I am about 22 weeks pregnant with my second baby boy! Yoga has kept me sane and healthy throughout my first pregnancy and again during this one. I've always been an avid yoga lover, and I was so relieved to hear my doctor say that continuing my yoga was not only safe but one of the best ways to keep my body and mind in shape during all of the changes experienced during pregnancy.
If you are pregnant, yoga is a safe way to continue to nourish your body with exercise and a recommended practice to bring peace to your mind. In fact, yoga can be extremely beneficial for the actual labor and birth of your baby.
*Disclaimer* Always check with your doctor before making any changes to your exercise routine. Every pregnancy and body is different.
First Trimester Yoga
The first trimester can be rough. It certainly was for me this time around. Luckily, if you are feeling nauseous, yoga can actually help alleviate that nausea. You may need to take it slow and modify some of the advanced yoga postures, but why not give it a try? In my own personal experience, yoga helped me overcome morning sickness better than any of the prescription pills given to me by my doctor.
As always, listen to your body. The first trimester can be tough. If your body is calling for rest, embrace the relaxation. Keep your yoga practice to basic stretches such as child's pose, downward dog and tree pose.
Second Trimester Yoga
By the second trimester, most women have moved past the extreme nausea of the first three months. Hopefully you are one of these women. With my first pregnancy, I felt great by week 8. With this second pregnancy, I didn't feel relief until about 16 weeks or so. Every pregnancy and every body is different.
At this point, your body is really starting to change. Your belly is getting bigger, and you'll want to avoid a lot of the more intense core work and twisting. The great thing about yoga is that you are able to easily modify the moves to fit your needs
Yoga maintains your core and trunk strength and conditions the muscles of your pelvic floor, which prepares your body for the intense needs of childbirth. As long as you are comfortable and listening to your body, yoga can be performed throughout your second trimester with ease.
Third Trimester Yoga
Yay! The home stretch of your pregnancy is here! By now you may be starting to get a little bit uncomfortable and fatigue may start setting in. But yoga can actually combat these feelings of discomfort and fatigue so practice as often as you feel like! Even one or two classes a week can really help your mind and body and do amazing things to prepare your body for an easier labor and delivery.
Because your belly is really getting large and full of a rapidly growing baby, you will have to modify many moves. If you are taking a prenatal yoga class or watching a video, all of the modifications will be explained to you. If you aren't, just listen to your body. It will tell you what you should do. Avoid laying flat on your back, intense core work and deep twists that cause pain to your muscles or ligaments.
Yoga has so many benefits for everyone who participates - including women who wish to remain active during pregnancy. With my first pregnancy, I was doing yoga up until I gave birth. In fact, I had been to a prenatal yoga class the day I went into labor. And I started yoga again just 6 weeks after delivery (with my doctor's permission).
I truly believe that yoga helped me maintain my body and mind during pregnancy. In my own personal experience, practicing yoga:
- Relieved muscle tension and aches
- Relieved naseau
- Reduced fatigue and headaches
- Alleviated painful pregnancy related pressure on my cervix late in my third trimester
- Reduced leg swelling
- Kept me calm and collected as I went into labor
- Conditioned my body for the intensity of labor
Every pregnancy and body is different, so make sure you listen to your individual body and also discuss any changes to your routine with your doctor to make sure yoga is a good fit. With your doctor's blessing, yoga can safely be performed throughout all three trimesters!