Everything You Need to Know About Prenatal Yoga
An expectant mother goes through a lot during pregnancy as their body changes to create new life. These changes can create different forms of stress, which you might have alleviated by yoga practice before your pregnancy. Now you might not be sure if yoga is still okay for both you and the baby. Is prenatal yoga safe? Can it induce labor? Are there benefits to prenatal yoga practice? Let’s answer these questions so you can continue your yoga practice without worry.
Is Prenatal Yoga Safe?
Yes, prenatal yoga is safe as long as you are aware of and follow the general guidelines for healthy prenatal yoga practice. Use the following guidelines to keep your yoga practice safe and stress-free.
Note: Always consult a doctor before starting prenatal yoga if you have any concerns or preexisting risk factors, such as risk of premature labor.
Prenatal Yoga Guidelines
Yoga can be a great way to relax during your pregnancy, as long as you follow certain precautions.
- Yes: butterfly stretch, side angle pose, cat-cow
- Modified: triangle, forward bends, cobra
- No: inversions
- Communicate: If you’re taking a regular yoga class instead of one specifically for pregnant women, inform your instructor that of your pregnancy and current trimester.
- Time Out: Generally, no more than 30 minutes of prenatal practice is recommended.
- Don’t Overextend: The pregnancy hormone relaxin softens connective tissue. This can lead to strains or pulls so be careful not to overstretch too much.
- No Bikram: Hot yoga has the potential to overheat both you and the baby. Save it for after your pregnancy.
- Listen: Your body will let you know if something doesn’t feel right. Make sure to listen.
After the 1st Trimester
- No Asana Back Poses: Laying back can reduce uterine blood flow so skip the asana back poses for now.
After the 2nd Trimester
- Use Support: Your center of gravity has shifted by this time. To avoid losing your balance, use a chair or lean against a wall for added support.
By listening to your body, modifying poses to maintain balance or relieve pressure, you are fully capable of continuing your yoga practice throughout your pregnancy.
Prenatal Yoga Benefits
Coming to a prenatal yoga practice is an excellent way to build a support system while relaxing and strengthening your changing body. There are indeed many advantages to prenatal yoga, spanning a range of both physical and emotional benefits.
- Improves: sleep, relaxation, wellness
- Provides: yoga community support system, meetings with other expectant women
- Reduces: stress
- Increases: flexibility, strength
- Reduces: premature labor risk, intrauterine growth restriction, hypertension complications
- Decreases: nausea, lower back, head or neck pain
- Labor Prep: improves breathing techniques
Help your changing body relax and your mind find solace in prenatal yoga practice. It is a great way to relieve stress for both your body and mind.
Inducing Labor Through Prenatal Yoga
While no natural process is guaranteed to induce labor, there are several yoga poses which focus on muscle groups which have a hand in labor. By stimulating those muscles, your body may realize it is ready for labor and begin the process naturally.
Poses Focused on Muscles Used in Labor
- Squats: thighs
- Tailor: pelvic joints, neck, shoulders
- King Pigeon: hips, thighs
- Table Top: hips
It is important to note that these poses are focused on muscle groups that will be used in labor. It is important to not practice these, or possibly any prenatal yoga, if you are at risk of premature labor. Consult a doctor before starting prenatal yoga if you have any concerns or preexisting risk factors.
Prenatal Yoga Peace of Mind
Pregnancy is a time of change and growth. There are many benefits to continuing yoga well into your pregnancy. A prenatal yoga practice can give you the peace of mind you need to relax and strengthen both your body and your mind. Contact your local yoga studio today to find a prenatal yoga practice that suits your needs.