Prenatal Yoga


You're Pregnant?

That is awesome!

There are so many incredible benefits to getting your practice on you must be aware that your body is changing.  Hormones can cause increased mobility in joints, as your body naturally must spread to make room for the baby.  Some women experience growth in height and or feet or hand size!

Yoga can help women get through their pregnancy with minimal discomfort. It also helps the birth and post-delivery stages.

Here is a general list of considerations for the pregnant yogini:

First Trimester Yoga

  • During the First Trimester your body is still conditioned to act as though it were unchanged.  If you choose to practice be exceptionally gentle.  The first 10 weeks of pregnancy are the most risky for miscarriage.

  • Be sure to drink plenty of water and if you like practicing Bikram be sure you consult a physician! Hot yoga during pregnancy is typically not recommended, though some may disagree.  Check with a doctor to be sure.

The first trimester of your pregnancy there are very few, if any, outward signs that tell others you are pregnant. You may not even want to announce your pregnancy this early. However, on the inside you can start feeling changes. You might have morning sickness, feel exhausted etc. Listen to your body and do what feels right for you. If you are tired, rest more. If you are not feeling sick and have energy, starting a yoga practice is a great way to take care of your body during pregnancy.

If you’ve had a regular yoga practice even before your pregnancy, you need to slow down a bit. The classes you were taking before might feel too intense or strenuous. Listen to your body and adjust your practice.

If you are new to yoga, look for classes specifically for pregnancy, called prenatal yoga.

Poses for prenatal yoga

There are several good yoga poses for prenatal yoga practice. Here are a few of them.

Warrior II

Half Moon Pose

Triangle Pose

Cat – Cow

Pigeon Pose

Fire Log Pose

Cobbler’s Pose

Cautions

  • Twists. Avoid poses with intense twisting. Twists compress your internal organs and your uterus. Use gentle twists with twisting from shoulders and back instead from the waist.

  • Stretching. Avoid deep stretching. Your body produces a hormone relaxing during pregnancy that soften the connective tissues.

  • Breath. Whatever exercise program you follow throughout your pregnancy avoid holding your breath. For your yoga practice, also avoid pranayama breathing – holding your breath, fast inhales and exhales.

  • Inversions. Avoid inversions e.g. headstand and handstand, and any inversions if there is a possibility of falling over. You can do Legs up the Wall pose instead.

  • Backbends. Backbends such as Wheel pose and Camel should be avoided. Stretches abdominal muscles. Risk of strains

  • Core. Avoid poses and exercises that concentrate only on your abdominal muscles and stretching them. Risk of pulls and strains is higher due to pregnancy hormone relaxing.

  • Hot Yoga. You should not practice hot yoga during pregnancy. Hot Yoga raises your core temperature, which is not recommended during pregnancy.

At any time, if you feel discomfort, stop, rest, and take it easy.


Second Trimester Yoga

When you’re practicing in your second trimester, there are a number of things to keep in mind. Your growing belly will start to add weight to the front of your body, potentially making balancing more difficult and straining your lower back. Twisting is still of concern. Relaxing is in your bloodstream, full-force, making your joints more susceptible to overstretching.

One of the primary points to remember, though, is to avoid laying flat on your belly.

During the first trimester, laying on your stomach — whether sleeping or in cobra pose — isn’t much of a concern for yoga mamas. As your baby grows, though, it’s important refrain from putting unnecessary weight and pressure on the little bean. And don’t even think about throwing in a backbend or two (say, bow pose), as you’d be adding force, too.

  • Instead of traditional chid’s pose, take wide-knee child’s pose, which is just as easy as it sounds. Float the big toes together, separate the knees apart towards the sides of your mat to make room for your baby, and gently float your torso to the floor, extending your arms out in front of you as usual.

  • In a sun salutation-based practice, instead of your “knees/chest/chin to cobra pose” sequence, do modified chatarunga using your knees. Lower only as much as you’re comfortable, but don’t let your shoulders dip down past your elbows. Or, sub cat/cow pose here. Be sure to keep your lower back neutral in cow pose to avoid aggravating swayback/lordosis — your growing belly’s already arching that area enough already!).

  • Skip sphinx pose, bow pose, locust pose or any other posture that involves tummy time. Instead, during that time in the class, try seated heart openers. Sit in a seated position with comfortably crossed legs and a tall spine, and clasp your hands behind your back (if they don’t clasp, no problem — just grab opposite elbows). Roll your shoulders gently up and down a few times, soften your ribcage in, and lift your heart to get a backbend. This will help you achieve benefits of the other poses without stressing out your stomach.

Keep these ideas in mind, and you’ll be on your way to an active and awesome second trimester with your little one!


Third Trimester Yoga

Pregnancy yoga can be continued even in your third trimester with just a few pregnancy precautions. In this third trimester of your pregnancy, everything becomes more difficult to perform.

Pregnancy yoga works well for those who are working and are now on maternity leave because it is the good time to practice yoga. If you were able to practice pregnancy yoga with some vigor in the second trimester, it becomes easy in this trimester and can benefit from practicing yoga stretches and gentle prenatal yoga positions.

When you are still attending a prenatal yoga class, then it is most important to inform your yoga instructor regarding your due date. Also remember that now it is the time to take it easy rather than an overachiever.

Always it is better to consult and check with your doctor before you begin any of the new exercise programs or if you have queries about the type of pregnancy yoga that is best for you.

Better continue to stay in tune with your body, allow your body to relax and take it easy. It’s a good idea to continue breathing exercises, as it helps you during the birth process.

There are some prenatal yoga positions suggested for the third trimester of pregnancy. Hip openers such as Triangle, Knee to Ankle, Pigeon, and Warrior II. All four Cat-Cow positions will help create the flexibility that makes the baby get in proper position, head down and it’s back turned toward your belly. Thus giving birth becomes easier.

Of course, these prenatal yoga positions were adapted by you during your second trimester but must be practiced with some extra caution. Avoid jumping, twists from the belly, deep back bends and any work that involves strengthening the abdomen.

The most important aspect to remember when practicing pregnancy yoga during this stage is to control your breathing and listen to your body. Practicing pregnancy yoga and listening to your body will definitely help you prepare mentally for the birth of your baby.

The best part of practicing pregnancy yoga is it helps you to lose the excess weight and tone up your body after giving birth to your baby and your body will be in a good condition. So, start practicing your yoga poses gently as well as the meditation and breathing exercises.

No matter if you are just entering your pregnancy, or in the last trimester, with a regular pregnancy yoga practice you’ll find that it has much more to offer you toward having an easier pregnancy, birth, and toning up your body after delivery.