Whether you're new to yoga or an experienced yogini, practicing yoga is a wonderful way to take care of yourself and your growing little one. Not only will you experience peace and relaxation, but so will your babe. Many gentle types of yoga are appropriate and beneficial during pregnancy, but here are some things you should know if you are expecting . . .
- When you become pregnant, talk to your obstetrician or midwife about yoga whether you've been practicing for years or are thinking of starting. They'll most likely give you an enthusiastic "thumbs up," but it's always a good idea to make sure you don't have any health restrictions.
- If you've been practicing yoga for a while, it's safe to continue taking the same yoga classes. Just listen to you body, and don't do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable. On the other hand, if you're new to both pregnancy and yoga, take a prenatal yoga class instead of a regular one. The instructor will give you more individualized attention, and explain ways to do poses that will be safe for you during pregnancy.
- Prenatal yoga classes tend to focus on opening the hips, stretching the lower back, relaxation skills, and pranayama (breath exercises). So just be aware that you may not be moving a ton, but you'll definitely be breathing, and spending a lot of time in Wide Squat and Pigeon. By using and stretching the muscles you'll be needing during birth, you'll essentially be making labor easier.
- Drink plenty of water and be sure to get the extra 300 to 500 calories you need during pregnancy.
To hear the other important tips keep reading.
- Exercising while pregnant is not easy, so take breaks often to sip water, go the the bathroom, and just sit on your mat and breathe.
- You may want to avoid deep twists from the belly, jumping, deep back bending, holding your breath or rapid breathing (kapalabhati), abdominal work such as Boat pose, lying on your belly such as in cobra pose, Bikram/Hot yoga (you don't want to raise you body's core temp), and anything that causes pain or discomfort.
- Avoid lying flat on your back for longer than 10 minutes after the first trimester. This position can put pressure on a major vein called the vena cava which will diminish blood flow to your brain and uterus, and can make you dizzy.
- In the third trimester, it's recommended to avoid all inversions since your baby is getting ready to move into birthing position and you don't want to disrupt that.
- While pregnant, your body produces a hormone called relaxin which is intended to soften your inflexible bones and ligaments to make room for your growing baby and to prepare for birth. So avoid overstretching to prevent pulling a muscle.
- If there are no classes near you, check out a Prental Yoga DVD. I liked this one called Prenatal Yoga With Desi Bartlett.