The 5 Best Yoga Poses for Pregnancy and 4 to Avoid

Getting pregnant doesn’t mean you have to give up your weekly yoga class. In fact, the benefits to staying active during pregnancy are tremendous, and practicing yoga during your pregnancy can be a great option! Yoga during pregnancy can improve your energy and help you relax, de-stress, meditate, be more mindful with your workouts and increase your body awareness as your baby grows. Before you jump into a yoga practice, however, here are a few things to keep in mind: 1. Get Your Doctor’s Approval. Be sure you’ve discussed your exercise program with your doctor and that you’re cleared to exercise. 2. Avoid Overstretching. Once you become pregnant, your body produces a hormone called “relaxin,” which, just like the name implies, helps to relax your ligaments, allowing for baby to be birthed through your pelvis. This doesn’t just affect the ligaments around your pelvis, but your entire body. So limit your range of motion, moving through a range that feels good for you and never painful. 3. Chat With Your Instructor. When looking for a yoga class, check to see that the instructor is aware of modifications for pregnancy, especially if you’re not joining a specific prenatal yoga class. 4. Wear Layers. Even in non-Bikram classes, a yoga room can heat up quickly! It’s always best to play it safe, wearing layers that can be shed as the room (and your body) heats up. 5. Stay Hydrated. Be sure to drink plenty of water, keeping a bottle next to you during all workouts. Hydration is especially important during pregnancy, as dehydration, especially later on, could cause preterm labor or false early labor. 6. Avoid Excessive Twisting Poses. If you’re conditioned and have been doing yoga twists prior to getting pregnant, you may be able to continue during your first trimester, but only if they feel good for your body. If you’re not conditioned for twist poses, now is not the time to start, so modify and choose other pregnancy-safe poses. 7. Approach Inversions Carefully. Again, if you haven’t been doing inversions prior to pregnancy, it’s best to avoid them. However, if you’re an avid yogi who has done inversions previously and they are comfortable for your body, then, by all means, carry on as long as they feel good for you. As your pregnancy progresses, you may find yourself needing to minimize your time spent in inversions. If your doctor has told you to avoid inversions, then do so. 8. Focus on Strength. Move through a controlled range of motion in which you can feel your muscles activating and working to hold you in those poses, not just stretching. This is very important and will help you reap the amazing benefits of building strength. Start thinking about yoga poses that help you feel strong, and avoid falling into stretches unless they are specifically for relaxation.

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