If you’re looking for a way to stay active and fit throughout your pregnancy, prenatal yoga is a fantastic option. It’s both gentle and low impact while offering a host of mental and physical health benefits.
In this guide, we’ll break down everything you need to know about yoga during pregnancy, including:
Table of Contents
Prenatal yoga utilizes many of the same poses and techniques you see in regular yoga, but with a gentler approach. It emphasizes mental centering, breath awareness, and gentle stretching. A strong focus is also placed on poses that strengthen the muscles and tendons used to support pregnancy, labor, and delivery.
Some poses should be avoided in prenatal yoga, while others can be modified for safety and comfort as your pregnancy progresses. Props may also be utilized for certain poses to prevent injury and overstretching, especially in the second and third trimesters.
When paired with low-impact cardio exercises like walking or swimming, prenatal yoga is a great way to stay in shape and avoid unhealthy weight gain during your pregnancy. Prenatal yoga will keep your muscles toned while improving circulation, balance, and flexibility without putting strain on your joints.
During a prenatal yoga class, you will be taught deep breathing exercises that will help you relax during labor and delivery.
If you’re stressed during labor, your body may produce more adrenaline and less oxytocin, which is the hormone that helps your labor progress. With regular prenatal yoga practice, you will be better prepared to relax, which can help you cope with pain and possibly help labor move more quickly.
If you’re dealing with headaches, insomnia, nausea, lower back pain, or shortness of breath during your pregnancy, yoga can be super helpful. When you stretch and strengthen your muscles, you improve blood circulation which promotes healing.
Deep breathing also improves oxygen flow to your muscles, which reduces aches and pains. And the meditative aspects of yoga reduce stress, which can be beneficial on so many levels.
The benefits of prenatal yoga aren’t just physical or mental. Prenatal yoga classes can offer emotional support and help you stay motivated to keep active throughout your pregnancy. It’s a great way to connect with a community of pregnant women in a supportive, positive environment.
If you can do only one pose during your pregnancy, go for Goddess. It strengthens legs and the hips, opens the inner groin, and teaches you to breathe through challenges. Plus, it turns into a real burner when held for a minute, giving you a sense of accomplishment.
This simple flow is great for reducing tension in the spine. Do it in the morning, in the evening, and any time you need to relax and limber up.
This pose is fantastic for reducing tension in the lower back and torso. Plus, as you belly grows you'll start feeling more and more constriction in the ribs and intercostal muscles - one more reason to stay in this lovely stretch for a little longer.
For a little spin on traditional Bridge, try squeezing a block between your thighs. This deceiving easy variation increases core stabilization and activates the pelvic floor. It can also help relieve pain in the hips and lower back.
This strong yoga pose opens up the hips and strengthens the legs. Feel free to have fun with it. Lower your back knee down for a gentler variation or get your heart rate up by dipping your knee and lifting it up.
Avoid the risk of complications during the pregnancy - here are most common prenatal no-no's.
Your body goes through some pretty dramatic changes during pregnancy, and the way you exercise should, too.
When it comes to prenatal yoga, making certain modifications to your practice will help you avoid injury and keep you and your baby safe as your pregnancy progresses.
If you only take one thing away from this article, it should be to listen to your body.
If a pose doesn’t feel right, stop and reassess. Maybe that pose needs to be modified to accommodate your pregnancy, or maybe it simply isn’t right for you at all right now. At the end of the day, your safety and the safety of your unborn baby are what’s most important.