One thing we hear a lot from women who are pregnant regarding exercise, is that their healthcare provider told them to start up yoga as a great pregnancy friendly option for exercise. While there is a huge benefit, there are also some things that need to be clarified as well. There are many different types of yoga, and if this is your first time trying one while you are pregnant –look for a prenatal class or a studio that is well versed in helping pregnant woman as some of the poses can be counterproductive or even harmful while you are pregnant.
If you are a yogi already, you can continue with your normal practice with some modifications. This is not the time to be trying any advanced poses that may cause you to become unbalanced. Your body is producing a clever hormone called relaxin. This is fantastic prep for labor; however, it does mean you run the risk of over-stretching your muscles. So you have to be very careful and listen to your body and what it’s telling you.
Practices and poses to avoid:
- Hot yoga also known as Bikram
- Prone or belly down positions
- Full inversions – especially once baby is in position (head down), they might get confused and switch
- Closed Twists - Prenatal yoga is all about creating space for the baby. When you revolve certain poses, you instead minimize space for the baby. It can also affect blood circulation to bubs, so make sure to only do open twists. Simply put keep your tummy turning out not in.
- Major Backbends - playing with major backbends like Wheel after the first trimester runs the risk of over-stretching (or worse, tearing!) the abdominals.
While there are things to avoid, there is still so much you can do. Use yoga to prepare you for the marathon of labor. There are great poses that strengthen your legs, hips, hamstrings, as well as poses to open and increase flexibility.
We found a great prenatal yoga 101 video for you with some more tips on starting your yoga practice during pregnancy.