We all, for better and for worse, know the alarming numbers surrounding Black maternal outcomes.
Owing to several factors such as medical biases, socioeconomic conditions, and discrimination, Black women are 3 to 4 times more likely to suffer from maternal health complications, such as fibroids and preeclampsia, leading to high blood pressure, chronic stress, and a number of other ailments.
Given this wide range of challenges, it’s increasingly critical for Black women to adopt any measures they can, to guard against the potential complications they may face during pregnancy and childbirth. A strong focus on prenatal and postnatal fitness can go a long way towards helping to surmount these obstacles, and ensure that both baby and mama are well taken care of, as they begin their wonderful journey together. The customized yoga courses at Mindhouse for both prenatal and postnatal fitness can help you achieve just that.
Prenatal fitness through yoga and breathing exercises
During pregnancy, women have to contend with a myriad of changes, both at a physiological as well as a psychological level.
Well-regulated fitness routines can help prepare the body more effectively for these alterations, and also help with better recovery after the baby is born.
Strengthening the body
Studies have shown that prenatal yoga can be an excellent way to help improve blood flow to the abdominal region, helping to adequately prepare your core for the impending weight gain. Specific yoga exercises can also improve the elasticity of the pelvic floor, and strengthen the uterine muscles, which are substantially exerted during labor.
Improving physiological functions through breathwork
The respiratory system can often be placed under considerable strain during pregnancy, affecting the woman’s ability to breathe normally. Simple breathwork exercises can help to boost lung function, restore breathing patterns, and enhance overall maternal and fetal health.
In the longer-term, these exercises can also help to keep the symptoms of postpartum depression at bay, by lowering levels of stress and anxiety, and providing new moms with a clearer, calmer mind to deal with any potential challenges in the early phase of motherhood.
Maintaining physical activity
A lack of regular exercise is a common byproduct of pregnancy, as sticking to cardiovascular routines becomes harder as the body changes.
Prenatal yoga can give women a gentler option to maintain a healthy level of physical activity, and in turn lower the risk of developing conditions like gestational diabetes and high blood pressure.
Postnatal Fitness and Recovery
The process of childbirth places immense physical strain on a woman’s body. A solid recovery routine is key to ensuring minimal postpartum health complications.
Sudden weight loss, as well as the physical rigors of labor, can lead to a significant weakening of the core, and a dramatic alteration in muscle interaction. Yoga after pregnancy can be a gentle and effective intervention, to help exercise key muscles and joints, regain balance and mobility, and restore strength.
Aiding postpartum weight loss
One of the biggest challenges a woman faces after childbirth is “getting her body back”—but this is far more critical from a health standpoint than a cosmetic one. Pregnancy can affect metabolic function, and slow down the weight loss process. Adopting a consistent postnatal fitness routine can not only help tone the body, but also energize the mind, and allow for a healthier physical and mental makeup.
Despite all the numerous challenges facing Black moms, there are elements of this that are very much in your control. You can feel empowered in the face of uncertainty by taking individual steps to help safeguard the health of you and your little bundle of joy.
The importance of appropriate prenatal and postnatal fitness cannot be overstated: They both need to be properly embraced to help you feel better and enhance your physical and mental health.
For those of you who may be on either side of this journey, whether you’re a mom-to-be or a new mama, check out the courses offered by Mindhouse for a smoother transition into motherhood.