Pregnancy Yoga Classes - Must Know Guidelines for Every Trimester

prenatal exercise Aug 28, 2020
 

Are Pregnancy Yoga Classes for You?

Online pregnancy yoga classes are really popular right now as we all want to avoid the gym and stay safe. But please read this is you start a workout. The way you workout will impact on your health and also your growing baby's health.

I have been teaching yoga to all women, including pregnant women, for nearly fifteen years. For me, practicing yoga throughout my pregnancy definitely helped me during childbirth and also with my postpartum recovery.

Ready for a Yoga Workout Right Now?

Try my 20 minute yoga video workout above.

Here's what I want you to know.

The biggest piece of advice I want to give you is this. The yoga class you join MUST be taught by a qualified and experienced prenatal yoga instructor. If what you are doing feels uncomfortable, please stop or chat to your instructor.

Why?

Because many of the exercises you do in a regular yoga class may no longer be suitable when you are pregnant. In fact, some positions could cause harm to your baby.

Lying on your back can compress the vena cava and cause problems.

For example.

Yoga poses to avoid when pregnant:

1. Head-stands

2. Upward bow

3. Back-bends

4. Balancing on one leg

5. Camel

6. Hand-stands

Seems pretty obvious, right?

Well, I have seen some instructors in classes and online videos teaching these poses to pregnant women.

Please stop!

Try the cat cow instead! And avoid deep twists. Try lie more on your left side. There are some great poses for hip openers. And only perform recommended prenatal yoga poses; if it feels uncomfortable then stop.

Benefits of Yoga During Pregnancy

There are many benefits for practicing prenatal yoga as you progress through each week. There are many benefits of exercising during pregnancy.

........as long as you take certain precautions.

During pregnancy your body goes through many changes, which creates stress on you mentally and physically. A way to maintain a healthy mind and body is yoga.

Yoga Classes have a Social Benefit

After my classes, I know a lot of the women catch-up for a coffee or at the local park. This only adds to the sense of belonging and knowing you have the support there when needed.

Taking a prenatal yoga class is also a great way to meet other moms-to-be and embark on this journey together.

Benefits of Yoga

1. Develops stamina and strength.

2. May help to improve balance.

3. Relieves lower back pain.

4. Calms the nervous system.

5. Helps you to mentally prepare for childbirth.

6. Allows you to workout with other pregnant women.

7. Increases circulation.

8. Practice breathing techniques for childbirth.

9. Yoga can increase the nutrient and blood supply to your body's muscles.

10. Improve the way you move, function and feel.

11. Hip openers.

Guidelines for Pregnancy Yoga

1. Ultimately, it's about listening to your body.

2. When something doesn't feel right, then don't push it.

3. At anytime if you feel any discomfort, stop.

4. If at anytime you feel pain, stop.

5. Always let your instructor know which trimester you're in.

6. When attending a non-prenatal yoga class, let your instructor know.

7. Avoid poses on your back after the first trimester.

Why?

Because it can reduce blood flow to the uterus.

8. Avoid poses that stretch the muscles too much, especially your abdominals.

9. Due to the pregnancy hormone relaxing, you are now more susceptible to for strains, pulls, and other injuries.

10. You must avoid losing your balance as this may cause harm to both you and baby. Later on in your pregnancy, your center of gravity really starts to shift.

11. Try using a chair for support.

12. Avoid Bikram or hot yoga.

13. Overheating can endanger the health of your growing baby.

Workout Considerations

It is important that you consult with your health care professional. I want you to do this before beginning any fitness program. Including this workout prenatal yoga video.

It is your responsibility to be mindful of your current health. Also, any restrictions that are appropriate for you.

Seek medical attention immediately if there are any unanticipated changes to your physical condition.

Why are At-Home Yoga Workouts Important?

Quite simply because you are busy, pregnant, experiencing uncomfortable body changes and being able to exercise at home in privacy is a great option to have. 

Being able to workout at home has numerous benefits. You can workout in privacy. You don't have to worry about getting a spot in a class. AND, you can do a session when it suits YOU!

Do I Need Previous Yoga Experience?

It certainly does help if you performed yoga before getting pregnant. A qualified prenatal yoga instructor will help you to integrate into their class.

So, you can join in a yoga class if you don't have any experience but be sure to pay attention to how your body is feeling.

It is vital to be careful during your first trimester when the chance of miscarriage is higher.

What Should You Bring to Class?

