Being pregnant puts an enormous amount of strain on the body, and this is why it is important to keep healthy and have a good exercise routine to make sure your body is ready for labor and the physically and mentally demanding days that follow. One of the best ways to get prepared is prenatal yoga. Yoga is one of the best ways to exercise in general, and all of the benefits of regular yoga sessions are amplified when you’re pregnant. However, like with many things, pregnancy demands closer attention to what is allowed and what isn’t, and therefore not all yoga types and classes are right for you during pregnancy. With so many options, it might be hard to know exactly what you should avoid. To find out which yoga poses to avoid during pregnancy see our article below.
Yoga is a great way to relax, keep your body fit, and toned. Yoga during pregnancy adds more benefits like getting you ready for labor and actually contributing to the better health of your baby. But is very important to know your facts to practice safe yoga during pregnancy.
Benefits of prenatal yoga
You probably have heard about prenatal classes, where they teach the correct technique to ensure you have a safe and relatively easy experience during pregnancy and labor. These classes and prenatal yoga actually have a lot in common, as they both include stretching exercises, breathing techniques, and mental focusing. Prenatal yoga can improve your sleep, increase strength, muscle flexibility, and endurance – all things needed for labor. Prenatal yoga is also very helpful in eliminating lower back and neck pains, nausea, and shortness of breath.
During the prenatal yoga classes, communicating with other expectant parents can be a good way of avoiding stress and pregnancy worries.
Typical Prenatal Yoga Class
Like most yoga sessions, breathing is at the heart of prenatal yoga classes too. During the class, the instructor will encourage you to practice several breathing techniques such as slow breaths in and out through the nose. These exercises will help you with shortness of breath as well as prepare you for breathing during contractions during labor.
Depending on what’s more comfortable for you, you would either stand, sit, or lay down on the floor. You would then gently move your body and limbs in different positions. You would also gently stretch your body in different directions and positions. This will increase your flexibility, strength, and balance. Let your instructor know if you are uncomfortable with any of the exercises, and they might either adjust the exercise to fit your fitness level or give you some assistive devices such as pillows, yoga blocks, yoga rings, etc.
One of the most satisfying parts of a yoga class is the end when you get to relax and collect your thoughts. Some people even fall asleep at this stage. During this stage, you are encouraged to concentrate on your breathing and focus on the sensations and emotions going through your body and mind.
What to avoid during prenatal yoga
Types of yoga to avoid:
As described above, yoga for pregnant women can have a whole host of benefits and positive implications. However, some yoga types and poses are not recommended as they can have adverse effects on you and your body. Typically, it is advised to avoid hot yoga types, where the rooms are heated up (sometimes up to 40 degrees Celsius). You may be susceptible to hyperthermia, which is a condition when your body temperature is raised to a level not advisable for pregnant women. Always check with your studio if the yoga class you plan to attend is safe, and be sure to let your instructor know that you are expecting.
Poses to avoid:
While first-trimester yoga might seem easy, as your belly grows, so will the level of difficulty with yoga, as well as other exercises. It is important to make sure you avoid certain poses that may cause discomfort and complications during pregnancy.
Twisting and revolving:
It is good to avoid any poses that require you to rotate or twist your body, in a way that may pinch the belly and the developing baby. For example, doing the revolving side angle could be replaced with a regular side angle with the support of your knee.
Laying on your tummy:
Once you enter the second trimester, it would not be a good idea to lay on your tummy anymore, and you should definitely avoid doing any exercise that would require you to do so.
Folding and bending forwards:
As you can imagine, it is also important to avoid any poses and exercise that would require you to bend forward and squeeze your tummy. Instead, you can do the same poses but with legs spread apart to avoid any pressure on the baby.
Many of the poses and their feasibility with pregnancy depends if you perfected those poses before the pregnancy or not. For example, a headstand would be fine to do if you were good at it before you got pregnant. Learning to do it, however, might not be a good idea.
Ways to stay safe during pregnancy yoga
As mentioned before, yoga classes with elevated temperatures are to be avoided during pregnancy. It is equally important to stay well hydrated and cooled during the class. Pay attention to the intensity of the exercises; if you find it hard to talk and are short of breath, slow down, and take a break as you might be exerting yourself too much.
If you are not sure about it, seek more information. Ask your doctor if it is safe for you to start prenatal yoga before you actually start it. Also, be sure to talk to your studio and your instructor about possible risks and how to avoid them.
Prenatal yoga can be a powerful ally in pregnancy if you exercise caution and do not overdo it. It will leave you feeling balanced, refreshed, and in control, so we definitely recommend it, if it is right for you!
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