Nausea, fatigue, the constant need to pee. All of this can make maintaining an exercise routine while pregnant difficult, but studies show that women who remain active throughout their pregnancy boost their baby’s brain and heart health.
Yoga is a great exercise option during pregnancy. It can help battle mood swings, aching backs, and leg cramps. It improves sleep. And it increases the strength and flexibility of the muscles needed for childbirth.
Whether you’ve been practicing for years or are brand-new to yoga, talk to your doctor first and let your instructor know you’re expecting. He or she will be able to offer appropriate modifications and help you with some important do’s and don’ts.
General Considerations for Prenatal Practice:
- Remember to create space for the baby to grow even if you belly is still not showing (it might feel better to keep the feet hip or mat distance in poses like Mountain and Forward Fold).
- Avoid deep forward bends and deep twists, which can compress nerves and blood vessels connected to the uterus. Open twists – going in the opposite direction of the class – is a good alternative for deep twists. Keep the belly button in place and twist from the upper spine.
- Your center of gravity may shift forward, making balancing a challenge.
- Take your time transitioning between poses.
- Generally, pregnant women are advised to avoid lying on the back after the first trimester. Some women will be comfortable in this position longer. Listen to your body, talk to your instructor, and ask your doctor what’s best for you.
- If you’re not comfortable on your back or are not sure, play it safe in Savasana and take supported Supine Bound Angle or lay on your left side with a blanket or bolster between your thighs.