Yoga During Pregnancy: What You Need To Know
Yoga supports your changing body
“Yoga can be a great way of maintaining strength and flexibility throughout your pregnancy,” Leanne O’Brien Consultant Women’s Health Physio at Six Physio told Live Science. It also strengthens and tones important muscle groups, especially your hip and abdominal core muscles and pelvic floor in preparation for labor and delivery.
“However, its important to be mindful of how far youre stretching your joints when pregnant as youll naturally have more joint mobility due to a hormone called relaxin. This hormone encourages the joints around the pelvis to slacken slightly in preparation for vaginal delivery. Because of the additional mobility, youre more prone to over-stretching and potentially straining the muscles or ligaments.”
Start doing yoga in your second trimester
Although theres no evidence that yoga in your first trimester is harmful, its generally recommended that you should start in your second trimester. The British Wheel of Yoga recommends that you dont attend a yoga class before youre 15-weeks pregnant. “As your body changes during pregnancy, its important to adapt the practice as well. The most important thing is to start listening to what works and what doesnt because this can change daily,” Indaba Yoga Teacher, Giulia Lurza told Live Science.
Be aware of your changing body
Can I Do Yoga In First Month Of Pregnancy
In order to practice yoga safely throughout your first trimester, here are some general tips to follow. Poses that are both delicious and safe for you: Basic standing postures, such as the warrior poses, crescent lunge, and side angle stance, are particularly beneficial during the first trimester. Balancing positions while standing are also safe during the first trimester of pregnancy.
For Getting Centered: Calming Breath Practice
More recommends starting a prenatal practice in a seated position, such as Sukhasana , and simply focusing on your breath for a few minutes. There can be so much anxiety with all the tests youre getting and all the newness and the huge transformational time this is, so breathing is one of the simplest and most important things you can do to start to find balance, More says.
Tune into your breath and simply observe each inhale and exhale. Notice any rising and falling of your belly. After a few minutes, you can start moving in a gentle rocking motion along with your breath, which should help deepen it and give you a focus to help quiet the mind chatter and activate your parasympathetic nervous system to give you a sense of calm. You can also start moving your head and shoulders, doing some gentle side bends and moving your hands behind you for a gentle backbend.
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If You Are New To Yoga
Many women who have never done yoga before find that it is an ideal form of exercise during their pregnancies and beyond. When looking for a class, stick to those labeled “prenatal yoga,” as their teachers will be best able to instruct you appropriately.
If you do go to a regular class, be sure to tell the teacher you are pregnant. Some women only have the opportunity to take up prenatal yoga in the third trimester. You will still benefit from the classes if this is your situation, but the earlier in your pregnancy you can start, the better.
Is Yoga Safe At 6 Weeks Pregnant
Prenatal yoga is a comprehensive approach to fitness that involves stretching, mental centering, and concentrated breathing, similar to other forms of birthing preparation sessions. According to research, prenatal yoga is safe and can provide a variety of advantages to both pregnant mothers and their unborn children.
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To Twist Or Not To Twist
You may have heard that twists are a no-no during pregnancy, but that is not strictly true. Open twists towards the third trimester are generally OK with your doctor’s approval and they will most likely feel great.
Twisting should be done from the shoulders, as opposed to from the abdomen. Continue to ensure that your entire baby bump stays open and does not fold or bend at all. “Instead of twisting, think about gently rotating only the upper back and broadening your collar bones,” explained Leah Keller, founder of Every Mother and certified personal trainer.
During the first trimester, however, it is advisable to avoid twists altogether. Twists can cause uterine contractions.
Early on in pregnancy, when your developing baby is the smallest and the risk of miscarriage is the highest, twists are not considered safe.
Bikram Yoga Or Hot Yoga
The Bikram yoga or commonly known as the hot yoga should be immediately stopped by a woman when she becomes aware that she has conceived. Hot yoga, as the name implies, is practiced in a hot room . Since the body of the pregnant woman during the first trimester undergoes several changes, like the placing of the egg and making space for the egg, this exercise is harmful to the unborn baby in the womb of the woman. Practicing this yoga will lead to a rise in the body temperature of the woman and this will harm the child in the womb. Due to the high temperature, dehydration may occur in women.
This is extremely harmful to the baby as the first three months are critical for the baby. It is during this time that they are placed in the womb and gradually develop with the passage of months. Practicing this yoga has also led to dizziness in many women. During pregnancy, the bodies of the women undergo vast hormonal changes. This changes and the heat leads to dizziness and feelings of unease in the individual. So, hot yoga poses are one of the most important yoga poses to avoid during pregnancy.
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Yoga During Pregnancy In The First Trimester
Prenatal yoga is a great way to stay healthy during your pregnancy. It can help you improve your flexibility, strength, and balance. Yoga also helps to relieve stress and tension.
