Authored By: Dr. K. Shilpi Reddy
HOD & Sr. Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist,
High-Risk Pregnancy Care, Minimal Invasive Surgeon (Mini Lap, Laparoscopy, Robotic Team)
Prenatal yoga is a form of gentle yoga that is designed according to the growing needs of a pregnant body during all three trimesters. The focus is on poses that keep you safe while practicing movement, stretching, deep breathing, and mental centering.
The American college of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists say that modified or prenatal yoga is one of the safest forms of exercise during pregnancy with correct guidance.. They also recommend combining a yoga practice with other types of activity such as swimming, walking or stationary cycling.
Are there any health benefits?
Yoga during pregnancy is beneficial, especially for addressing the physical, emotional, and mental aspects of this critical time.
1.Keeps the body active.
Prenatal yoga builds mobility,flexibility and strength, which helps in supporting and maintaining a healthy body during pregnancy.
2.Stabilizes your mood.
Yoga is known for its ability to help reduce stree and manage symptoms of anxiety.
3.Helps with mental centering.
Help you to develop awareness of yourself, your body, and your baby.
4.Reduces overall symptom burden of pregnancy.
Pregnancy can put a lot of added pressure on your lower back, and your body which leads to pain in areas such as the lower back.Prenatal Yoga helps in reducing these pains and improving the stride and gait during walking.
5.Focuses on pelvic floor muscles.
Prenatal yoga classes often emphasize strengthening the pelvic floor muscles, which helps in childbirth.
6.Encourages breathing exercises.
Prenatal yoga helps to use breathing as a tool when we encounter stress in our lives, and learning to breathe through new feelings and sensations helps you lessen anxiety and concern during pregnancy.
7.Prepares the body for childbirth.
Helps to open up hips and keep correct postural alignment, which helps with labor and delivery.
8.Increased well-being in young pregnant women.
9.Encourages community support.
Prenatal yoga class is an excellent place to connect with other expecting moms that can help support you during pregnancy and beyond.
When To Start?
First Trimester– If you are doing Yoga prior to pregnancy, then it can be continued.
Second Trimester-Avoid Yoga poses which require lyng flat on abdomen or back. As Balance is a problem during second trimester, consider using props like- yoga pillows, straps, blocks, etc.
Third Trimester-Avoid balancing poses. Focus on breathing and relaxation techniques as it will help in relieving physical and emotional challenges of third trimester.
When to Avoid?
- Medical conditions like Heart disease, lung disorder. High BP
- History of miscarriages
- If you have high hisk of Preterm Labor
- Multi fetal gestation
- Placenta previa/low lying placenta
What can be done?
- Cat/cow stretch
- Standing back bend
- Warrior on a chair
- Standing Warrior
- Cobbler’s or tailor’s pose
- Side-lying position
- Hip Rotations
What can not be done?
- Revolved side angle pose.
- Full wheel pose.
- Bridge pose.
- Bow pose.
- Cobra pose.
- Locust pose.
- Full camel pose.
- Upward facing dog.
Precautions To Be Followed
Talk to your prenatal care provider. Always check with your doctor if you are fit to do yoga and rule out any contraindications.
Take general precautions. Follow general precautions of exercises- stay hydrated before and after exercises.
Take it easy. Focus on breathing during yoga sessions. Iif you are already an expert in yoga, be ready to make some modifications considering your pregnancy. Any pain or discomfort requires to make an adjustment or ask your instructor to recommend an alternative position. Hold poses only for as long as you’re comfortable and don’t push yourself to the point of pain or exhaustion.
Be aware of body changes. Your joints will relax and loosen up during pregnancy, so change positions slowly and carefully. Your changing body can affect your balance, so go slow.
Take proper safety measures especially during third trimester, consider using a wall or chair for support.
Avoid lying on your back, especially after the first trimester as it can put pressure on your inferior vena cava and reduce blood flow to your uterus.
Skip headstands and shoulder stands.
Don’t hold poses for a long time.
Skip positions that require extreme stretching of the abdominal muscles. Avoid doing yoga in hot, humid conditions.