Calling all moms-to-be here who are struggling to breathe…
As I type this email I’m in my 36th week of pregnancy, and it’s becoming more and more difficult to effortlessly breathe.
Earlier in my pregnancy I had moments of feeling winded, but once the third trimester started, this whole breathing for two thing became an entirely different (and quite unpleasant) experience.
Here’s what science says about that…
Earlier in our baby making journey, there are two key things happening.
First, progesterone (one of the key hormones in pregnancy) gradually increases from the time of ovulation throughout the rest of our pregnancy. This hormone does many things, but one of its key functions is to act as a respiratory stimulant.
It helps you and I breathe more quickly, causing us to take more breaths, which results in more oxygen for our sweet, growing baby.
Also happening earlier on is the forming of the placenta, often referred to as the “fetal lungs”, but it doesn’t come fully online until week 13. Up until then, we provide that precious source of life-giving oxygen that baby needs (and we still gotta breathe!), which is why we experience that overwhelming first trimester fatigue.
Stick with me mamas, there’s more.
Around week 9, the uterus begins to rapidly grow and the great organ migration occurs.
Which btw, isn’t it wildly fascinating that our bodies just know how to do all of this? We women are such miraculous beings!
During the “great organ migration” our main breathing muscle – the diaphragm – loses significant real estate. It becomes smushed as the uterus begins to press directly into it, and as you can imagine, this doesn’t make it easy for the diaphragm to perform its duties.
Now how does this tie back to our yoga practice?
Well, baked into the yoga system is something called prana.
Prana represents our vitality or life-sustaining energy, and our breath is the external representation or manifestation of our internal, energetic state of being.
So, if we can manipulate our breath to better serve our circumstances (i.e. pregnancy), then we’re also benefiting our energy, prana or vitality which has a direct influence on our emotional and mental state of wellbeing (it’s all connected!).
Pretty cool, yeah?
Thank you for sticking with me, our nerdy but oh so fascinating introduction is complete.
On the mat today, we’ll journey through a sequence designed by Sarah Ezrin from Yoga International that includes nourishing, spine lengthening, chest broadening, space making postures which will 100% help us breathe with more ease.
You’ll want two blocks, a blanket for knee support, comfy clothing, and anything else that promotes relaxation.
My belly and I will meet ya on the mat,
PS – As always, please listen to your body and your provider’s recommendations! If anything suggested doesn’t feel good based on your specific needs, either adjust the posture or stop entirely.
PPS – If you’re searching for more prenatal yoga classes, try these ➡️
Hey! I’m Allie.
I’m a self-growth student, freedom-seeker, yoga teacher and the founder of a tight-knit online yoga community: the Body Mind Soul Studio. I’m here to teach you how to transform your life on-and-off-the-mat with a holistic yoga practice.
I wanna learn it all!
The Yoga Reset Guide is my FREE 7-step journey to deepen your practice and recenter your body, mind and soul. Self-paced, no equipment necessary, perfect for beginners AND veteran yogis.