Introduction to Prenatal Yoga

Learn How to Safely Practice Yoga During Your Pregnancy

Kidstock/Blend Images/Getty Images

During pregnancy, you want to stay in shape and do what is best for your baby-to-be. Prenatal yoga is a wonderful way to do both. Whether you are new to yoga or already an experienced practitioner, you can enjoy the benefits of yoga while pregnant. Yoga classes are a great way to prepare yourself for the birthing process as well as enjoy the company of other pregnant women. Many a toddler's playgroup has emerged from the bonds forged in prenatal yoga classes!

Trimester-By-Trimester Guidelines

As you are probably already aware, a pregnancy is divided into trimesters lasting three months each. The appropriate adaptations to your yoga practice will become more numerous as your baby grows. Start by reading the Prenatal Yoga Dos and Don'ts for general recommendations and precautions, and then use these guidelines for each trimester of pregnancy:

First Time Yogis

Many women who have never done yoga before find that it is an ideal form of exercise during their pregnancies and beyond. Read up on how to start doing yoga. When looking for a class, stick to those labeled "Prenatal Yoga," as these teachers will best be able to instruct you. If you do go to a regular class, be sure to tell the teacher you are pregnant right away. Some women who work throughout their pregnancies only have time to take up prenatal yoga in the third trimester.

You will still benefit from the classes if this is your situation, but the earlier you start in your pregnancy, the better.

Long Time Yogis

Yoga devotees will be happy to know you can continue to practice yoga throughout your pregnancy. As your belly grows, a few adaptations to your regular practice will be necessary.

You may continue to take your regular classes as long as you feel comfortable doing so, but make sure to let the teacher know you are pregnant and don't feel obligated to practice at your pre-pregnancy intensity. Make sure to look at the Trimester Guidelines, above, to find out what poses to avoid. It's also a good idea to take prenatal yoga classes to meet other moms-to-be and learn about childbirth.

Home Practitioners

If you are a dedicated home practitioner, begin to do Prenatal Sun Salutations and incorporate these prenatal recommended poses. Study the Trimester Guidelines to make sure you understand which poses to avoid. You may also want to attend some prenatal yoga classes for the sense of community and to inspire your home practice.

After Your Pregnancy

After you have your baby, you may be eager to resume your yoga practice. Doctors usually recommend six weeks of recovery time for new mothers after a vaginal birth and longer after a cesarean. When you have been given the OK from your doctor and have no significant bleeding, you are ready to do yoga again.

Continue Reading