In my last article, Benefits of Prenatal Yoga, I discussed all the positive effects of yoga for pregnant women. In fact, it is so effective that there are prenatal poses, classes, and even teacher training certificates just for this specific type of yoga. Doing yoga during pregnancy is becoming more popular as it is a low-intensity exercise with major advantages for pregnant women.
Below you will find out how to do a prenatal yoga sequence safely, a prenatal yoga sequence for each trimester, and one of my favorite pregnancy yoga videos.
Is Prenatal Yoga Safe?
Before starting any new exercise while pregnant, consult your doctor or midwife to make sure you do not have any complications that may put you in danger.
If this is your first attempt at yoga, remember that you cannot jump right into a regular yoga class. The same goes for experienced pregnant women—you will have to adjust your routine and switch to a prenatal yoga sequence.
In either case, pay attention to your body and move slowly to see what is comfortable. This is not the time to see how far you can stretch, rather you want to find relief from pregnancy symptoms while preparing your mind and body for the mental and physical strain of labor.
Prenatal Yoga Poses to Avoid
Your body changes when you are pregnant, as I am sure you are well aware. This means there are certain poses you should skip.
- Replacement and Modification Poses– If you would like to stay in your current yoga class, then tell your teacher that you are pregnant. He/she can most likely offer you alternative prenatal poses that you can use. At home, use modified poses that adjust to your comfort level.
- No flat backs– As your uterus expands, it needs constant blood flow. Poses that have you lie flat on your back can restrict circulation to the uterus. Instead, lie on your left side when you need to relax or raise your hips with a pillow if necessary.
- Stay right side up – Poses that increase your chances of toppling over like headstands are not a good idea during any trimester. Your center of gravity shifts as your stomach grows, so balance is not your friend. Plus, you don’t want blood rushing to your head away from your uterus.
- Twist wisely – Extreme twisting can cause discomfort. When you do a twist pose focus on moving your back and shoulders and keep your stomach stationary. Go slowly and stop if you feel any pain or cramping.
- Mind your stomach –Putting pressure on the stomach should be avoided especially in the second and third trimester. This includes poses that either involves lying on your stomach or over-stretching it. Poses like cobra or bridge can be too strenuous on your shifting organs.
How Often Should I Do Prenatal Yoga?
Your frequency of yoga really depends on how you feel. It is recommended to get at least 20-30 minutes of light exercise a day while pregnant. You can alternate between walking, swimming, and yoga if this feels right for you. Doing yoga every day is not harmful and can really help with aches and pains as you enter your third trimester.
Prenatal Yoga by Trimester
The great thing about pregnancy yoga is that it is accommodating to all trimesters. Each stage of your pregnancy can involve yoga practice by making small adjustments to make sure you are comfortable and safe. Everyone and every trimester is different but understanding how your body is changing can help you decide what is beneficial and what can be harmful.
Prenatal Yoga Poses First Trimester
Once you find out that you are pregnant, you can continue yoga or begin yoga at this stage with some regulations. This is the most fragile time of your pregnancy, so it is necessary to be educated and aware of your movements. It is the period in which miscarriage is most common and when your body goes through the most drastic changes. So, simple asanas and meditational breathing may suit your needs during this time. Yoga in your first term of pregnancy can relieve fatigue, nausea, and headaches while promoting sufficient circulation and improving digestion.
Prenatal Yoga Poses Second Trimester
This term is considered the most blissful time of your pregnancy. You can take advantage of your boost of energy and liberation from morning sickness by adding a few more asanas to your prenatal yoga sequence. You can also increase your time spent on the yoga mat and turn up your intensity to where you still feel secure. Your focus during your second term should be on relieving your emerging back pain and beginning to open up your pelvis and hips.
Prenatal Yoga Poses Third Trimester
Near the end of the second term and the start of your third, you will begin to really feel the weight of your growing baby. Your flexibility due to your bump may hinder you from practicing your favorite poses like before. Also, your uterus is huge and can make it more difficult to breathe. Limit compressing your stomach by only going halfway into poses that require bending. Try poses that release pressure off your back and ribs while continuing to open your hips. Yoga can also be your preparation for controlled breathing during labor. Take deep, long breathes during your session to loosen tension in planning for the delivery time.
Pregnancy Yoga Videos
This kundalini pregnancy yoga video offers a variety of poses for all trimesters while emphasizing personal comfort and empowerment. It is one hour long, but the pace is slow and non-intimidating. You can skip poses that do not feel right or shorten the video to your needs. Remember yoga is more than an exercise, it is a time to bond and prepare yourself and your baby, so listen to your body when it speaks to you.
YogiSoul is not a healthcare provider and cannot offer medical advice. Please consult a professional before beginning any new exercise.