Learn how to keep you and your baby safe and enjoy the benefits of practicing yoga while pregnant…
If you love yoga and don’t want to give it up just because you recently found out that you are pregnant, there’s good news… You may still be able to practice yoga throughout most or all of your pregnancy! Contrary to what many people think, practicing yoga while pregnant can be a good thing for both you and your unborn child. By using proper form and modifications, not only will you keep your baby safe, but you will be able to create a healthy environment for the baby and a healthier body for yourself. Of course, there are some poses that you will want to avoid, as we will discuss below, but there are many modifications and poses that are suggested for prenatal yoga practice.
Yoga can be beneficial for your state of mind during pregnancy, as well as your physical health. Practicing yoga and meditation can help you to learn to relax and control your breathing, which can be very beneficial during labor – especially if you opt for a natural birth. Learning to stay calm and centered can also help you keep your sanity later as a new mom – which can sometimes be challenging!
There are a few special precautions you will want to take when practicing yoga while pregnant. First, be sure to stay hydrated, stopping often for water breaks. If you get too overheated, your core body temperature rises even more, which could be harmful to the baby. For this reason, “hot” yoga or other very strenuous yoga classes should be avoided while you are pregnant. You may also want to consume some extra calories before yoga class to avoid getting light-headed. It’s a good idea to eat a small meal or a hearty snack an hour or so before class.
Some types of yoga poses should be avoided during some stages of pregnancy. For example, lying flat on your back can cut off blood flow to your brain and to the uterus, making you dizzy and causing developmental problems for your baby, so you should not do these poses after your first trimester. Reclined poses such as Legs-Up-the-Wall may still be done by propping your upper body up on pillows. You can modify Savasana by lying on your side supported by pillows.
Most experts also recommend avoiding inverted poses or those that require balancing and could lead to falls. Remember that your stomach is growing every day, so it will be an extra challenge to used to your new shape and stay balanced. Poses that involve major twisting or stretching in the abdominal region may also not be best for you and your baby. Finally, avoid transitions in which you must stand quickly from a lying or sitting position, since this can cause dizziness and may also restrict blood flow to your uterus.
That said, there are a lot of positions that you will find to be helpful, both during pregnancy and during labor. Staying active by doing yoga throughout your pregnancy can help to keep you physically fit, strong, and flexible as you prepare for the rigors of birth and motherhood!
Keep in mind that it’s always a good idea to talk to a qualified yoga instructor on what they recommend for your and your unborn child. You should also consult your doctor before doing yoga while pregnant, especially if you have any unusual complications or health concerns.