In the first trimester of pregnancy, yoga can benefit you on so many levels! The first trimester of pregnancy can be a trying time on your mind and body.
You might be overwhelmed by any number of emotions. Positive or negative, they are still pretty overwhelming!
You are probably exhausted, nauseous, and more, and yoga can help you through it.
Pregnancy yoga is a great way to connect with your body and your growing baby.
Practicing yoga during pregnancy in the first trimester can benefit:
- Your strength
What Kind Of Yoga Should I Do In Pregnancy
If youre new to yoga, look for a class that is specific for pregnant women. If youve been doing yoga for a while, tell your yoga teacher you are pregnant they may be trained to show you how to adapt your postures. Focus on improving your yoga technique while youre pregnant this is not the time to try new and advanced postures.
As you move into the middle months of pregnancy and your baby grows, your centre of gravity will shift because your bump is getting bigger. This means youre more likely to lose your balance, so take care and move slowly when practising yoga. For standing postures, use support if you need to a wall or a chair, for instance.
There are many styles of yoga and if you choose to start practising yoga in pregnancy you are likely to be directed to the more gentle, slower paced styles such as hatha. Avoid yoga that takes place in heated rooms, such as Bikram you could overheat.
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Abdominal Work In Pregnancy
“Poses create unnecessary compression and restrict blood flow,” said Guvenc, explaining that, “They can exacerbate mechanical strains on the body and contribute to conditions such as diastasis recti, when the abdominal muscles split in pregnancy.”
Poses to avoid in this category include:
For General Discomfort: Belly Breathing
Belly breathing can help minimize your discomfort during daily movements, such as getting out of bed or in and out of the car. Belly breathing helps you connect to the layers of your core and draw your abdominals in gently to feel more support, Geers says.
After taking some grounding breaths in Sukhasana , place your hands out toward the sides of your belly. On an inhalation, feel your belly swell into your hands. On the exhalation, draw your fingers in toward your navel and sense that youre hugging in around your belly, like youre giving baby an internal hug, Geer says. You can also try making a shhh or haa sound on the exhale to feel how your abdominals have to draw in slightly to make this soundthats the gentle engagement youre going for. As you hug in, youre engaging your transverse abdominis, the deep abdominal muscles that wrap around your torso like a corset. On each exhale youre gently fastening the corset for support, Geer says, which can be especially helpful if youre experiencing back pain or round ligament pain. Continue this breathing pattern for three to five minutes use it throughout your yoga practice and your day.
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Yoga In The Third Trimester
In third-trimester yoga, your belly gets to be a big factor, prompting more adaptations to make room for it in standing poses.
Taking a wider stance makes you more stable, which is helpful because you want to avoid anything that could make you fall. For that reason, inversions are discouraged at this point in the pregnancy.
A 2015 research study was the first to monitor the fetus during the performance of yoga poses in the third trimester. It found no evidence of fetal distress in any of the 26 postures attempted, including downward facing dog and savasana. However, these poses may still feel uncomfortable at some point, and it’s fine to avoid them.
Yoga In The Second Trimester
The second trimester is the ideal time to start prenatal yoga. You’re probably past the worst of your morning sickness if you had any. Your belly is starting to make an appearance, so you’re in greater need of pregnancy-specific poses and advice.
As your uterus expands, it’s time to stop doing any poses where you are lying on your belly. Also avoid deep twists, which are not very comfortable at this point.
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What Prenatal Yoga Can Do For You
When youre pregnant, it may sometimes feel like your body has been taken over by an alien. All the things you thought you knew about yourself go out the window as your body does its amazing work. Change that is out of your control can lead you to feel disconnected from your sense of self.
In yoga, it’s often said that your body is different every time you get on the mat. You work on accepting that change is constant. In pregnancy, this is doubly true. Yoga helps you reconnect with your body and embrace its journey.
Prenatal yoga classes help prepare you for the birthing process and allow you to enjoy the company of other pregnant women. This fosters a valuable sense of community. Many new moms’ support systems and toddlers’ playgroups have emerged from the bonds forged in prenatal yoga.
Twisting Poses Yoga Poses To Avoid During Pregnancy
Revolved triangle, half prayer twist, and chair twist are some of the twisting poses that a pregnant woman should avoid. These poses include the twisting of the abdomen part of the body along with the other parts of the body. It is best to avoid the twisting poses that require one to twist the abdomen. Poses which focus on twisting the head and shoulders can be practiced instead. Twisting of the abdomen area may lead to putting pressure on the uterus. Revolved side angled asana which is also known as parivrtta parsvakonasana involves twisting of the body sideways. The revolved triangle pose known as parivrtta trikonasana is one of the yoga poses to avoid during pregnancy so that pressure is not put on the uterus and chances of miscarriage are reduced.
