Practicing While Pregnant
Yoga while Pregnant
Yoga is completely safe to do while pregnant IF you listen to your body. If you’re like me you’ll want to give everything you’ve got, but to be honest, there came I time when I discovered that I had to modify my practice to help my body enjoy my yoga. In my own practice, while pregnant, I used props heavily, so please practice at 75% of your usual activity and only do what feels good on a daily basis. Here’s a good rule of thumb: If it feels like too much it probably is.
Be Free to Modify
Modifications in yoga are not only for beginners, they preserve and sustain your body as it is changing to welcome a new life. Some days you may feel the fire of a “full on” workout beckoning you, however remember you are pregnant so on most days a “soft” practice will serve you best. Be a smart yogi, not a sore one! Make modifications your friend.
Props Props Props!!
I included props in the program because they are an essential part of yoga practice while pregnant. I do not recommend practicing without them. I have made suggestion on how and where to use props but give yourself permission to experiment even more deeply with them. If you have a resistance to using props, pregnancy is the perfect time to give them another look, incorporate them into your practice and fall in love with them. Remember, props are your great ally while pregnant. After all, they are supporting your baby and you at the same time!
While pregnant your body is producing a hormone called relaxin that is preparing your body to open for labor. You may feel it’s effects in your SI joint and the front of your pubic bone. So approach your stretches with caution, as overdoing it can make things worse. If you do feel instability in your SI and pelvic area practice your forward folds at 50% with props. Never go so far in a stretch that you put pressure on your belly, if your belly touches the floor then you’ve gone too far.
Downward Dog might be a No-No!
You should avoid Downward Dog altogether when pregnant if you have high blood pressure, hypertension, polyhydramnios (excessive amniotic fluid,) or if you have been diagnosed with preeclampsia or are at risk for preeclampsia. If downward dog does not feel good to you simply practice child’s pose or table pose instead
Pelvic Girdle Pain
Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP) or Pubic Symphysis Dysfunction (PSD) is an uncomfortable and sometimes painful condition for pregnant women. The hormone Relaxin can create instability in the pelvic joints and cause some serious pain. If you are experiencing this, you do not have to tough it out! Find a physical or yoga therapist who can help you find relief with stabilization exercises and pelvic floor balancing. W.H.Y. prenatal flow has forward bends and hip openers that is not the recommended for you if you are suffering from PGP.
Prenatal Yoga Modification Basics
Okay, so here’s the deal. Before you begin or continue any exercise during pregnancy, check with your doctor. I know you hear that at the beginning of every exercise program, but it really is important. Your body is going to undergo some serious change in these next nine months and you want to discover everything you can about things that might keep your yoga practice from going full steam ahead. So see your physician and tell him/her about this amazing yoga practice that you are about to embark on and honestly seek their advice.
Here are some of the things I learned in my last pregnancy and hope will be a blessing to you!
- Practice as much as you are able! If nausea and tiredness show up on any give day, recognize them as signs that your baby needs lots of attention today, love yourself and be confident that your second trimester will be different!
- If you pike or jump, skip it for now and just step forward and back
- Stop twisting. I stopped as soon as I confirmed I was pregnant. Twisting is detoxifying and It can stop proper circulation to the fetus if you twist to extremes. Open twists are safe.
- Skip shoulder stands. Keep your heart and lungs open instead.
- No need for “breath of fire” or any breath work besides long deep ujaii breath. You and your baby need the oxygen and it brings an incredible sense of relaxation and well-being.
- Stop abdominal work. Yay! Your core needs to expand now so enjoy laying off the crunches.
- Once the baby’s head is down you want to keep it there, so skip inversions unless of course you are encouraging your baby to turn.
- Gentle stretching feels so good right now because a hormone called relaxin has kicked in encouraging your body to open and make room for passage of the baby. But be careful not to overdue it, the last thing you want is to have something pulled for labor and delivery.
- Skip the deep back bends. You could accidentally disconnect your placenta from the uterine wall. Remember, after your beautiful baby is born your whole yoga practice will embrace you with open arms…for now, love-love-love!
- Remember that it is your responsibility to protect yourself through out your pregnancy. We want healthy mommies and healthy babies so if you have a competitive drive or a desire to be perfect now is the time to enjoy letting that go. What matters most is that you show up on your mat and breathe.