Benefits of Yoga and Infant Massage for Mom & Baby

July 13, 2017

Benefits of Yoga and Infant Massage for Mom & Baby

Yoga and massage are two excellent ways of preparing for childbirth and postpartum motherhood. Read on to find out the many benefits of yoga and massage for both expectant and new mothers:

Benefits of Prenatal Yoga

Prenatal yoga is a form of light exercise that can really help alleviate the mental and physical exhaustion of mothers-to-be. There are many benefits of prenatal yoga:

Helps with Breathing

We often take breathing for granted. It's not something we have to tell ourselves to do. However, yoga helps us to become aware of our breathing. Recognizing your breathing patterns and training yourself to focus on your breathing helps to prepare your body for the strenuous process of labor. When you take time to focus on your breathing, your body and mind are able to relax. Doing prenatal yoga, therefore, helps to prepare you mentally and eases you into a calm and tranquil state of mind.

Strengthens Your Pelvis

There are a group of muscles attached to your pelvis known as the 'pelvic floor'. This group of muscles helps to support and protect a number of reproductive and digestive organs. It also helps to protect the baby growing in your womb during pregnancy.

Exercising your pelvis and making it strong during pregnancy is very important, because being pregnant places an extra weight and burden on it. Various factors including age, low fitness levels, and overall muscle density, can weaken your pelvic floor. If you're pregnant and don't take steps to strengthen your pelvis, it can also become weakened. Therefore, doing prenatal yoga will help keep it strong. You want to be healthy and strong for the baby coming into your world in only a matter of months.

A weakened pelvic floor can lead to other symptoms or illnesses including: incontinence (the inability to control your excretory functions), constipation, diminished sexual libido, pain during intercourse, damage to the uterus, rectum, or bladder, and stomach or back pain.

Therefore, in order to protect your body from any of the aforementioned issues from arising, it's a good idea to take up prenatal yoga. For both you and your baby, prenatal yoga is an excellent way of maintaining and sustaining your pelvic floor muscle, ensuring a safe and healthy delivery.

Additionally, a strong pelvic floor will make labor easier: now who doesn't want a gentler, less strenuous delivery?

Note: Prenatal yoga exercises that strengthen the pelvic muscles should be started during the second trimester, as contracting these muscles during the first trimester is not recommended.

Improves Posture

Carrying a baby around in your stomach for nine months is tiring work! Back pain is a common complaint of mothers-to-be. This is because the abdominal muscles become stretched and weakened as the baby grows, placing more stress on the back.

Prenatal yoga exercises that strengthen your stomach muscles help to alleviate back pain, because the stomach muscles become stronger and able to stretch more effectively. Any exercises should be gentle and low impact, but enough to help keep the stomach area strong.

Mental Health

Because prenatal depression is a problem for many expectant mothers, looking after your mental health is just as important as looking after your physical health. Prenatal yoga, especially breathing and relaxation exercises, can really help reduce the feelings of depression and anxiety that often occur during pregnancy. A less stressed expectant mother is also a potentially healthier baby!

Benefits of Postpartum Yoga

Postpartum yoga is just as important and beneficial as prenatal yoga. First, many young mothers experience feelings that are known as postpartum depression. Therefore, the same yoga exercises that acted as stress relievers during your pregnancy can be used in order to alleviate any mental postpartum symptoms.

Yoga teaches you how to become aware of your breathing, how to focus on one thing to declutter and relax the mind, and live in the moment. All of these perspectives reduce the thousands of anxious or depressive thoughts a new mother may have.

It is not uncommon for new mothers to panic about the safety and wellbeing of their baby; particularly because a baby is so small and fragile. If you're a new mother, you can easily become overwhelmed at the idea of protecting someone so precious and vulnerable. Practicing yoga will help you to gain a more optimistic perspective on the joys of motherhood, instead of constantly worrying.

Second, postpartum yoga also helps to maintain the health and fitness of a new mother's physical body. These next few years will be physically demanding, so keeping your in top shape will benefit both you and your baby. Yoga can help increase energy, concentration, and motivation levels too, allowing you to multi-task and function much better.

Benefits of Prenatal Infant Massage

It's clear that yoga is an excellent choice for both expectant and new mothers, but what about prenatal infant massage? Here are some benefits of prenatal infant massage:

Promotes Relaxation

It's always nice to get a massage, but when you're pregnant it's even more relaxing. Prenatal infant massage promotes relaxation by helping you feel more tranquil and nurtured. The general relaxation felt after having one reduces stress and fatigue, improves sleep, and even calms an overly active kicking baby! Did you know that a prenatal infant massage helps to soothe the baby in your stomach, too? Thus, you and your baby will both be lulled into a soothing sense of comfort.

Physical Benefits

The physical benefits of prenatal infant massage work with the stage your pregnant body is at. For example, during the first trimester, it helps to soothe headaches, reduce tiredness, and makes any morning sickness less severe.

During the second trimester, prenatal infant massage helps to soothe your physical body, particularly from the normal aches and pains during pregnancy including backaches and cramps in the leg and foot areas.

Finally, in the third trimester, a prenatal infant massage will prepare your pelvic floor area for childbirth by relaxing the strained muscles. It will also help you get a good night's sleep, reduce any swelling or edema, and relieve general body tension.

Massage is known to improve circulation. As a result of this, it makes your pre-natal body more resilient to sickness by boosting your immune system and promoting the balance and stimulation of your lymphatic and glandular systems.

Benefits of Postpartum Infant Massage

Infant massage works wonders during pregnancy, but the benefits of continuing the process after birth are numerous, too. For the mother, postpartum massage stimulates a quicker recovery from the effects of childbirth. After childbirth, a woman's body has to realign itself, as it modified to cater for the stretched abdominal area. Massages help to ease the new mother into this process by repositioning key areas including the pelvis and stomach areas.

Moreover, new mothers will likely be just as fatigued after pregnancy as before. Postpartum massage helps to boost energy levels and reduces physical exhaustion. It also helps the new mother's body to return the uterus to the size that it was before pregnancy.

Postpartum care is often deemed secondary to prenatal care, but childbirth can really take its toll on a woman's body. Moreover, postpartum care is arguably even more important, as the new life has now entered the world. If you are a new mother, or are expecting a baby soon, make sure you nurture yourself and take good care of your body both during and after pregnancy. Your health is just as important as your baby's health; particularly because it is you who is responsible for the beginning of their life journey.

Massage Your Baby

Infant massage also means massage your baby. In fact, postpartum infant massage is a term used to describe massaging your baby after delivery. You might think that massaging a newborn, who is very vulnerable, is risky. However, as long as you consult professionals, baby massage is actually very beneficial. Touch is a wonderful way to bond with your baby when verbal communication is a long way off, and massaging them will boost their physical and emotional development.

So, after taking care of yourself by doing yoga and massage during and after pregnancy, massaging your newborn with an expert's help will result in a calmer, healthier baby too!

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational/advocacy purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical or psychological condition. Please consult your own healthcare provider for individual advice regarding your specific situation and needs.

 

Sources:

The Benefits of Postnatal Yoga

5 Benefits of Prenatal Yoga

Prenatal, Postnatal and Infant Massage



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