Prenatal yoga is an exercise option for pregnant women that is growing in popularity. Staying active during pregnancy helps boost your energy levels and may even relieve some of the aches and pains you feel. For those who already practice yoga, prenatal yoga is a natural continuation of that practice. Those new to yoga can also benefit from the activity.
Prenatal yoga offers a low-impact way to stay active during your pregnancy. Your growing stomach might cause balance issues, but yoga helps you steady your balance. You also increase your flexibility and tone muscles throughout the body. Toned muscles help support your growing stomach and might make labor easier for you. Breathing and relaxation are core elements of yoga. Those skills help you relax during the pregnancy and might aid in your relaxation during labor and delivery.
Gyms and fitness centers typically offer a variety of yoga classes, with some being more fitness-oriented and intense. Look for a class specifically for expecting mothers for the safest option. If a prenatal yoga class isn’t available locally, there are several prenatal yoga videos available for your own use at home. One advantage of taking a prenatal class instead of doing yoga at home is the opportunity to meet other local pregnant women.
A prenatal class should focus on gentle movements without the more vigorous moves associated with some regular yoga classes. Taking a class specifically for pregnant women means the moves should be safe and appropriate. The class might also focus on preparation for labor and delivery.
Lying on the back, particularly in the second and third trimesters, can reduce blood flow to you and your baby, so skip yoga moves that require extended periods of being on the back. Poses that require a strong sense of balance, such as headstands, are better skipped if you aren’t already proficient at the moves. Lots of abdominal moves are also risky because of the risk of strains. Hot yoga classes are discouraged during pregnancy because of the risk of overheating.
Your body gives you the best guide for doing yoga during pregnancy. Listen to the signals your body sends to make sure you don’t push yourself too far. If you are taking a regular yoga class, make sure your instructor knows you are pregnant. She might be able to offer modifications or suggestions for your yoga practice.