A few weeks into my first pregnancy, I thought I had lost my mind. The influx of emotions, ranging from elation to anger to sadness and anxiousness was impossible to deal with. It also drove my husband crazy. I couldn’t take it anymore, so I went to see my obstetrician. He sat me down and imparted some of the wisest words of wisdom I had heard throughout my entire pregnancy: Just do yoga.
Yoga is one of the best types of exercise to do while you’re pregnant, but it’s important to practice safely to avoid injuries and complications. Taking a yoga class can be done with modifications while you’re pregnant, but the most beneficial way to practice during those nine months is by taking a prenatal class.
Prenatal yoga focuses on safe poses to help increase flexibility and to keep the blood flowing. It helps you maintain your muscle tone and strengthens your pelvic muscles, which will be necessary for a smooth labor. Yoga also decreases the unpleasant side effects of pregnancy, such as mood swings, muscle cramps and nausea.
Prenatal classes are taught by teachers who specialize in working with pregnant women, but if you take a regular yoga class, there are some poses you want to avoid. With each trimester, your body changes. You need to modify your poses, so always inform your teacher where you are in your pregnancy. In the first trimester, it’s okay to lie on your back, but that’s off limits in the second and third trimesters, since it can restrict the blood flow to the uterus. Deep abdominal twists and back bends are also a no no, as are inversions, such as headstands and handstands. Don’t even consider doing Hot Yoga.
Many yoga studios have prenatal classes. If yours doesn’t, ask for a recommendation. Prenatal yoga is more than an exercise class. It’s a community. It’s reassuring to be with a group of supportive women who know exactly what you’re going through. It’s also a beautiful way to bond with your unborn child.