CAN I START YOGA FOUR WEEKS AF­TER GIV­ING BIRTH?

Your Pregnancy - - Q&A Your Body - Genna Pear­son Preg­nancy yoga in­struc­tor & owner of Yoga War­rior in Jo­han­nes­burg

Q: My baby is four weeks old now and I’m feel­ing a bit more hu­man and en­er­getic again. I’d like to start yoga, but I don’t know where to start or which type of class to pick.

A: Genna answers: Yoga with your baby in spe­cial Mommy & Baby yoga classes is a great way to re-en­ter the world af­ter the ini­tial weeks fol­low­ing birth. Spe­cial Mommy & Baby classes start from six weeks. This is an im­por­tant mile­stone as be­fore that, baby is very vul­ner­a­ble to the out­side world and still needs to build im­mu­nity and ac­quire some head con­trol, while mom needs to re­cover from the process of birth, which has de­pleted her on many lev­els, es­pe­cially if mom has had a cae­sarean. These classes are a great way to en­cour­age mom­mies out of their new­found nest­ing co­coons and slowly get mom mov­ing again in a healthy and ben­e­fi­cial way while bond­ing with baby. Some ex­er­cises in­volv­ing baby stim­u­late their devel­op­ment too and aid in in­tro­duc­ing aware­ness to them of their bodies and their sur­round­ings. In some cases mothers have di­as­ta­sis recti (split­ting of ab­dom­i­nal muscles) and this can be ad­dressed in spe­cial post­par­tum yoga. Gen­er­ally though, moms need to re­gain their strength and en­ergy af­ter birth with­out caus­ing too much strain as re­laxin hor­mones are still present in the body, so classes are gen­tle. Car­ry­ing a grow­ing baby as well as hold­ing and feed­ing a baby (both breast and bot­tle) can cre­ate ten­sion in the up­per back and hips which needs to be re­leased as it can cause quite a bit of dis­com­fort. On the other hand, the ab­dom­i­nal muscles and pelvic floor need to be tight­ened in or­der for moms to re­gain strength and tone in ar­eas that have been weak­ened dur­ing preg­nancy. As in­ter­rupted sleep is a nor­mal way of life for most moms, the op­por­tu­nity to re­lax is also a spe­cial gift and yoga pro­vides the space to do just that while bond­ing with baby.

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