Prenatal yoga (at home or during a class) has many benefits to an expecting mother in all trimesters of pregnancy. Learn about the benefits of prenatal yoga, the best poses to relieve pain and prepare for childbirth, and tips for practicing safely
Yoga is a great form of exercise during and after pregnancy. It can help you to stretch, strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and stomach muscles, and connect you to your breathing.
Most women find yoga or exercising to benefit them during labor and delivery because it teaches you to focus on your breathing and to stay relaxed (become more aware of your body).
Always consult with your physician before taking on any physical activities during and after pregnancy.
If you’re suffering from aches and pains, stress, or lack of sleeping, yoga poses will definitely help you release tension!
Is it OK to do prenatal yoga in the first trimester of pregnancy?
During the first trimester and beyond, you can safely practice yoga as long as you follow safety precautions and modify poses as needed. Never push yourself beyond limits.
Avoid yoga performed at hot temperatures and always stay well hydrated.
If you’re following a specific prenatal yoga class they will have the modifications for you so you won’t have to worry.
Benefits of Prenatal Yoga
- A yoga routine can provide physical and mental benefits that will help you through your pregnancy.
- Improve Sleep
- Reduce Stress and Anxiety
- Increase Strength and Flexibility
- Decrease Lower Back Pain, Nausea and Headaches
- Prepares you for Labor and Childbirth (opens pelvic)
- Provides a Healthier Pregnancy
Yoga Poses to Avoid during Prenatal Yoga
Do you practice yoga on your own? If so, be mindful of the poses you are doing. Below is a few poses to avoid, however, if you are following a prenatal class, they modify all poses for you.
- Backbends, twists, and forward bends
- Poses that involve forceful engagement of your abdominals
- Poses that put pressure on your stomach
- Inversions (unless you are highly experienced or are working closely with a qualified yoga instructor)
During pregnancy, focus on yoga poses that release tension, improve flexibility, and build strength. Pregnancy can cause aches and pains and stretching/doing yoga poses help tremendously.
Did you know that yoga and exercise can have a positive effect on circulation, swelling, inflammation, and a healthy pregnancy?
(At Home) Pregnancy Yoga Series Recommendation
Stretching and yoga have helped with all three of my pregnancies as I suffer from a painful lower back if I am standing up for long periods of time or sitting down too long while I work on the laptop.
I highly recommend watching Katy Appleton with appleyoga. I’d watch her 10-minute videos on Youtube (and currently do for baby #3), however, she does have a website you can find here.
One day during my first pregnancy, I happened to look up pregnancy yoga on Youtube and came across a few prenatal yoga videos. The only one that stuck out to me the most and the only one I really enjoyed was appleyoga.
You can find the appleyoga Youtube series here if you prefer. It’s free, quick & easy, and amazing!
What is the difference between yoga and prenatal yoga?
The difference between yoga and prenatal yoga is …. pregnant women and modification! Prenatal yoga is taught by a trained prenatal yoga instructor which qualifies them to teach this specialty specifically for pregnant women.
A prenatal yoga instructor should have a good understanding of the process of pregnancy and birth and be comfortable teaching it to pregnant women.
For instance, prenatal yoga has modified poses to keep mom and baby safe!
When should you stop doing yoga when pregnant?
There isn’t a specific “time” to stop doing yoga when pregnant. As your due date approaches, just take caution of how you feel. however, if you are experiencing pain or discomfort then stop!
When speaking with your physician/midwife/doula, if they suggest you stop, it is best to always listen to a medical expert.
Prenatal Yoga Poses
If you’re familiar with yoga poses, the top 7 listed poses below will help you during and after pregnancy as they can help you stretch and ease discomfort:
- Downward Facing Dog (avoid if you have low or high blood pressure or feel light-headed): reduces stress, anxiety and relieves tension in the back.
- Chair Pose: strengthens your hips and legs and better prepares your body for childbirth.
- Goddess Pose: helps to open the hips and is great if you sit for a long period of time.
- Child’s Pose (MY FAVORITE to relieve back tension!!): Back and shoulder stretch releasing tension especially in the third trimester.
- Sumo Squat Pose: targets the inner muscles of the thighs and glutes, stretching to open the hips. Great pose to labor in!
- Wide-Legged Forward Bend: improves flexibility of the hips, helps stretch the back muscles, and back of legs.
- Wide Squat: Helps to open your hips (great to prepare for childbirth) and helps you with balance.
With the above-listed poses, have you noticed a pattern? The majority help to strengthen and open your hips which are all beneficial to childbirth!
Squatting while pregnant is very beneficial. If you want to speed up labor, squats are your go-to! Read all about it on our blog post: Squatting While Pregnant (Everything You Need To Know).
Pregnancy Yoga Benefits
Throughout this post, you may have seen a pattern of the benefits. Below you will find a brief outline of the benefits of prenatal yoga:
- Relieves pain and tension
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- Prepares you for childbirth
- Opens your hips and pelvic muscles to help prepare for childbirth
- Improves balance and flexibility
- Learn breathing techniques
- Be in tune with your body and baby
- Prepares you mentally and physically for labor and delivery
Always talk with your doctor before starting a prenatal yoga routine, especially if you take medications or have medical concerns, including pregnancy complications.
Do you have a favorite prenatal yoga pose? Or maybe a favorite video/class? Please share it with us in the comments!