About Relax Stretch and Breathe Please note - no classes August-December 2017
What are the benefits of attending yoga for pregnancy and birth classes?
Yoga is an ideal form of exercise throughout pregnancy. The postures will gently strengthen, stretch and relax the body, helping it cope with the ever-changing physical and emotional demands of pregnancy, whilst at the same time preparing it for labour. Some of the benefits are listed below:
Improved quality of sleep
Reduced back ache and relief from other pregnancy discomforts (e.g. fluid retention)
Strengthened joints and muscles
Increased blood circulation
Improved posture and body awareness
Strengthened abdominal and pelvic muscles
The classes are suitable for women of all fitness levels and can be enjoyed by those who have had no previous experience of yoga.
Birth preparation -breathing techniques, positions and relaxation
Each class will incorporate relaxation and breathing techniques for use throughout labour. It will allow you time to explore different positions for labour and birth and practise them with the breathing and relaxation techniques. These classes aspire women to have a natural birth for their baby but are also helpful for those who are having a caesarean birth.
Topics for discussion
The classes are run in an Active Birth format, with different topics related to pregnancy, pre and post childbirth are covered each week. Examples of topics covered include; optimal foetal positioning, creating a positive birth environment, avoiding perineal damage, looking after your pelvic floor before and after birth, life with a new baby and many others. A few weeks after giving birth, each mother is encouraged to come back to a class to tell her labour story. At the end of the class we have time for refreshments which allows you time to get to know other mums and make new friends.
To sum up…
The aim of NCT relax, stretch and breathe is for you to have an enjoyable and relaxing time, improve your physical and emotional well-being and increase your chance of a positive birth experience. For first time mothers there will be lots of practical tips, an opportunity to meet others and ask questions. For those of you who are already mothers, the class is a time to relax, concentrate on the new baby and think about your wishes for this birth. Like all our NCT classes refreshments are included, allowing time to really get to know each other and form friendships.
Yoga in Pregnancy - resources and evidence
Benefits of yoga for pregnant women
This 2010 article by NCT yoga for pregnancy tutor Virginia Campbell summarises some of the evidence around the possible benefits of yoga practice and similar activity during pregnancy.
Recently a University of Manchester study found that anxiety and stress levels were signifcantly lower among those attending antenatal yoga classes, and suggested that attendance might also help to prevent postnatal depression.
Yoga for women with complex health needs
This 2012 study looked at the effects of yoga on preventing complications in women with 'high risk' pregnancies, and found that fewer women in the yoga group developed high blood pressure, gestational diabetes or pre-eclampsia.
Keeping active during pregnancy - general guidance on exercise
The NCT website has a useful section looking at different forms of exercise, and discussing what is advisable and what isn't at different stages of pregnancy.
Birth balls and tinkly music...
If you like my birth balls you can buy one from here! They come in two sizes, the smaller (65cm diameter) is most comfortable for many women but if you are 5'9" or taller you may prefer a 75cm diameter ball. This is a super soft-touch version, there are cheaper alternatives on the site too.
I use lots of different music in my relax, stretch and breathe classes but if you like the ambient piano music you can download it here.