Most classes can provide you with the required equipment including mats. I would recommend that you buy your own yoga mat for hygiene reasons.

Also, I want you to buy an approved yoga mat free from toxic chemicals.

Remember to take a water bottle so you can keep it handy with you at all times. And don't forget your towel!

What Should I Wear to My Yoga Class?

This choice will vary with each person. Your body changes every week of pregnancy. So, your workout gear must also take this into account.

There is some maternity yoga wear you can buy where the elastic adapts to your growing belly. If at home you just want to wear comfortable pair of sweatpants and a t-shirt. Why not!

So, wear what is comfortable for you. As long as it doesn't inhibit your poses.

What Research Says About Doing Yoga when Pregnant

1. Yoga has been shown to ease stress and anxiety during pregnancy.

2. Yoga has also shown to reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

3. Yoga during pregnancy can be effective for reducing depression.

4. When started early in the pregnancy, it can help you mentally.

5. Yoga can also reduce pain and discomfort.

6. Yoga can improve overall quality of life during pregnancy.

10 Safe Yoga Poses when Pregnant

1. Easy pose (Sukhasana)

Prenatal Yoga exercise Easy Pose Sukhasana

Sukhasana Benefits

a. Strengthens muscles of the back

b. Improves body posture.

c. Relaxing effects on mind and body.

d. Works as a preparatory pose for more difficult meditative poses.

e. Builds physical and mental balance.

f. Reduces stress and anxiety.

2. Standing forward bend (Paschimottanasana)

Prenatal Yoga Standing forward bend, Uttanasana

Paschimottanasana Benefits

a. Helps relieve stress and mild depression.

b. Stretches the spine, shoulders, hamstrings.

c. Soothes headache, anxiety and reduces fatigue.

3. Cat pose (Marjaryasana)

Photo: Prenatal Yoga exercise Cow Pose Bitlasana

Marjaryasana Benefits

a. Stretches the back torso and neck

b. Softly stimulates and strengthens the abdominals.

c. It opens the chest, encouraging the breath to become slow and deep.

4. Cow pose (Bitlasana)

Prenatal Yoga exercise Cow Pose Bitlasana

Cow pose Benefits

a. Stretches the front torso and neck.

b. Provides a gentle massage to the spine.

5. Warrior I, Virabhadrasana I

Photo: Prenatal Yoga exercise Warrior I Virabhadrasana I

6. Warrior II, Virabhadrasana II

Photo: Prenatal Yoga exercise Warrior II, Virabhadrasana II

7. Chair pose, Utkatasana

Photo: Prenatal Yoga exercise Chair pose, Utkatasana

8. Extended side angle pose, Utthita Parsvakonasana

Photo: Prenatal Yoga exercise Extended side angle pose, Utthita Parsvakonasana

9. Extended triangle pose, Utthita Trikonasana

Photo: Prenatal Yoga exercise Extended triangle pose, Utthita Trikonasana

10. Tree pose, Vrksasana

Photo: Prenatal Yoga exercise Tree pose, Vrksasana

What if I am New to Yoga?

If you are new to yoga, you find that the right class will allow you to enjoy a slow pace while gaining the required guidance as you work your way through the foundations of yoga.

Beginner classes will help you improve your strength, flexibility, and de-stress your life.

You will learn the well-deserved skills to relax both your body and mind. This will enable you to enjoy greater well-being throughout each trimester.

What can you expect from a prenatal yoga class?

Yoga focuses on your mental and physical wellbeing. It uses a series of body positions (or postures) and breathing exercises.

A Prenatal Yoga Class might Involve:

1. Focus on Breathing

You will be encouraged to focus on breathing in and out slowly and deeply through the nose. Prenatal yoga breathing techniques may help you reduce or manage shortness of breath during pregnancy.

Implementing these breathing techniques can help you work through contractions during labour.

2. Props

You may also use various props to provide additional support such as chairs, blankets, cushions and belts.

3. Gentle stretching

You will be encouraged to gently move different areas of your through their full range of motion.

4. Postures

You will gently move your body into different positions aimed at developing your strength, flexibility and balance.

5. Warm down and relaxation

At the end of each prenatal yoga class, you will relax your muscles. You will restore your resting heart rate and breathing rhythm.

6. Specific Tips on Pregnancy

You may discuss how yoga can help your body when pregnant. You may also chat about relaxation, the effects yoga has on your body each trimester and what modifications you should make. An experienced instructor will also help prepare you for your postpartum recovery period.

