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Hopefully you read the lovely, inspirational interview with yogi Vedrana who practiced Bikram through her pregnancy (click here if you missed it!) One of the things she mentioned was how much the breathing practice helped.

Vedrana in the studio!

Vedrana in the studio!

Since I don’t have any first-person experience I’m sharing these BabyCenter tips on how Pranayama can benefit pregnant women.

–Pranayama helps optimise the flow of oxygen that is supplied to your body and your growing baby.

–It helps in the circulation of blood and oxygen which are essential for growing body and for your baby’s development.

–It relaxes the mind and helps reduce stress. Pranayama is also believed to promote positive emotional health and self control. This helps you deal with mood swings, anger and frustration in a much more positive manner.
–It also helps the basic functioning of your body – allowing your body to remove toxins and waste effectively.

–The controlled breathing can be beneficial during labour and childbirth. Learning how to do ujjayi breathing primes you for labour and childbirth, because it trains you to stay calm when you need it most. When you’re afraid — during labour, for example — the body produces adrenaline and shuts down the production of oxytocin, a hormone that helps labour progress. Yoga training will help you fight the urge to tighten up when you feel the pain, and show you how to relax and open up, instead.

One thing BabyCenter notes – and I agree – is that Pranayama practice should be guided by a trained instructor. If you’re new to the practice it can cause dizziness or other temporary discomfort. It is important to have proper instruction to ensure you are doing it correctly and safely for you and baby!