from asthma/breathlessness or any heart disease, check with your doctor before doing Pranayama.

How does Pranayama benefit me?

Pranayama focuses on developing awareness of your breathing. It helps to stabilize your breath, making it smooth and steady.
Deep breathing or Pranayama:

  • Helps remove body’s waste.
  • Improves blood circulation, which is good for you and your baby.
  • Helps reduce stress as it relaxes you.
  • Boosts oxygen flow to your body.
  • Prepares you for labour as it distracts you from pain. This is because your body produces adrenaline when you panic. This prevents producing oxytocin (a hormone which helps labour). Pranayama calms you and thus reduces the tendency to panic. It saves your energy for when it’s most needed during labour.
Can I do Pranayama at home?

Yes, you can. But if you have just started to learn, do it with a trained yoga expert. It is a good idea to join a yoga class, for three reasons:

  • You get to do yoga in a conducive environment with other pregnant women.
  • You can keep yourself motivated by seeing others who are doing it too.
  • You get to make new friends.
Tips for doing Pranayama

These are some general tips you can follow:

  • Have a light meal a couple of hours before starting.
  • After your main meal, wait for 3-4 hours before starting.
  • Choose a quiet and comfortable place. An airy room or park works best.
  • Choose postures suggested by your yoga practitioner.