Safe exercise in pregnancy is promoted by health care professionals and yoga is an excellent way to help keep your body and mind in good shape during your pregnancy and to help you prepare for the birth of your baby and recovery afterwards.
If you did not exercise before you became pregnant it is not advisable to take up strenuous exercise, and indeed exercise does not have to be strenuous to be beneficial in pregnancy. Gentle yoga is ideal as it strengthens core muscles, stretches and relaxes your muscles, promotes deep and healthy breathing and leads to a sense of wellbeing and restfulness which is of great benefit to both you and your unborn baby.
There are some things to be mindful of when practicing yoga in pregnancy in order to stay safe and get the best out of the experience.
If you are already attending a yoga class or wish to attend a yoga class that does not specialise in pregnancy yoga, then it is important to tell your instructor that you are pregnant and what trimester you are in; there are some positions that are not suitable for use in pregnancy and your instructor should know what these are and find suitable alternatives for you.
It is always important to properly warm up and cool down when exercising, particularly in pregnancy, however the benefit of practicing yoga in a class is that your instructor will make sure you do so; just remember to also do so at home if you practice yoga outside of a class.
In the third trimester do not practice positions where you lie on your back as this can put pressure on arteries and make you feel dizzy.
There are positions and movements best avoided in pregnancy yoga such as lying on your front as your pregnancy progresses, twisting to the waist can put pressure on your lower abdomen and ligaments and postures which involve leaning backwards can increase your chance of falling as your center of gravity is changed in pregnancy.
Good advice is to attend a class which specialises in pregnancy yoga – you can still practice yoga at home but you will be educated in how to do so safely.
Yoga in pregnancy is an excellent way of toning your muscles, relaxing your mind and body and can lead to sense of awareness of your changing body which is empowering in pregnancy. Always check with your health care professional before starting any exercise routine in pregnancy.