Yoga and pregnancy

"pregnant" belly

In my yoga teacher training we learned about women’s issues, such as being pregnant. We did a yoga practice with a “pregnant” belly strapped on.

I had a student recently ask me what poses she should not be doing while pregnant.

I told her what I knew off hand. But I told her I would do some research and let her know the next time I saw her.

So this, of course, has prompted a post.

If you are pregnant you should check in with your doctor and discuss any form of exercise, yoga included. Please make sure to discuss with your doctor since I am not a doctor and I am not your doctor.

After you tell your doctor and partner that you are pregnant you should tell your yoga teacher that you are pregnant. Sometimes we can’t tell because you are so early and/or aren’t showing. And if you are showing, we can’t assume you are pregnant because … what if you’re not …

From my own knowledge, what I have learned from my teachers and the research I have done online, here is some basic information.

Yoga poses you should avoid when pregnant:

  • deep twists
  • lying (flat) on your back (once into your second trimester)
  • lying on your belly (first trimester is likely OK, after that it should be avoided)
  • poses that work your abs
  • deep forward folds
  • extreme backbends

Yoga poses (and other things) to be mindful of when pregnant:

  • you need to take it easy–you’ve got a baby growing inside of you
  • inversions (there is a debate on whether or not this is OK to do when pregnant, especially if you practiced inversions before you were pregnant)–see the first item in this list (take it easy)
  • hot yoga is a bad idea when pregnant (or in my opinion, anytime)
  • if your gym/yoga studio offers gentle yoga classes or classes designed for pregnant women you should take those

When women are pregnant they become much more “flexible” because of the pregnancy hormone relaxin, which allows the uterus to expand, and also softens connective tissue. Which means a pregnant woman can go too deep into a pose.

I mentioned earlier that I did some research online. I read through articles on PopSugar, Baby Center, About.com and Livestrong.

There’s a lot of information out there. What I read through seems pretty good. But be careful what you read. My blog included. It’s always best to talk to your doctor.

Being pregnant and caring for another human being is important and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Take care of yourself and your baby and honor your body.

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