Safety Tips For Prenatal Yoga
Some women are concerned about certain poses potentiallywrapping their babies up in the umbilical cord or making them uncomfortable inthe uterus, but thats not the case. A study that appeared in Obstetrics & Gynecology monitoredfetuses and women between 35 and 38weeks of pregnancy as they performed 26 different yoga poses. The study found:
- No changes in the babies heartrate
- No changes in fetal movement
- No changes in the womens heartrate, temperature, or oxygen levels in the blood
- No contractions, fluid leakage, orvaginal bleeding
The one form of yoga we recommend avoidingduring pregnancy is hot yoga, which is when yoga poses are performed in aheated studio. The effects of hot yoga havent been well studied in pregnantwomen, but research has shown that too much heat very early in pregnancy might increasethe risk of neural tube defects, a birth defect thatinvolves a malformation of the spine or skull. Later in pregnancy, bloodvessels dilate to get rid of excess heat, causing blood pressure to fall.
Most other forms of yoga are safe throughoutpregnancy, though you might need to modify your workout to accommodate yourgrowing belly and altered center of gravity. Talk to your nurse or doctor tolet them know you plan to do yoga during your pregnancy. Its usually noproblem, especially if youve been doing yoga before you got pregnant. However,there are some conditions that might warrant further precaution, such as:
Encourages You To Make Friends With Like
One of the greatest benefits of prenatal yoga may be joining a community with other expectant moms. “The class becomes a pregnancy support group of sorts, where women connect with other women who are making the same choices and lifestyles changes,” says Karen Prior, a prenatal yoga instructor in Oklahoma City and the creator of the Mamaste Yoga program. Sharing the pregnancy journey with new friends can help ease your anxiety about impending motherhood while also easing your back pain and calming your body.
Holly Lebowitz Rossi is a writer based in Arlington, Massachusetts. She writes the Parents News Now blog for Parents.com, and she is the co-author, with the yoga teacher Liz Owen, ofYoga for a Healthy Lower Back: A Practical Guide to Developing Strength and Relieving Pain.
So Why Do We Care About Modifying Or Avoiding Yoga Poses Altogether While Pregnant
The highest risk for miscarriage occurs in the first trimester. This is the time of embryo implantation and attachment of the placenta to the uterus. So, yoga poses to avoid when pregnant and in the first trimester might be worth exploring. While yoga is considered a form of healthy exercise to engage in during pregnancy, there are some yoga poses we may want to modify or avoid during pregnancy.
There are general recommendations for pregnant women, broken down by each trimester. For example, in the first trimester yoga poses to avoid during pregnancy are deep twists and those that engage the abdomen to curtail any potential impact on the implantation process. And, certain belly down poses like cobra might be fine as long as the lower belly is not compromised. Second trimester recommendations include spreading feet wide apart to make space for the growing belly and continuing to minimize deep, closed twists. By the third trimester, pregnant women should consider asana modifications that emphasize creating space for the belly and baby and avoiding compression of the belly. Supine poses at this stage should also be considered.
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Description Of Rcts And Controlled Studies Evaluating Yoga For Pregnancy
Rakhshani et al. evaluated the effects of integrated yoga on the quality of life and interpersonal relationships of 102 healthy pregnant women when compared to standard antenatal exercises, using an RCT design. The 16-week-long integrated yoga program went from the 20th to 36th weeks of gestation and included lectures, breathing exercises , physical postures , meditation , and a deep relaxation technique. The yoga group showed significantly greater improvements than the control group on the physical, psychological, environmental, and social domains of the World Health Organization Quality of Life Inventory as well as on the Expressed Inclusion and Wanted Control facets of the Fundamental Interpersonal Relationships Orientation questionnaire. Strengths of the study include an RCT design and a large sample size. The authors suggest that yoga is a noninvasive and cost-effective way of improving quality of life and interpersonal relationships during pregnancy.
The majority of women in the yoga group did not experience any contractions while practicing yoga, very few experienced a contraction once every 10 minutes, and about a fifth experienced a contraction once every 30 minutes. The authors conclude that a prenatal yoga program is safe for pregnant women and can reduce the discomforts of pregnancy and increase maternal self-efficacy and self-confidence, but an RCT design is needed to confirm these findings.
Prenatal Yoga Poses For Third Trimester:
- You need to steer clear of any poses that involve lying on your back. Instead, prop yourself up at an angle with blocks, bolsters, or pillows so that you are not flat on your back. If you are in savasana, you can lie on your left side in a fetal position to encourage better circulation for your baby.
- Do any balancing poses that you wish to do at a wall or with a chair. Your rapidly changing body will knock even the most centered yogi off balance at times.
- Concentrate on restorative moves that create space and make you feel great.
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Can Yoga Cause A Miscarriage
Yoga doesnt cause miscarriages, however if you are pregnant, practicing yoga and worry it might cause you a miscarriage, my advice is always: DONT PRACTICE. While it may be illogical that you think that, if you do think yoga increases your risk, then if you have a miscarriage you may blame yourself and your practice.
