I’ve been doing yoga for around 10 years now and when I got pregnant I didn’t even think about stopping. I know that yoga has so many benefits for everyday life and of course there are some major pluses for you and your little one even before they are born!
At the time I was preggo I was doing Bikram yoga. For those of you that don’t know, Bikram is a series of postures created by Bikram the man, and those 26 postures are done in a room heated around 110 degrees Fahrenheit. If you haven’t done Bikram before, then you shouldn’t start when you are pregnant. The heat takes a bit of getting use to! But don’t worry because there are so many options out there. Many studios have prenatal specific classes and if not don’t be afraid to ask. Maybe the teacher can show you some adjustments you can do in a normal flow.
For anyone that is interested, you should try to do prenatal yoga at least once a week. It isn’t just about keeping fit during pregnancy, in fact, women should avoid “working out”. The first thing to realize is that you have to gain weight to stay healthy. You don’t want to pack on the pounds, but you shouldn’t try to loose any either. Your yoga practice can help with breathing techniques, sleep, stress, pain and even nausea!
How can yoga help your pregnancy?
breathing: you will be taken through a flow of postures and during those, as well as in a resting pose, you will be encouraged to find a strong breath. Sometimes when we are in pain, or even when stressed, we forget to breathe. Practicing a relaxed breath really helped my labor. It relaxed me, gave me a point of focus or a meditative focus, and helped during pushing.
stretching: An obvious benefit, but an essential one! You will get a gentle stretch geared towards helping you during labor and with pregnancy pains. There are a lot of hip openers as well as gentle back bends, stretches for that sciatic nerve, and for your back! (Carrying all that baby weight is a killer).
You might find that postures which were easy for you before are more challenging, and vice versa. As you become more advanced with your pregnancy, it might become more challenging to do even light stretching; but don’t give up! Sit and take as many breaks as you like, and always remember to breathe!
relaxation:. Your practice will help you to relax and find relief from everyday stress. Find moments throughout your day to stop and meditate. Talk to your baby when you do this or play music. When you are relaxed, so is the baby. Research has shown that if you are stressed out, so is your baby!
Meet other mom-to-be’s: I’m sure everyone is asking you about being pregnant. When are you due? What’s the sex? What’s the name? Can I touch your belly? Are you scared? Prenatal yoga is full of other ladies going through all the same things, and you can chat all about your experiences together, or just about how to avoid getting your belly manhandled by strangers 🙂
It’s always good to have a network of friends/moms for advice or a good class.
*Remember, you don’t have to go to a prenatal class and rock every posture. You can leave to go to the bathroom, drink lots of water, or just take a child’s pose or lotus and breathe.
*Some women will have low blood pressure as a result of pregnancy, so just be careful when going from a sitting to standing or upright position. It can leave you feeling a bit lightheaded.
*if you don’t feel up to making it to a class you can always stretch at home, even if its a 10 minute deal, you will feel a lot better and have more energy for the day.
I will be posting a video with some great postures that you can do at home when you are pregnant.
I went to yoga 4xs a week up to the week before I gave birth. I didn’t go for the first trimester as much because my midwife wanted to be sure I didn’t elevate my temperature too high before the baby’s spinal column was completely formed. Some people think that this causes spinal bifida, a congenital disorder where the spine doesn’t fuse closed and can grow into the bone or have a fluid sac. This is not proven to cause this disorder, and I know many people who did Bikram during that time with no complications, but I felt I should respect my doctors advice/recommendations and we agreed I could continue the hot yoga practice after that period as long as I had access to a window or the door, could leave class, and the teachers kept an eye on me. If you have any questions or concerns just ask your doctor and/or yoga teacher how they feel about it. It’s always good to check in with both throughout pregnancy to make sure everything is going smoothly, and they might tell you to keep up the good stretching, or even to stop. It all depends on the person and their individual experience. And I was lucky to have a team of really great caring individuals supporting me throughout!
I never tried to push myself too far. As I said before, it wasn’t about a work out. I wanted to keep healthy and stretch!
I actually felt my baby kick a lot during practice and now that she’s here she loves when I stretch her legs or hold out her arms… she’s a yogi baby after all!