Is Yoga Safe During Pregnancy?

Mar 4, 2016 | Yoga | 0 comments

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4 min read

For many women, pregnancy is a time of discovery and excitement. In the months leading up to the birth of a brand new baby, the body prepares itself. As the body stretches, grows, and changes, it is very important for a woman to facilitate these changes in ways that are beneficial.

Finding the right foods, postures to sleep in, and comfortable shoes to walk in are all part of the decisions a pregnant mother makes. In addition to these decisions, a pregnant woman might question which exercises are still okay for practicing during the nine months before birth. One of the most beneficial exercises a pregnant woman can practice is yoga. Even if a woman is new to yoga practice, there’s no need to wait until the baby is born to start.

Prenatal Yoga

Prenatal yoga is a yoga practice specifically designed for pregnant women. Prenatal yoga modifies the standard yoga poses and makes them more beneficial for expectant mothers.

Throughout the entire pregnancy, it is vital to pay attention to the body and what it wants. There are times when the mind may insist on working out. However, if the body is on a different wavelength and prefers to rest, listen to the body first. It can be detrimental to overwork the body during this period.

Remember to do all of the exercises gently. There may be a temptation to push the body to a certain limit. Understand that pregnancy dramatically changes a lot within the body and a baby’s life is depending on the mother to take it easy.

Poses to Try

As the pregnancy progresses, one of the best and most popular poses for women to go into is downward facing dog. Downward facing dog is really helpful because it helps release the pressure that’s constantly on the cervix during a pregnancy.

The triangle pose, warrior II pose, and pigeon poses are three excellent poses for expectant mothers to do because these movements are known as hip openers. Hip opening exercises are really helpful because they increase flexibility and will make the birthing process a little bit easier.

Yoga Styles to Avoid

For the duration of a pregnancy, it’s wise to stick with the standard prenatal yoga. Wait until after the baby is born to return to or try more intense forms of yoga. Aerial yoga or any yoga that involves inversions is a bad idea. Inversions and aerial yoga require hanging upside down for extended periods of time. This isn’t good for circulation or for the baby’s health. There is also an increased chance of injury.

Bikram Yoga is yoga that’s done in a room that’s 90 degrees. Intentionally increasing the body’s temperature during pregnancy is not recommended. NIH researchers strongly discourage this practice. Vinyasa Yoga is known to be one of the more intense styles and easily leaves attendees profusely sweating by the end of a session. Refrain from this style of yoga until after pregnancy is completed.

Moves to Avoid

Because the body is already preparing itself for pregnancy, it’s important to avoid overstretching. The body naturally produces a hormone called relaxin. Relaxin makes the body more limber and flexible. Pushing too deeply into a stretch will cause the body to over-exert itself and overstretch.

Lying on the Back and Belly

While it may seem obvious, it is still worth stating. Do not lie on the belly as the fetus continues to grow. Any moves that involve the belly on the floor normally cause great discomfort. When facing the decision to lay down on the back, it is important to consult an OB/GYN in Eagle or your particular area. Depending on where a woman is within the pregnancy, an OB/GYN may discourage lying on the back. This not only applies to yoga. This also applies to sleeping. As an alternative, do side exercises for safety purposes.

Overall, yes, yoga is safe during pregnancy as long as a woman does prenatal yoga and listens to her body throughout the entire process. It can be an extremely beneficial asset for overall health, mood, and stamina throughout the nine-month process.

*This is not meant as definitive medical information. Please consult your physician with any questions regarding yoga and other physical activities during pregnancy.

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