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First Trimester Donts: Contraindicated Poses
Pregnant women should avoid most inversions because you dont want to encourage circulation away from the uterus. And because of the low blood pressure pregnant women usually experience, inversions can cause dizziness. The one exception, however, is Adho Mukha Svanasana , which is fine for short periods of time. Because of the physical demands during the first trimester, these women should not do high-energy sequences such as intense vinyasa series and Sun Salutations with jump-backs. Avoid teaching them most backbends because these stretch the abdominal muscles too much.
Why You Might Want To Try Prenatal Yoga
It’s good for you and your baby to get at least 30 minutes of movement each day. You don’t need to do extensive workouts to see the benefits of exercise. Prenatal yoga is a low-impact fitness routine that can help improve your mood and sleep, increase your strength and flexibility, and decrease lower back pain and other common symptoms of pregnancy.
More benefits of doing prenatal yoga include:
Reduces stress and symptoms of depression and anxiety. The combination of intentional movement and structured breathing can help alleviate symptoms of depression. Breathing in slow, rhythmic breaths activates the nervous system and blocks cortisol, which, in high amounts, has been linked to depression.
Improves blood flow. The stretching and movements in yoga help increase blood flow to your heart. Improved blood flow means more oxygen-rich blood is going to your baby. This keeps your baby on track for healthy development.
Betters your labor experience. Starting prenatal yoga in any trimester can help you better relax and stay positive once you go into labor. Meditation and breathing exercises have been shown to reduce pain and anxiety during labor. Being confident and building your coping abilities will also help you have a less painful labor experience.
Yoga During Each Trimester
The further along you are in your pregnancy, the less intense your workouts should be.
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Why You Need To Modify Your Yoga Practice During The First Trimester
Even if no one is yet able to tell that youre pregnant, your body undergoes numerous changes.
In order for your uterus to expand and for your body to support the development of your baby, both your estrogen and progesterone levels increase.
Your body also starts releasing relaxin, a hormone that relaxes your joints and muscles. Its needed to create more space for your baby and, eventually, for an easier delivery.
This means that your flexibility increases. And you can also easily overstretch yourself if you are not careful.
hCG, the hormone that makes the second strip on pregnancy tests show up, can also mess with your well-being. Although it is not completely sure what causes morning sickness, scientists speculate that its the high levels of hCG.
Morning sickness can drastically decrease your willingness to do anything. And so can fatigue. Many women feel exhausted during pregnancy, especially the first trimester.
So, you need to be mindful of these changes and how you are feeling and adapt your yoga practice accordingly.
Dont Be Afraid To Slow Down Or Skip Your Practice Altogether
Make sure that your ego doesnt get in the way when you practice yoga.
Your body has excellent muscle memory and, even if you lower your intensity and lose some strength and muscle mass, youll be able to recover that after pregnancy.
Feel free to slow down, rest in Childs Pose, attend a lower intensity class, or skip a class altogether if you need rest.
You can join a Prenatal Yoga class instead of going to regular yoga. Or you can simply drop your intensity level if you do not want to go to Prenatal Yoga that or if its not available in your area.
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Third Trimester Yoga Tips
Continue to use the tips from the first and second trimester suggestions above.
It is generally recommended to avoid all inversions by this stage, as it could affect the babys positioning once the baby is head down in the uterus. Inversions also may not feel very good at this time, as they can exacerbate common third-trimester symptoms like heartburn.
Faster-paced classes may feel uncomfortable now, as the baby’s larger size makes it harder to catch your breath. Toward the end of pregnancy, you may decide to slow the pace and intensity of your asana practice, focusing more on specific prenatal postures and breath work in preparation for labor and delivery. You may want to sit on blocks or bolsters in poses like malasana , or practice goddess pose or a wide-legged utkatasana against a wall. Slow, deep, and meditative pranayama practices can help keep your nervous system grounded during labor and delivery. The last trimester may be a good time to focus on gentle pelvic floor awareness practices as well, as these exercises focus on important muscles that aid in delivery.
Most importantly, enjoy experimenting with your asana practice during this very joyous time!
Modifications And Poses To Avoid
Many prenatal adaptations are designed to accommodate a big belly and prevent compression of the uterus, issues that start to become relevant in the second trimester. During the first trimester, the uterus remains fairly small and the fetus is very well protected by the pelvis and amniotic fluid.
So, being stomach-down on the floor is still okay. However, if you have morning sickness you may want to avoid this position as it might trigger nausea.
The rapid hormonal changes that occur in pregnancy are likely to impact your practice, affecting your balance, flexibility, and ease getting into and out of poses. So, even if you’re an experienced yogi, approach each pose with fresh eyes and a bit of caution, especially as all that relaxin can make it easier to overstretch.
If you feel any discomfort, even in the first trimester, you may want to avoid those poses that feel off-putting. Most of all, remember you don’t need to try to advance your practice, but rather focus on becoming more in tune with your body and really listen to what it wants to do.
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