Although yoga is considered a safe form of exercise during pregnancy, everybody is unique and there are some things to be aware of before beginning your prenatal yoga classes. The most important thing is to listen to your body and do poses that feel good. Never force yourself to do a pose or position that does not feel good for you.
Make sure that you have informed your doctor or health care provider about your choice to practice prenatal yoga, and you have their approval. Next, choose which kind of prenatal yoga is right for you. If you have any pain during exercising, like cramping, or abdominal discomfort, consult your doctor before beginning or resuming your yoga practice.
When you are pregnant your body releases a hormone called relaxin which lubricates all the joints and connective tissue so that the pelvis can have more mobility, allowing the baby to pass through it more easily. Remember, this hormone is not specific to the pelvis, it moves into every joint in the body, and if overstretched these joints can become unstable. This is why you should not overstretch during exercising.
There are many different styles of yoga- some more strenuous than others. Prenatal yoga and restorative yoga are the best choices for pregnant women.
The hot yoga or commonly known as the Bikram yoga must be avoided at all cost. This yoga involves doing vigorous poses in a room heated to 100 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 to 43 degrees Celsius. This can raise your body temperature too much causing hyperthermia. Power yoga might be too strenuous for pregnant women too.
To protect your health and the baby’s during prenatal yoga, some safety guidelines should be strictly followed.
- Talk to your doctor or your yoga instructor. In case you are at an increased risk of preterm delivery or labor or have certain medical conditions, you may not be able to do prenatal yoga.
- Set realistic goals. For most pregnant women, at least, 30 minutes of moderate physical activity is required or recommended, for three days a week.
- Pace yourself. Listen to your body signals. Stop whenever you are feeling uncomfortable.
- Stay cool and hydrated. A well-ventilated room is an ideal place to practice yoga. Drink plenty of fluids to keep yourself hydrated.
- Avoid certain postures. When doing poses, bend from your hips, not your back, to maintain normal spine curvature. Avoid lying on your belly or back. Do not do poses that require deep forward or backward bends, or doing twisting poses that put pressure on your abdomen. Ask your instructor for guidance if you have any doubts.
- Do not overdo it. Pay attention to your body and how you feel. Start slow and avoid positions that are beyond your level of experience or comfort.
In case, you experience any pain or other symptoms like vaginal bleeding, decreased fetal movement or contractions, during prenatal yoga, stop and contact the doctor or the yoga instructor.