Yoga during pregnancy is a great from of exercise, both for you mind and body, and readying for the birth of your baby. Yoga practice during your pregnancy requires modifications from typical yoga practice. The first trimester is the most similar to “non-pregnant” yoga with a few changes. During the first trimester your belly is not going to be on the way and you should be able to follow many of the typical yoga poses. However small the changes are outward, inside you may feel an array of emotions due to hormonal changes, exhaustion, morning sickness etc. At any time, if you feel discomfort, stop, rest, and take it easy.
First Trimester Yoga
During 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 may 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. If you are a regular yoga practitioner, tell your yoga teacher/s right away you are pregnant.
Prenatal yoga at home
You can find variety of DVDs for pregnancy yoga. Pick the one/s that appeal to you the most and that help you stay with the yoga practice.
Poses for prenatal yoga
There are several good yoga poses for your prenatal yoga practice. Here are a few of them.
Cat – Cow
Fire Log Pose
Half Moon Pose
Seated Forward Bend
Side Angle Pose
- 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 relaxin during pregnancy that soften the connective tissues. This leads to higher risk of strains and pulls.
- Jumps. Some yoga poses or transitions involve jumping. Jumping may cause the fertilized egg to dislodge from the uterus.
- 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 relaxin.
- 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.
Check with your physician before starting a yoga practice if you are pregnant. Disclaimer