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Practicing yoga during pregnancy can be a delightful experience for you as well as your baby.

First trimester of Pregnancy Yoga

A very important aspect to pregnancy is staying fit, which makes and healthy; yoga is an extraordinary way for you to keep tone, in shape, and prepare yourself for labor and delivery.  Most gentle forms of yoga are quite safe for you and your baby, but there are some yoga practices that you should avoid during your prenatal yoga experience.  You may also find specialized prenatal yoga classes where you can enjoy the company of other mothers-to-be while you enjoy your yoga experience.

The first trimester of pregnancy is generally considered the first three months of your pregnancy.  There is little outward appearances of the baby growing inside of you but your body will be telling you otherwise.  You may find yourself having nausea, also called “morning sickness” that can come in the morning, noon, or night.  Don’t push yourself when you are feeling sick; take it easy and get your rest.  However, when you are feeling up to it, it is perfectly fine to continue your yoga practices as long as you let your instructor know that you are expecting a baby so he or she can be sure to adjust the yoga positions suitable for a woman in your condition.  Some of the recommended yoga poses in the first trimester of pregnancy are:

  • Pigeon Pose: this pose helps to open the hips
  • Warrior II: Standing pose: This pose will strengthen the legs and arms; it also opens the chest and shoulders, and tones the abdomen.
  • Extended Triangle Pose: Standing pose: this pose helps strengthen the legs, stretches the groins, hamstrings, hips, opens the chest and shoulders and can also relieve back pain.
  • Half Moon Pose: Standing and balancing pose: Strengthen the ankles and thighs, and improves balance
  • Cobbler’s Pose: Bound ankle pose: This pose opens the hips and groin
  • Knee to Ankle Pose: Seated position: This pose opens the hips

These poses are designed to help prepare your body by giving you flexibility and can make giving birth a more pleasant experience. 

Second Trimester of Pregnancy and yoga techniques

The second trimester is generally known as the best three months of your pregnancy because you have probably passed the morning sickness stage and your belly is growing but not so much that it is uncomfortable to practice your yoga exercises.  You should utilize these three months and attend your yoga classes regularly, as long as you are feeling up to it, as it will help you to adjust to the more uncomfortable stages in the third trimester.  Prenatal yoga classes are so helpful, not only for the exercise and toning of your body to prepare you for the birth of your child, but to also give you time with other women who are pregnant; it’s a good time to share stories and make a bond with those who understand all the aches and pains you might be feeling. 

The recommended yoga positions for the second trimester of your pregnancy are the same as you were doing in your first trimester.  They are very important yoga poses that will certainly make giving birth easier on you and your baby because your body is tone, your hips and thighs have been toned and stretched, and this makes it much easier when it comes time to give birth.  One other position that will be very beneficial to you during birth is:

Cat-Cow Stretch: This pose increases spinal flexibility and abdominal strength and can help get the baby in the right position; head down and ready for birth.  It will also help relieve back pain.

Third Trimester of pregnancy and yoga practices

By this time in your pregnancy your belly is quite large and just like everything else you used to do easily like putting on your socks, polishing your toe nails, or walking to the mail box, yoga is going to be a bit of a challenge during these last three months.  Now you can slow down and not try to be as energetic as you were in your second trimester of pregnancy; you will need to pace yourself.  This is the time that any yoga positions you had been doing that pressed on your belly you should not be doing them during your third trimester, but as long as you still feel up to it, it is perfectly safe to continue with your prenatal yoga exercises.  Continue using all the poses listed above that don’t require you to lie on your belly.  It is especially good to practice the “cat-cow” position as this helps to get the baby moving in the right direction; downward and headfirst. 

The most important thing to remember is to not overdo it; pace yourself and if you ever find a certain pose is causing you pain, consult your teacher and discontinue using that pose. 

Benefits of practicing yoga while pregnant

There are many benefits to practicing yoga during your pregnancy besides preparing your body for the impending birth; it is also an excellent way to find some inner peace in a time that can be very stressful, both physically and mentally.  Yoga teaches you the importance of breathing and relaxing; it is as much a spiritual experience to some as much as it is a physical experience.  Yoga also teaches you how to listen to your body which is extremely important at this time in your life; you need to be in touch with every aspect of what is going on with your body and you are the best person to know this. 

Most women who practice yoga during their pregnancies have testified to how much easier the labor and birth was for them.  Don’t assume, however, that yoga will make for a painless birth; you will have intense pain; that is why they call it labor.  What prenatal yoga will do for you is prepare your body and mind for a more pleasant birth experience. 

  • yoga.about.com
  • www.healthandyoga.com
  • www.netdoctor.co.uk/health_advice/facts/pregnancy_yoga_003738.htm