How To Safely Practice Yoga Throughout Your Pregnancy
Pregnancy is an exciting time. If it’s your first pregnancy, then for the very first time in your life, every decision you make affects not only you but also your precious cargo growing inside. All of a sudden, every morsel that you put into your body has a different meaning, and every move you make has the ability to affect the new life you’re growing.
What does this mean for your yoga practice? It depends. If you have a strong, consistent practice, not much has to change, but being pregnant is not the time to “go big” with new yoga poses that your body has never done before. While I always admire the courage of anyone trying to improve their practice, pregnancy is not the time to be introducing new, strenuous movements or routines into your life.
The core truths of yoga are: Listen to your body, stay true to you in every moment, be present, pay attention, be kind to yourself, and take deep breaths. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it!
So with that in mind, here are simple guidelines to keep you and your baby safe, happy, and healthy while still practicing yoga during pregnancy.
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Choosing To Continue Hot Yoga
According to birth doula and prenatal yoga teacher Natalie Edward, if you hope to continue taking part in hot yoga during pregnancy, you may do so safely as long as the following apply and your care provider is on board:
- You were practicing hot yoga prior to becoming pregnant.
- Your pregnancy is low-risk and there are no health concerns.
- You know how to modify your practice for pregnancy.
Hot yoga can provide a great workout, including such benefits as stress relief, improved muscle tone, and increased blood flow to the legs and arms. According to Edward, there are some personal benefits to continuing to practice such as being able to maintain a routine that supports your physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
During her own pregnancies, Edward continued to practice hot yoga. Her training as a yoga teacher made it easy for her to modify poses to suit her changing body. For example, Edward did malasana instead of forward fold and avoided reclined twists and deep core work.
I found it helped me stay more in tune with my body, even more than before pregnancy,” Edward says.
Of course, staying in tune meant honoring the need to set her own pace. “Toward the end of my pregnancies, I noticed that I had to move at a much slower pace than the rest of the class just because transitioning between poses took longer with a larger belly,” she says.
Staying Safe In A Prenatal Yoga Class
First and foremost: If you arent taking a yoga class thats specifically for pregnant women, let your instructor know youre expecting before you start class. That way shell be able to point out which moves you should avoid or modify. Otherwise, keep these tips in mind:
- Drink enough water. This goes for anytime youre working out, no matter how much of a sweat you break.
- Stay off your back. Avoid any exercises after the first trimester where youre lying on your back, since your babys growing weight puts pressure on your vena cava , interfering with circulation and making you feel dizzy and nauseous.
- Skip hot yoga. Dont do yoga in any extreme heat, in part because exposure to excessive heat could result in neural tube defects, and also because it can cause you to feel dizzy and nauseous. That goes for both Bikram yoga and exercise outdoors on a hot day.
- Avoid deep abdominal work, backbends and twists. Your center of gravity can be off during pregnancy, and backbends and twists may cause you to fall. As with most things during your pregnancy, if it doesnt feel right, dont do it.
If you experience any of the following symptoms, stop right away and call your doctor:
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Dismantling Approach: The Challenge Of Identifying The Critical Ingredients Of Yoga
The present paper evaluated the components of the various yoga interventions , which provides useful information on the quality, depth, and scope of each program. Given that the term yoga is broad and may denote any combination of the aforementioned components, it is important to operationally define what constitutes a yoga program in order to discern what is being evaluated. There is a debate in the field regarding the utility of a dismantling approach, as it does not acknowledge that yoga is inherently a holistic health practice and that such an approach will fail to capture its essential features or core mechanisms. This conflict reflects the different paradigms of yoga and science and their emphasis on holism and reductionism, respectively.
How Often Should You Do Yoga During Pregnancy
How often should I practise yoga during pregnancy? Most yoga experts believe that yoga should be practised daily. However, in reality, youll probably find that you only have time to go to a yoga class once or twice a week. Try to fit in regular aerobic exercise too, such as brisk walking or swimming.
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Benefits Of Being Physically Fit During Pregnancy
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists shares that there are numerous benefits to exercise during pregnancy. Along with maintaining your overall fitness and helping promote a healthy weight during pregnancy, being active may help you shed pounds faster after your baby is born.
- helps with aches and pains, like back pain
- promotes good digestion, easing constipation
- decreases the risk of potential health issues, including preeclampsia and gestational diabetes
- decreases your chances of delivering via cesarean section, also known as a C-section
- keeps your cardiovascular system strong
Experts from the ACOG recommend that you engage in moderate exercise for 150 minutes each week. This equates to five 30-minute sweat sessions throughout the week. How can you gauge your intensity? Well, you should be moving your body enough to raise your heart rate all while being able to carry a normal conversation.
