Pregnancy Yoga Guidelines
Pregnancy Yoga provides a perfect way for you to keep exercising to maintain health and fitness without strain. It encourages awareness of posture with attention to breathing, gentle stretching and relaxation. This is an excellent preparation for labour.
I have outlined guidelines for pregnancy yoga and suggestions of how to appropriately work with yoga during your pregnancy. Every pregnancy is unique, it is important that you learn to listen to your body, as how you feel is your best guide to what you can and can’t do. You should not do anything which does not feel right.
Discuss with your midwife or doctor if it is appropriate for you to practice pregnancy yoga. Explain that the style of yoga you practice with me (or intend to start) is gentle and that I am trained in teaching pregnancy yoga.
I do not teach classes that are dedicated solely to pregnancy yoga, each person in a small group yoga class will have their own needs which I adapt yoga to make sure its appropriate for them. Individual lessons provide the opportunity for me to design a practice that is appropriate for the different stages of pregnancy, the choice and use of gentle postures can be modified for your needs.
During your pregnancy the body releases hormones (relaxin) which makes you more flexible so you need to be very careful that you do not over stretch. I would therefore suggest modifications to the practice depending on your specific needs and stage of pregnancy.
During your yoga practice you will be able to focus on the developing breathing techniques which will help you to relax and can help during labour.
You can practice yoga at anytime during your pregnancy, I have however outlined guidelines below according to your stage of pregnancy.
If you are trying for a baby you are welcome to start individual lessons with me. If you suspect you might be pregnant it is important to tell me, we can discuss your practice and if you wish to continue I will modify your practice accordingly.
Because of the high incident of miscarriage during the first trimester, it is not advisable to do an āsana (postures) practice until the pregnancy is well established – from 15 weeks onwards. There is no evidence to suggest that appropriate gentle yoga poses cause women to miscarry; however as the fetus is still implanting there is a higher incidence of miscarriage in the first trimester in particular between the 12th and 14th weeks of pregnancy. As such I would advise you to wait until you are 15 weeks pregnant before you practice āsana (postures) during your pregnancy. There is no reason why you have to wait to start individual lessons as there are several breathing techniques that you can practice without the use of strenuous postures.
If you are attending a group class and decide you want to continue practicing yoga during the first trimester you should be prepared to slow down your practice, modify postures, take extra rest breaths and be sensitive to the changes in your body. It is also important to recognise that you may no longer wish to practice some āsana (postures) because they feel uncomfortable.
Your body will feel the strongest during this time, it is important to help strength and stabilise the body as much as you can during this phase of your pregnancy, whilst using modifications for any specific needs you may have.
If you are new to yoga, it is good to begin practicing early in the second trimester, as you will become aware of how you are adapting to your pregnancy and will be more able to listen to your body in order to feel what is appropriate for you.
Again I would modify the postures for you, they would be gentler and appropriate for how you feel. You are welcome to work as far into your pregnancy as you feel comfortable, I have had some students practicing with me at 39 weeks.
Maintain your energy levels, if you feel you need to eat something light beforehand e.g. banana, and bring a snack for after your lesson.
When practicing at home you should stop practicing yoga if feeling light-headed or fatigued. Sit or lie down on your left side and practice simple relaxed breathing.
It is important for you to inform me of any changes that might arise from session to session and you are also welcome to contact me between sessions if you have any concerns.
If you would like to discuss any specific questions you may have please contact me via e-mail or phone.
Practicing yoga will help you to enjoy the amazing changes you and your baby experience during your pregnancy.