Yoga During Pregnancy: Recommended Poses and Ones to Avoid

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Just because you’re pregnant, doesn’t mean yoga is now out of the picture for you. In fact, yoga presents many benefits for the mom-to-be and helps keep you active and healthy. Although yoga offers many positives, you still need to be careful of certain poses which we’ll discuss in a little bit.

Yoga Poses That Are Beneficial While Pregnant

Moderate exercise like prenatal yoga while you’re pregnant actually improves your health, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Not only this, but it helps:

  • Reduce back pain.

  • Strengthen the heart.

  • Promote healthy weight gain.

The benefits you receive with prenatal yoga classes not only help relieve the discomfort that usually goes along with pregnancy, but also helps prepare your body for delivery and labor. If after trying

With that said, here is a basic guide you can follow for the types of poses you may practice while you’re pregnant:

Balance Poses:

If you can keep your balance, these poses are fine. Your yoga instructor can help you maintain your balance during poses if you think you can’t do it on your own.

Back Stretches: 

These stretches don’t just relieve back pain, but they could help decrease the pressure many women experience while pregnant.  If you have sciatica or any other lumbar spinal condition while pregnant, you may want to consider learning more about a prenatal massage  to help alleviate your lower back pain.

Open Seated Twist: 

While you should avoid other types of twists during pregnancy, this pose doesn’t put pressure on your abdomen and may even help relieve lower back pain.

Standing Poses: 

A couple standing poses you may safely do during pregnancy are the extended side angle pose and the extended triangle pose. Talk with your instructor about other types.

Now that you have learned the basic guidelines you should follow while pregnant, below are four prenatal yoga poses you can safely perform. Just be sure to make modifications if needed.

1. Cat Cow ​​

—​During any stage of your pregnancy, you can perform this pair of poses. They’re safe and perfect for lengthening your spine and strengthening your deep core muscles.

2. Bridge Pose 

—​ ​This pose is good to open up your hips and strengthen your glutes, core and hamstrings. You may practice it safely during any trimester unless you feel discomfort when on your back.

3. Warrior II 

— Another pose that’s safe for any trimester, Warrior II, helps strengthen your core and legs while opening up your sides and lengthening your spine.

4. King Pigeon Pose 

— While this is a safe pose for any trimester, you might have to modify it as your belly grows by placing a pillow under your hips. Regardless, it’s a great pose for opening up your glutes and hips.

Yoga Poses to Avoid While Pregnant

You can still break a sweat with yoga without a lot of impact or extremely intense cardio. But, there are some basic poses that could be potentially harmful while you’re pregnant such as the corpse pose, child’s pose, happy baby pose and downward facing dog pose. Other poses you should avoid during your pregnancy include:

Backbend Poses

Avoid certain backbend poses during pregnancy, including:

  • Dhanurasana

  • Bhujangasana

  • Matsyasana

  • Salabhasana

  • Naukasan

These poses have the potential to cause a lack of balance or uterus compression — both that could potentially harm your baby growing in your womb.

Locust Pose

Poses like the locust pose have you lie on your belly. This puts a great deal of pressure on your belly; therefore you should avoid this pose during your pregnancy.

Face-down or Prone Positions

You may begin feeling uncomfortable with these poses. Substitute for pose like the sphinx, bhujangasana (cobra pose), dhanurasana (bow pose) and salabhasana (locust pose) by staying in tabletop and alternating leg/arm extensions or trying a few cat and cow rounds.

Keep some things in mind before jumping into a yoga practice such as:

  • Getting your Obstetrics&Gynecology doctor’s approval.

  • Avoiding poses requiring excessive twisting.

  • Avoiding overstretching.

  • Approaching inversions carefully.

  • Talking with your instructor to see if they know of modifications for pregnancy.

 

Yoga helps you relax and breathe which helps you adjust to pregnancy, delivery, labor and other physical demands. It calms both your body and mind and relieves the emotional and physical stress of your body during pregnancy. You’ll also meet some other moms-to-be and make friends. Remember, yoga provides a lot of benefits during pregnancy as long as you’re taking certain precautions.

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