Yoga During Pregnancy – What’s Safe and What’s Not
Exercising while you’re pregnant is an excellent way to stay in shape and enables you to recover quickly, once the baby is born. Yoga is one of the safest ways to keep fit over the prenatal period, but there are a few rules to bear in mind.
The benefits of practising yoga while you’re pregnant:
Your body is supporting extra weight when you’re pregnant. Yoga strengthens the muscles in your back and legs, helping you to carry your growing baby. It also reinforces your joints so that they move fluidly under the additional strain.
Many women experience backache while they’re pregnant, especially around the pelvic area. Pregnancy yoga focuses on postures that realign the muscles in the back and that gently corrects any postural adjustments that you have inadvertently made.
Blood circulation around the body is affected when a woman is pregnant. The course that blood flows through is suddenly changed, meaning cells need to find new routes through the circulatory system and to the foetus. Moving the body through the right yoga postures helps the blood circulate more freely.
What to avoid while practising prenatal yoga
The most important rule of prenatal yoga is to inform your teacher that you are pregnant. An experienced practitioner should know the postures you should avoid and will be able to ensure you’re not overstraining yourself. There are many classes that are specifically for women who are pregnant and do try to find these whenever possible.
After the third trimester avoid any postures that involve lying on your back as these can reduce blood flow to the uterus.
Avoid poses that stretch the muscles too intensely. When a woman is pregnant she produces a hormone called relaxin that softens connective tissue. This means your body might be more flexible than normal and sprains and pulled muscles can be an issue.
Try to avoid overheating. A woman’s temperature can be volatile during pregnancy and yoga practices such as Bikram (Hot Yoga) are best avoided.
Avoid any exercise that makes you breathless. A good way of testing this is to ask yourself whether you can speak as you practise. If you’re too out of breath to talk, then you have probably taken on too much!