Yoga can be very beneficial during pregnancy, as long as you take certain precautions.
Yoga helps you breathe and relax, which in turn can help you adjust to the physical demands of pregnancy, labor, birth, and motherhood. It calms both mind and body, providing the physical and emotional stress relief your body needs throughout pregnancy.
Taking a prenatal yoga class is also a great way to meet other moms-to-be and embark on this journey together.
Here are some recommended guidelines:
- If you're attending a regular yoga class (one not specifically geared to pregnant women), be sure to tell the instructor you're pregnant, and which trimester you're in.
- Don't do any asanas (poses) on your back after the first trimester – they can reduce blood flow to the uterus.
- Avoid poses that stretch the muscles too much, particularly the abdominals. You're more at risk for strains, pulls, and other injuries right now because the pregnancy hormone relaxin, which allows the uterus to expand, also softens connective tissue.
- Steer clear of Bikram or "hot" yoga – working out in an overheated room. Overheating can endanger the health of your growing baby, according to studies.
- When bending forward, hinge from the hips, leading with the breastbone and extending the spine from the crown of the head down to the tailbone. This allows more space for the ribs to move, which makes breathing easier.
- Keep the pelvis in a neutral position during poses by engaging the abdominals and slightly tucking the tailbone down and in. This helps relax the muscles of your buttocks (your glutes) and the hip flexors, which can help reduce or prevent sciatic pain down the back of the leg, a common side effect of pregnancy. It also helps prevent injury to the connective tissue that stabilizes your pelvis.
- If you're bending forward while seated, place a towel or yoga strap behind your feet and hold both ends. Bend from the hips and lift the chest, to avoid compressing your abdomen. If your belly is too big for this movement, try placing a rolled-up towel under your buttocks to elevate the body, and open the legs about hip-width apart, to give your belly more room to come forward.
- When practicing twisting poses, twist more from the shoulders and back than from the waist, to avoid putting any pressure on your abdomen. Go only as far in the twist as feels comfortable – deep twists are not advisable in pregnancy.
1. Ardha Titali Asan (Half Butterfly)
How to do?
Sit with legs outstretched. Bend the right leg and place the right foot as far up on the left thigh as possible. Place the right hand on top of the bent right knee.
It is an excellent practice for loosening of hip and knee joints, which shall enable faster delivery.
2. Poorna Titali Asan (Full Butterfly)
How to do?
Sit with legs outstretched. Bend the knees and bring the soles of the feet together, keeping the heels as close to the body as possible. Fully relax the inner thighs. Clasp the feet with both hands.
Gently bounce the knees up and down, using the elbows as levers to press the legs down. Do not use any force. Repeat up to 20-30 times. Straighten the legs and relax.
3. Supta UdarakarshanAsan (Sleeping Abdominal Stretch Pose)?
How to do?
Lie in the back. Interlock fingers of both hands and place hands beneath the head. Bend knees, keeping the soles of feet on the floor.
While breathing out lower the legs towards the right, trying to touch the knees on the floor. At the same time move the head towards the left, giving uniform twisting stretch to the entire spine. Repeat on the other side by bending legs towards left, and head towards right.
Removes constipation, improves digestion. Relieves stiffness and strain of spine caused by prolonged sitting.
4. Chakki Chalan Asan (Churning the Mill Pose)
How to do?
Sit with legs stretched out in front of the body about one foot apart. Interlock fingers of both hands and hold the arms out straight in front of the chest.
Benefit : No stretch marks post pregnancy... All 9 months of the Pregnancy one does this , delivery would be normal and one would not see any Stretch marks ... During the Pregnancy donot over stretch ...
- Listen carefully to your body. If you feel any discomfort, stop. You'll probably need to modify each pose as your body changes. A good instructor can help you customize your yoga to suit the stage of pregnancy you're in.