The timeless practice of Yoga is endlessly beneficial to everyone. Continuing with your Yoga practice during pregnancy is absolutely recommended as long as you pay close attention to your limits and body! Prenatal yoga is safe enough to start if you have not practiced yoga before, yet in an ideal world it is of course better to prepare by practicing some yoga before getting pregnant. However, the sequences and postures used in prenatal yoga are soft and suitable for those that have and those that have not.
During pregnancy your body is changing rapidly and Prenatal Yoga is a wonderful way to slow down and appreciate what your body is actually going through! After all, you are making a whole new person in there!
Prenatal yoga calms your mind and softens your breathing which is so valuable during times of anxiety and stress, which are well known to cause unwelcome and unwanted problems.
I would recommend that you do discuss with your doctor first your desire to practice prenatal Yoga, and any other forms of exercise during pregnancy, whether it be only once a week or more regularly. All forms of exercise during pregnancy are advised to be under an experts supervision for yours and your baby’s safety.
I recommend that you take it really easy and gently during the first trimester. Wait until your pregnancy has settled before you continue or start with more energized fitness and activity programs. Keep fit and well with activities such as walking, swimming and very gentle relaxing yoga that can encourage your pregnancy to settle and ground itself safely. Once you become more energized during your second trimester higher activity levels can commence. The third trimester will be slower again as you are much heavier and that makes you tired!
The breathing in prenatal yoga is slower than normal and more often than not is linked to a movement. These deeper and slower breaths will fill the lungs completely allowing vital oxygen and goodness to reach you and your baby. Deep breathing is a great way to calm down and relieve tension and anxiety from the body and mind, also excellent when in the middle of a row or crisis! Total exhalation and letting go of the breath allows you to feel calmer, more relaxed and afterwards more energized.
Learning how to master this slower and more controlled way of breathing during prenatal yoga will help you to prepare yourself for labor, childbirth and being a new mum. Breathing will train you to stay calm when you need it most, especially during the contractions in labor, helping you to relax and let go.
Pregnant women need to practice yoga at a slower pace than usual. It is easy to get caught up in the not wanting to gain too much weight during pregnancy and wanting to stay fit by practicing at the same pace as before, but believe me, remember what your body is doing – it is making a baby and you will gain some weight like it or not. Nature designs it that way as you need the extra weight to nourish and feed your baby!
Staying fit and well is vital yes but not to the point that you obsess about it! Listen to your body and avoid pushing or straining yourself beyond what you really need. Vital energy and goodness are needed for the formation of your child, not your ego!
Avoid poses that have any weight resting fully on your stomach, especially during the 2nd and 3rd Trimesters. Avoid including the Cobra and any full frontal and belly down poses!
Practicing yoga during pregnancy is a great way to enhance the possibility of birthing your baby naturally. Selected postures and movements are designed to assist in enhancing the chance of the baby moving into the optimum birthing position.
If you are sensible and careful, have checked with your doctor and do not have any reason to not practice prenatal yoga, 3 times per week would be ideal amount of sessions to try and fit in. What is important is that you listen to your body and intuition and do what feels right for you!
We are all different and no two women or their body’s are the same! Listen to how ‘you’ feel and how ‘your’ body feels and then decide what you need the most! You will feel different on different days so rest when you need it, and practice yoga when you need it. No matter what, remember to breathe fully and deeply and keep energy levels up by eating well and drinking lots of water!
During your prenatal yoga sessions always take as many breaks as you need and alternate between the more challenging and relaxation poses. The hormone Relaxin will be abundant in your body during pregnancy softening the joints and ligaments ready for childbirth, so it is really important to not overstretch or force into positions.
Lying on your back when pregnant is always a concern. Firstly for thousands of years women have lied on their backs with no problems at all; however the reason it is not recommended today is because it does not encourage the baby to get into the optimum birthing position or to get the optimum oxygen flow from the placenta, lying on your left side does. Lying on your left side is highly recommended for sleeping and resting and it is recommended to not lie on your back after the 20th week of your pregnancy.
Many women wake up on their backs and that is ok, don’t panic. If you do lie on your back place something under your knees so the weight is not so dense into your back. If you do have a choice, lie on your left side.
During the second trimester your belly will begin to show and bulge (and remember all bumps are different shapes and sizes), and you will begin to detect movement from your baby. Massaging your belly is vital now to help with reducing stretch marks and to help with elasticity.
You will have more energy during this 2nd trimester so will most likely feel like doing much more, especially if you had nausea in the first trimester! This is when prenatal yoga comes into its own! Many women feel abundant and bloom during this time and prenatal yoga will help you to feel even more fabulous.
Strong standing postures are used for strength and alignment, along with squatting with the ball to help open the hips and assist with a more natural birth! Lots of mobility for the hips is needed to prepare them for birth and helps to get the baby into the correct, preferred birthing position!
In your 3rd Trimester your belly will be big! Prenatal Yoga during the 3rd trimester is all about making you feel comfortable. Your body will be continuing to expand and stretch (make sure you are massaging), and there will be much more movement from your baby which is really visible now.
This is when you need to modify poses and positions to suit you! You can use pillows between your knees, chairs, bolsters, blankets and blocks. These will help to take pressure from your lower back, legs and heart.
Prenatal yoga during the third trimester helps to reduce fluid retention and cramping which can be common for women. Last and certainly not least, yoga at this point during pregnancy can shift and get the baby positioned correctly if it is not already. Certain positions really can turn baby’s.
It is important to mention here that you must not squat if your baby is in the breech position especially after 34 weeks!
Endless benefits include meeting other new mothers, sharing, gaining strength, gaining flexibility, relaxation and stress relief, mobilisation, connection to baby, time out, reduce inflammation and swelling, aid sleep, encourage better birthing position, keep fit, feel good about yourself and relief of nausea.