Alternatively, you may also choose to do more vigorous exercise if youre used to it. Contact your OB for specific guidance given your background.
And if youre new to working out, start small and increase your exercise slowly for the best results. Even a 5- to 10-minute workout can benefit you, and you can build up to longer sessions as you become more comfortable.
While hot yoga may not be the most ideal pregnancy workout, the good news is that yoga in normal temperature rooms can be a great part of your routine.
Benefits include things like:
Pregnancy Yoga Tips By Trimester
Experts recommend getting physically active every day for at least 30 minutes and yoga certainly counts. Here are a few tips to maximize your time on the mat each trimester.
- First trimester: Since youre likely feeling more fatigued than usual, make sure to take breaks and modify your yoga positions. And if youre suffering from morning sickness, replace downward dog with hands and knees not because downward dog is unsafe, but just because having your head below your belly can make you feel more nauseous.
- Second trimester: If youre experiencing the typical second trimester energy surge, its a good time to master the stretching and strengthening moves including squats and stretches that tone the pelvic area and open the hips that will help prepare your body for labor.
- Third trimester: As your baby grows and your center of gravity moves forward, youre likely feeling increasingly uncomfortable. This makes your last few weeks of pregnancy a good time to focus on meditation and breathing techniques to calm your heartrate and help you to feel more centered. Doing so can help relieve any anxiety you might feel about your upcoming birth plus learning how to control your breathing now will pay off in labor and delivery .
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Pregnancy Yoga Exercise : Short Meditation
This short breathing exercise introduces you to your yoga session. You can do it seated cross-legged or standing. When standing, be careful not to make a hollow back. To avoid this, you can first let your pelvis rotate a little and find a relaxed position.
- Place your left hand on your heart and your right hand on your belly.
- Breathe calmly and deeply into your belly and scan your body from head to toe. Notice how you feel and let your breath flow calmly. If you discover any tension during your journey through your body, try to actively let go of it and relax that part of your body.
- When you are completely at peace with yourself and your baby, you can move on to the next asana.
Virasana With Goddess Arms
Mothering requires many hours of baby-holding. This simple pose will stretch and strengthen your upper back, shoulders, and arms to help prepare you.
Inhale and reach your arms out, bending the elbows slightly with your palms facing up. Start by holding this position for 1 or 2 minutes, and work up to holding it for 4 to 5 minutes. The hold is harder than it looks and requires strong mental focus. When you are feeling challenged, it may be helpful to remember that this posture prepares you to hold your sweet babythey start small, but they grow. Close your eyes and direct your awareness inward. Deepen the breath and visualize your baby floating inside of you. Use happy baby breathing to support you.
When youre ready, release your arms, hold on to opposite shoulders, and give yourself a massage to relieve tension.
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Exercise On A Yoga Ball Can Help Induce Labour
Does bouncing on a yoga ball help to induce labour? Absolutely!
Yoga ball exercises to induce labour have become really popular among women of all ages, because they help the baby turn and move easily into the birth canal. When your baby is in an optimal foetal position, your labour will likely begin.
Midwives have been using a yoga ball to induce labour for decades as a way of speeding up dilation and helping mothers move the baby down more easily into the pelvis. And once labour begins, a yoga ball can also be used to manage pain and find a more comfortable birthing position.
If youve ever wondered how yoga ball positions to induce labour work or how to sit on a yoga ball to induce labour, then heres what you should do:
This is actually one of the most common and popular yoga ball positions to induce labour. Before you baby is born they must be able to turn and move into the proper foetal position. Gentle up and down bouncing motions on a yoga ball can help move your babys head down the birth canal.
This also happens to be among the most popular yoga ball exercises to induce labour. Rocking can help the baby move into the optimal foetal position. Find a comfortable position, sit on the yoga ball and gently rock your pelvis back and forth, putting your weight first on your tailbone and then your pelvis.
Wall Supported Squats
A Healthier Happier Pregnancythrough Yoga
Yoga is a great way to relieve pain. Women whopractice yoga while pregnant can experience reductions in:
- Back pain
- Preeclampsia risk, or high blood pressureduring pregnancy
- Laborpain, potentially due to improved core strength
Unlike other forms of prenatal exercise, whichfocus on physical effects, yoga also has been shown to have many psychologicalbenefits for moms-to-be, such as lowering levels of anxiety and depression, which can help youhave a happier, more balanced pregnancy. While we dont recommend complicatedposes in the delivery room, the breathing and relaxation techniques can help relieve pain during labor.
After baby comes home from the hospital, yogahas been shown to reduce the effects of postpartum depression, aserious concern for many women. On the physical side, yoga can help withre-establishing core strength, which can minimize the risks of pelvic floordisorders related to childbirth.
These benefits can help you manage thestresses of work, life, and family concerns during and after your pregnancy. Socarve out an hour to focus on yourself and the new life youre creating itcan do so much good for you and your baby!
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