What to Expect of Yoga when You Are Expecting: Pregnancy Yoga 101
Pregnancy is one of the highlight’s of a woman’s life and this is the time when a woman would want to stay healthy both for herself and her baby. Pregnancy yoga is one way of bringing about these hopes whether one has been doing yoga for a long time or one is just doing it for the first time. Yoga can help a woman greatly prepare for childbirth and at the same time bond with other mothers-to-be. It is great way to stay shape and decrease problems for both the mother and the fetus.
A lot pregnant women who have first encountered yoga during their pregnancy find yoga to be a good way to stay fit compared to other forms of exercise. It is important however to be prepared for yoga sessions by reading about this form of exercise and asking experts. It is best to sign up in classes that are really intended for pregnancy because the instructors are bound to be prepared to train pregnant women. It is usually good to start pregnancy yoga early on, but those who can only have time to do yoga during the latter stages of pregnancy may still gain a lot of benefits.
Women who have been doing yoga for a long time are of course more entitled to continue their yoga practice. However, since there are many changes to be experienced during pregnancy, one may not be able to do the same yoga routines as before. What is important is to inform the instructor of the pregnancy so that he or she will know which precautions to take.
Safety During Pregnancy Yoga
Yoga is indeed beneficial for during pregnancy but it is expected for a pregnant woman to take the utmost care during exercising. Here are some safety tips for pregnancy yoga:
- When joining a normal yoga class (not a “Pregnancy Yoga” class) it is important to inform the teacher that you are pregnant and the trimester you are in.
- After your first trimester, avoid doing poses that require you to be on your back as it can limit the blood supply to your uterus.
- Do not do poses that require you to stretch your muscles too much, especially the abdominal muscles. Pregnancy increases the risk of strains and injuries due to the hormone relaxin, responsible for expanding the uterus and softening connective tissues.
- Beginning second trimester, standing poses should be done with the support of a chair or the heel against a wall because this is the time when the gravity center would change, making it more difficult to maintain balance.
- Veer away from Bikram yoga (yoga with heat) because it is easier to get overheated during pregnancy, and the heat can be dangerous for the fetus.
- Be aware of how your body feels. Stop immediately if you feel uncomfortable, faint, or hurt. You might need to adjust your poses to the changes of your body. Ask your instructor about easier versions of exercises.
- The pelvis should be kept in neutral position throughout poses. To do this you should engage your abdominals and tuck your tailbone slightly down and inwards. The buttocks should be relaxed to prevent or reduce pain on the hind legs and avoid injury to the tissues that keep the pelvis stabilized.
- During poses that require you to twist your body, use your shoulders and your back instead your waist to avoid pressure on your abdominal muscles. Twist only as far as it is comfortable, avoid deep twists because they can put unnecessary strain on you body.
Among the poses that are usually safe to do throughout one’s pregnancy are the Butterfly Stretch, Cobra (faced-down during the first trimester) , Side angle pose, Triangle pose with chair support, Cat-Cow, seated-forward bend, and the standing-forward bend with chair support. It is best to avoid backbends, the camel, headstands, upward bow, one-legged balancing without chair or wall support, and handstands.
Pregnancy yoga can be a very beneficial exercise for you and your baby. With proper execution and ample precautions you can keep yourself fit throughout your pregnancy. To know more about pregnancy yoga, consult a certified yoga instructor, especially one that is trained to handle pregnant students.