Prenatal Yoga: What’s Safe for Pregnancy?

Wondering what prenatal yoga positions are safe for pregnancy? Read on to find the answers. 

Sitting poses such as “lunge pose” and standing postures like “mountain pose” are considered safe for pregnancy, as long as you modify the position to fit your needs. If you feel any pain or discomfort in the joints, make sure to stop and ask your doctor. For example, if you are doing a mountain pose, make sure to keep the weight off your back by placing it equally on both feet.

Note: You should always consult with your doctor before starting physical activity when you’re pregnant.

What is Prenatal Yoga?

Prenatal yoga is simply yoga done while you are pregnant. It can be practiced by women of any fitness level, but it is generally recommended that pregnant women not start a new fitness program without consulting with their doctor first.

Benefits of Prenatal Yoga During Pregnancy

Prenatal yoga is a great way for women who are expecting to stay fit and active, while also bonding with their unborn baby. However, it’s important to know what positions are safe for pregnancy.

Pregnancy puts a lot of strain on the body, especially on the back, where there is added weight from the growing uterus. As your belly grows, your center of gravity changes, which may lead to back pain.

Benefits of prenatal yoga during pregnancy include:

  • Helps to keep your body flexible and mobile, which will help prepare you for the physical demands of birth.
  • Gives you an opportunity to bond with your baby during pregnancy.
  • Increases strength, which can help facilitate labor.
  • Prenatal yoga increases oxygenation, which can be helpful in preparation for labor because it allows the baby to get more oxygen.
  • Reduces stress. Less stress during pregnancy can help decrease symptoms of depression and anxiety, which are common during pregnancy.

What’s Safe for Pregnancy? 

What poses are okay during pregnancy?

If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant soon, it’s best to be cautious when exercising during pregnancy. Make sure not to overdo it and don’t push yourself too hard. Yoga is considered an excellent way for women who are expecting to stay fit without putting too much strain on their bodies.

Here is a list of some popular poses that are safe for pregnancy.

Child’s Pose (Balasana)

This is a resting pose that is a safe prenatal yoga position during pregnancy. It relieves tension in the legs and back, which will help you feel more comfortable as your belly grows.

Camel Pose (Ustrasana)

This pose helps to open up the chest and ribs, allowing for great breathing techniques.

Cat/Cow Pose (Marjaryasana/Bitilasana)

These poses are great for stretching out the lower back, which can become very tight during pregnancy. When done in conjunction with deep breathing, these poses also help to create more space in the lungs to prepare for labor

Downward Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

This pose gives a great stretch to the shoulders, legs, and back while strengthening the arms. Downward Dog is also helpful for preparing your body for labor by opening up the hips.

Forward Fold (Uttanasana)

A forward fold allows you to relax into, rather than stretch out of, the muscles that are tight in your body. This stretch also helps to open the hips for labor.

Seated Forward Fold Pose (Paschimottanasana)

Also known as seated forward fold, this pose is a good one because it allows you to keep your back straight while folding over yourself, making it easier to take pressure off of your back and belly.

Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)

This pose is good for stretching the upper and middle back, which will help to counter the weight of your growing belly.

Legs up the Wall (Viparita Karani)

Although not a yoga pose per se, this position relieves pressure on the lower back and helps to keep blood flow circulating properly to the uterus.

Supported Fish Pose (Salamba Matsyasana)

This pose, done with pillows under the head, neck, and chest, allows for great relaxation while also helping to open up airways in preparation for labor.

Other Things You Can Do

Breathing techniques are a great way to balance the mind and body, especially the yoga breath known as “ujjayi.” When practicing ujjayi, make sure to breathe from deep within your belly and not from your chest. This will promote proper alignment of the baby and decrease back pain that may be experienced during pregnancy.

Safety Precautions During Pregnancy 

In general, it is best to avoid positions that place a lot of pressure on the uterus or abdominal area. This includes laying flat on your back and deep stretching with your head below the heart. When you are just starting out in prenatal yoga, these positions should be avoided until you get the go-ahead from your doctor or midwife.

Here are other precautions;

  • Do not overstretch or push yourself too hard while doing prenatal yoga exercises. You should feel some discomfort, but you should never feel pain while doing your exercises.
  • Keep in mind that some yoga poses can be counter-productive to labor, like full forward folds (like the plow), which can put tension on the cervix and slow or stop contractions.
  • Be sure not to hold your breath while exercising. This is counterproductive because it will cause you to be more stressed and can even cause contractions.
  • If you have any concerns about the safety of a specific exercise, ask your doctor before proceeding with it.

Contact Us To Learn More About Prenatal Yoga

Prenatal yoga can be an excellent way to bond with your unborn baby while also staying fit and active. Keep in mind what positions are best for you during pregnancy so that you can enjoy your yoga practice to its fullest potential!

If you live in the Smithfield area and you would like to join a yoga class or take private yoga lessons, Martha Catz would be happy to talk with you. Call  919-971-1431 or fill out the form below for more information.

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