Is Yoga Good for Me when Pregnant?

Yoga in pregnancy is a recommended form of exercise for many reasons. It is a great way to stay active and is healthy for you and your baby.

The important modification for yoga classes in pregnancy involves including only safe postures that promote relaxation and breathing techniques. An experienced prenatal instructor will adapt these postures used by the general population for pregnant women.

Yoga has been shown to reduce anxiety. Help pregnant women stay calm in labour. And can improve your sleep. Many of the breathing techniques you will learn from my online workouts can help you get ready for giving birth.

Improving your breathing will help you stay calm and breathe steadily through your contractions.

What Kind of Yoga should I do in Pregnancy?

There are many styles of yoga and if you choose to start practising yoga in pregnancy you are likely to be directed to the gentler, slower paced styles.

As mentioned, you must avoid Bikram yoga that takes place in heated rooms as you could overheat.

If you are new to yoga, you will soon find out that there are many different styles of yoga. But lets keep it simple here. I want you to look for a class that is specific for pregnant women.

Why?

Because a specialised and highly trained prenatal yoga instructor will know what postures they can and can't do. These classes are designed to be slower paced sessions that take into account you're pregnant.

What if You're Experienced?

So, if you've been doing yoga for a while, you should tell your yoga teacher you are pregnant. I know for the first trimester you will try to keep your pregnancy private.

If your instructor is unaware you are pregnant then they may try and push you, or give you postures that are not suitable for pregnancy.

Again, this is why choosing a prenatal yoga class will help remove these concerns.

Please remember, pregnancy is not the time to try new and advanced postures.

Finding a Yoga Class

You know the benefits of yoga when pregnant. You know what style of yoga you should look for. And you are aware that some yoga postures and breathing exercises are not suitable during pregnancy.

Because of this, your best option is to search for a yoga class nearby.

Chat to your friends and you will soon learn which studios and instructors are highly respected. And which ones are not.

Why Prenatal Yoga is Recommended

1. Improved Mental health

Yoga incorporates focused breathing and mindfulness. This can improve your mental health by improving mood, reducing stress, decreasing symptoms of anxiety, and promoting relaxation.

2. Reduced back pain

Back pain during pregnancy can be life-changing and quite debilitating. Yoga may reduce lower back pain.

3. Stronger pelvic floor

You will find that during your prenatal yoga class, your instructor will include some pelvic floor exercises. These exercises will help to strengthen and tone the muscles supporting your pelvic floor.

The benefit of a stronger pelvic floor is that it can stop embarrassing and accidental leakage of urine during pregnancy. The benefits continue post pregnancy well after your baby is born.

Is it OK to Do Yoga in First Trimester?

During the first trimester, you should only do a gentle practice or none at all. This is because the foetus is still implanting and the risk of miscarriage is highest.

You should avoid strenuous activities during this first trimester.

If you are used to doing yoga, then you can continue as long as your workout is modified and adapted to pregnancy.

Yoga in the Second Trimester

Early on in pregnancy, you may not be feeling well enough to exercise. Or want to.

The majority of women begin their practicing of yoga during the second trimester.

It is during this stage that your belly will start to show, grow and impact on how you workout.

As you move into the second trimester of pregnancy and your baby grows, your centre of gravity will shift due to your ever-growing baby bump.

As a result, you will be more susceptible to losing your balance. This is obviously not a good thing as any fall could harm your baby.

So take care and move slowly when you practice prenatal yoga. When required, for standing postures, use support.

This is why some of my workouts involve you using a wall or a chair for support.

Yoga in the Third Trimester

This is the trimester your body will really change in size and shape. You will find that baby's movement is strong.

The sacroiliac joints are loose. Your breathing may be difficult. The extra weight you are carrying will impact on your balance.

Lying on the left side with pillows for props is the modification most often made for certain poses during the relaxation period at end-of-class.

Did You Know?

Anxiety generally peaks in the first and third trimesters.

Why?

In the first trimester, there are concerns about early miscarriage and the health of the baby. In the third trimester, the woman is focused on aches and pains from increasing size and uncertainty of childbirth.

This is where yoga can help.

The relaxation exercises and postures in antenatal yoga classes can help to reduce anxiety in the third trimester.

I have found that teaching women the right skills and techniques can help with physical discomfort. They can also be used in times of heightened stress.

A key aspect of my online program involves providing guided week-by-week prenatal yoga workouts that are modified to the body changes associated with that stage of pregnancy.

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