It’s no secret that prenatal yoga is excellent for pregnant women. But when is the best time to start doing it? Many women wonder whether they should wait until they are further along in their pregnancy or start earlier. You might also need to modify certain poses depending on your trimester.
This post will help clear up some of the confusion and guide you on when to switch to prenatal yoga.
When it comes to yoga, the first thing that comes to mind is the various physical postures or asanas. However, yoga is a much more holistic practice than just the postures. It also includes pranayama or controlled breathing, meditation, and relaxation techniques.
So, when we talk about prenatal yoga, it is a specialized form of yoga that has been designed considering the needs of pregnant women. It includes all the elements of regular yoga. But the asanas have been specifically chosen and modified to suit the needs of pregnant women.
Also, the more advanced you are in your pregnancy, the more it gets inclined toward restorative yoga. This type of yoga includes gentle and slow movements along with props such as bolsters, blankets, and straps to support the body.
Now, that we know what prenatal yoga is, let’s talk about when to start practicing it. However, several factors weigh in while making this decision. Here are some things to consider:
If you are a beginner trying out yoga, don’t worry; you can begin prenatal yoga when you find out that you are pregnant. However, it is advisable to do this in the presence of a knowledgeable teacher experienced in teaching pregnant women. If you are nervous about starting yoga, wait till the beginning of your second trimester. The first trimester is vital for the development of the baby.
However, if you are a regular yoga practitioner, you can continue practicing your traditional yoga till the fourth month of your pregnancy. After that, you can start with a prenatal yoga class or practice at home under the guidance of an expert.
Another critical factor to consider is your overall health and the health of your pregnancy. If you have any medical condition or complication, it is always better to seek guidance from your doctor before starting any physical activity, including yoga.
Also, if you have had a previous miscarriage, it is advisable to wait till the second trimester to start practicing yoga.
The third factor is which trimester you are in. As we mentioned earlier, the asanas included in prenatal yoga are different for each trimester. So, it is best to start with a class that has been designed keeping in mind the needs of your current trimester.
For example, in your first trimester, you can start with a regular yoga class with little tweaks in your practice. As the belly is not so big and the baby is well-protected in the amniotic fluid, you can practice a few inversions and twists.
Whereas, in your second trimester, you can start with a prenatal yoga class. This will include various asanas and pranayamas designed for pregnant women with big bellies. Balancing the body becomes more difficult at this stage: inversions and crunches are avoided.
In your third trimester, you can continue practicing prenatal yoga. However, the focus will be more on relaxation and breathing techniques. This is because the baby is significant at this stage, and the movements are more restricted. Also, it is more about getting your body ready for the delivery process and making it as easy as possible.
Several poses are a complete no-no for prenatal yoga and many get a green light. Here is a full list:
- Standing side stretch is a gentle way to open up your chest and shoulders.
- Gentle neck and shoulder rolls help relieve tension in the neck and shoulders.
- Cat and cow pose is a great way to relieve lower back pain.
- Yoga squats help open up the hips and pelvis.
- Easy poses include simple stretching and breathing asanas.
- Wide knee child’s pose is restorative and helps relieve stress and tension.
- Downward dog with the help of a wall or a chair: this is an excellent pose for the entire body, but wall support is essential to maintain balance.
- Savasana: yes, you can relax in savasana, not on your back but on your side.
- Deep twists can compress the abdomen and put unnecessary pressure on the baby.
- Deep backbend can overstretch the abdominal muscles
- Crunches and forward fold with feet together can be strenuous and put pressure on your pelvic area.
- Inversions can compress the abdominal organs and also cause dizziness.
- Hot yoga must be avoided, especially in a hot room, as it can lead to dehydration and overheating.
- Belly down postures or lying on your back: only poses that allow you to lie down on your side are acceptable.
Prenatal yoga has several benefits for both the mother and the baby. Here are some of them:
- Relieves stress and anxiety
- Reduces back pain and joint pain
- It helps improve sleep quality
- Reduces the risk of preterm labor
- Enhances the quality of labor
- Boosts energy levels
- Builds stamina and strength
- Improves blood circulation
- Lowers blood pressure
- Reduces the risk of gestational diabetes
- It helps the baby bond with you
Prenatal yoga is an excellent practice that helps you stay fit and healthy during pregnancy. It has several benefits for both the mother and the baby. However, knowing when to start and which poses to avoid is crucial. Consult your healthcare provider before starting any yoga class, and always listen to your body. As a mother-to-be, you know the best.