Most yoga postures during pregnancy are safe, but others should be either modified or avoided. There is no doubt that yoga helps you stay healthy during your pregnancy, but you should always be cautious when doing yoga while pregnant.
Yoga is about paying attention to how your body feels, particularly now that you are pregnant. Yoga postures during pregnancy allow you to connect with your growing baby and your changing body. With prenatal yoga you move with ease as you gain awareness of space and time.
As you ease your body into each yoga posture, you connect through your breathing with the harmony of the universe achieving a deep state of relaxation, focus and balance.
It is all right to perform yoga poses that:
1. Increase your posture, like the Tree pose and the Hero pose.
2. Help make room for baby, like Cat-and-Cow
3. Strengthen your legs, like Warrior II
4. Help you relax, like the Child pose, the Lotus pose.
5. Open up your pelvis in preparation for labor, like the Bound-Angle pose and the Butterfly pose.
1. Cobra Pose:
Perform the cobra yoga pose only during your first trimester, as your belly starts growing, stop doing this pose. Avoid completely if you are expecting twin.
2. Seated Forward Bend:
This pose should be performed modified in second and third trimester. Do not go too far down as you bend forward, leave room for your belly.
3. Standing Forward Bend:
Do not perform this posture if you have high blood pressure. Use a chair for support during your second and third trimester.
4. Triangle Pose:
Most women can perform this pose easily up until the second and part of the third trimester. Use a chair or a block and do not go as far down on the floor.
5. Down Facing Dog:
Do not perform in third trimester. If you have low blood pressure, avoid this pose.
1. Back bends
3. Forward bends
5. Balance Poses
6. Any pose that can press over your belly
7. Any poses that strains your back like warrior I ( third trimester)
8. Down-facing poses.
9. Extending poses
10. Fully reclined poses
The following are some general rules for practicing yoga postures during pregnancy:
1. Ask your doctor or midwife before practicing yoga during pregnancy.
2. If you have never done yoga before, only follow a specific prenatal yoga program designed for pregnancy women.
3. If you have been doing yoga to get pregnant, like fertility yoga, continue doing prenatal yoga.
4. If you are an expert yogi, you may continue to practice yoga during pregnancy, but reduce the intensity. Most yoga postures during pregnancy should be performed modified.
Yoga, Hormones and Pregnancy
You will be experiencing mood swings as your hormones adjust to these changes. If you feel tired, sad, nauseous, and have difficulty sleeping, yoga can help you.
While pregnant your body goes through many important changes. Most of these changes are orchestrated by your hormones. For example, during your first trimester, the corpus luteum is in charge of secreting the pregnancy hormone, hcg. Only during the second trimester the placenta takes over this important function.
Because of this, you are at higher risk of losing your pregnancy during the first trimester. Do not perform activities, including yoga postures that cause jarring, jumping and twisting. You do not want to disrupt the difficult task of implantation.
Another reason why you should perform your yoga postures during pregnancy modified is because your body produces the hormone relaxin, which relaxes the joints. The consequence is that you may over extend certain positions and harm yourself.
Relaxin is secreted by the corpus luteum and reaches its peak within 14 days of ovulation, declining if pregnancy does not occur. If you get pregnant, relaxin increases reaching its peak in the first trimester and during labour. The role of relaxin is to relax the pelvic ligaments to make room for the growing baby and also to help softening of the pubic symphysis at delivery.
Drink Plenty Of Water
Always keel well hydrated while practicing yoga, if you are dehydrated, your baby will suffer. Especially during your third trimester, if you notice that your baby's fetal movements decrease, make sure to drink more water.
All yoga postures during pregnancy include diaphragmatic breathing. This helps increase blood flow to the placenta and to the baby. Correct yoga breathing helps eliminate old stagnant energy and helps breathe in new clean energy your body needs to nurture your baby.
Breathing with your diaphragm causes your ribs to expand out to the sides, while your abdomen, chest and shoulders remain firm. While doing yoga postures during pregnancy make sure to:
1. Breathe smoothly with a steady flow of breath going in and out of your nose.
2. Never strain yourself during breathing. Inhale and exhale with ease during each pose.
3. Take deep, never shallow breaths. Do not hyperventilate.
4. Allow your exhalations to be twice as long as your inhalations during yoga practice.
Experts know that breathing during yoga poses helps supports and revitalize the immune system, the circulatory system, the endocrine system, the digestive system, and the nervous system.
When performing your yoga postures during pregnancy never hold your breath or breathe faster. If this happens, come out of the pose and rest.
Always check your breathing and make sure it is always, slowly and relaxed without effort.
Correct breathing during yoga in pregnancy is important to:
Use Yoga To Relax
When you are in your first trimester, I would recommend to do only relaxation yoga poses. During your first trimester, the embryo implants itself in the lining of the uterus and continues to develop and grow. During this time there is a higher risk of miscarriage, so be very gentle with your body. Pregnancy is a time of nurturing.
When you practice yoga postures during the first trimester avoid:
Support Your Blood Sugar
During pregnancy, the blood volume increases of 40-60 % to support the placenta that brings nourishment through the blood to your growing baby. You notice that your resting heart rate increases. That's why you need to slow down and take it easy.
During the second and third trimester, your body uses blood sugar faster because it is needed to support the baby. That's why you should always eat small and frequent meals during pregnancy to avoid low blood sugar episodes.
When pregnant, never practice yoga on a completely empty stomach or a fast, like early in the morning.
It is a good idea to eat a snack 1 hour before practicing yoga. Always try to have a bit of protein to help keep your blood sugar levels steady. If your blood sugar drops or fluctuates suddenly, you may feel lightheaded.
During your third trimester balance postures become a challenge. Always keep a chair next to you when doing yoga at home to help you support your balance.
Avoid Lying On Your Back
Once you reach your sixth month of pregnancy, avoid lying on your back. Lying on your back for long periods of time, including sleeping, puts pressure on the vena cava. This is a large vein that travels along your spine and turns around your uterus. The weight of the baby on this vein can decrease the amount if blood that flows back to your uterus.
Most yoga classes encourage pregnant women to lie on the left side using pillow as prop to relax at the end of each yoga practice.
Follow A Prenatal Yoga Program
If you want to use yoga postures during pregnancy, follow a good prenatal program. This Prenatal Yoga DVD was designed specifically for Moms-to-be at every stage of their pregnancy.
As you practice yoga with this DVD, certified yoga instructor and neurophysiologoist, Ann Davis, takes you through the poses often making references to your growing baby helping you develop a deep connection with your unborn child before birth.
The yoga poses are easy to follow and safe for all stages of pregnancy with props, even if you have never do e yoga before. I especially like the "hip opening" series, as this type of postures will increase your flexibility help you prepare for a easier birthing process.
I recommend you try it and I am positive that you will love it as much as I do.