How to Practice Yoga Safely During Pregnancy

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Can you continue to practice yoga when you’re pregnant? Will it do you any good or would you be better off choosing another activity to pursue while your bun is in the oven? 

Yoga is safe during pregnancy, but there are certain positions that need to be avoided. It is important to learn which poses are safe and which are not before you embark on your yoga journey while you’re posing for two.

You may wonder why you should even consider yoga during pregnancy, but it can provide your body with great benefits. Even if you have never done yoga before, your pregnancy is a great time to start.

Yoga can benefit you and your unborn baby tremendously. But some expectant mothers steer clear of yoga because they have never done it before, or they don’t want to do it in front of others.

The good news is, although recommended, you don’t have to take a yoga class to do yoga. You can do it from the comfort of your own home. There are numerous videos out there that can guide you through a step-by-step routine every day. 

What Kind Of Yoga Should I Do When Pregnant?

There are actually prenatal yoga routines. Yep, that’s yoga specifically designed for mommas-to-be.The best part about prenatal yoga is since it’s designed with pregnant mothers in mind, its benefits are all targeted toward helping you. Prenatal yoga helps keep you happy and healthy as you progress on your journey to parenthood (source). This type of exercise is probably the most beneficial for you and your baby, and provides the least amount of negative impact.

The Benefits Of Yoga When Pregnant

There are numerous benefits associated with doing yoga when you are pregnant.

Let’s look at them.

Improves strength and stamina: It requires both of these to be able to execute and hold yoga poses. You will be able to strengthen your hips, arms, back, and shoulders. All of which are going to need all the strength they can get for this pregnancy (source).

Breathing: There is a certain type of breathing associated with yoga that will help you tremendously during labor. It’s known as three-part breath. This might be one of the most important aspects of yoga when you are pregnant.

Strengthens pelvic floor: Many yoga poses you can do during pregnancy actually promote the strengthening of the pelvic floor. This can help during labor and delivery, as well as making your pregnancy more comfortable.

Balance: As your body changes and grows, your center of gravity also changes. Yoga relies a lot on balance, both physically and emotionally. Executing poses helps you find your balance and relax.

Helps relieve pregnancy symptoms: A little exercise can do the body good, and a little yoga can do the body a lot of good. Yoga can relieve back pain, nausea, headaches, and fatigue.

Relaxes your body: Yoga requires deep breathing, and this can help your body relax. When your body reaches that relaxation point, you can expect to experience better sleep and digestion.

Improve flexibility: The routine poses you will do will eventually build up your range of flexibility.

Helps you bond with your baby: Yoga allows you to solely focus on your baby in a way that can almost seem surreal. You will become more deeply connected and emotionally attached.

Can provide you with a great support system: If you join a prenatal yoga class you will be surrounded by many other empowering women who are taking the same pregnancy journey with you. Nothing is better than having someone who fully understands your situation.

Keeps you in shape: Many expectant moms just can’t wait until they can get back to their pre-baby weight. Well, yoga helps get you one step closer. By partaking in yoga during your pregnancy, you are helping your body stay in shape.

The practice of yoga alone will benefit your overall well-being. You will notice improved sleep and reduced stress and anxiety. Overall, yoga helps better prepare you for labor and delivery. Not only are you learning ways to stay more comfortable throughout your pregnancy, but you are benefiting your baby too. When it comes time for your baby to make its grand entrance, you will be thanking yoga for your increased strength, stamina, and breathing and relaxation techniques.

What Are The Risks of Yoga During Pregnancy?

Like most things in pregnancy, it seems as if everything has potential risks. Yoga is no exception. While yoga can be very beneficial for an expectant mother, it can also cause potential harm. 

Miscarriage: Some doctors believe yoga during the first trimester is extremely risky. This is a vulnerable time for you and your baby, and it is possible that yoga could cause a miscarriage.

Strained muscles: There are certain yoga poses that can cause you to strain muscles and possibly the ligaments supporting your baby. This typically does not pose a threat to your baby, but can make you extremely uncomfortable.

Can negatively affect blood flow: Particular movements like closed twists, can inhibit the amount of blood that is flowing to your baby (source).

Can compress your uterus: Poses that require you to lay down on your belly can compress your uterus, which is obviously not good for you or your baby.

Can move your baby out of the birthing position: If you choose to do inversions once your baby is in the proper birthing position, there is a chance your baby will flip and possibly become breech.

Potential falls: Some yoga poses require you to have a great deal of balance. That might be something you are lacking at this time, so you should avoid poses that require you to stand on one leg, or use reliable support.

If you have never done yoga, it is important you focus specifically on prenatal yoga to stay safe. Someone who is experienced with yoga can still partake in her normal routine, but needs to include modifications.

What Safety Precautions Should You Take?

If done correctly, yoga is usually safe. The potential risks usually come when an expectant mom tries to push herself a little to far, or does not follow her doctor’s orders.

One of the best things about yoga is it will help you become in tune with your body. If your body is telling you something is too difficult, then you need to call it quits.

Pushing yourself will only increase your chances of causing potential damage to you and your baby.

Yoga Safety Precautions

To ensure maximum safety, there are some precautions that you can take:

  • Try to avoid or limit yoga during the first trimester.
  • Only partake in yoga with a doctor’s permission.
  • If you aren’t used to yoga, make sure you start slowly.
  • If you join a yoga class, make sure your instructor knows you are pregnant.
  • If something makes you uncomfortable or it hurts, stop.
  • Avoid hot yoga.
  • Stay away from poses that can cause strain or compression near your abdomen.
  • If a pose is even slightly risky, modify it or choose an alternative.
  • Never push your limits.
  • Focus on your breathing — your baby relies on that oxygen, too.
  • Avoid backward bending.
  • Avoid poses that solely focus on the abdominal muscles.
  • Avoid pressure on your belly.
  • Don’t be afraid to say no.

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The Bottom Line

Exercise benefits you and your baby. Yoga is a great way to relax, cut down on aches and pains, and help you prepare for delivery.

Yoga will help you bond with your baby, learn excellent breathing techniques that will benefit you in labor, strengthen your birthing muscles, improve your relaxation, and reduce your stress levels.

As long as you seek permission from your doctor, and you don’t push the limits of your pregnant body — yoga is safe.

Yoga can be a helpful and emotionally-inspiring part of your pregnancy journey. So what is holding you back?

Feel free to leave your opinions regarding this topic in the comment section below. If you enjoyed this article and thought it was helpful, please give it a share!

Kristina Caputi