How To Practice Yoga Safely While Pregnant

All yoga’s are not equal when it comes to pregnancy. What to look out for. The essential prenatal yoga checklist.

Having taught prenatal yoga since 2006 I am no stranger to the myriad and varied questions pregnant women need answered. But over the years I have realized that some questions crop up again and again. So I’ve prepared this instructional email for you, in case these are queries that you might want answered too.

One of the key questions I am asked is “Is yoga safe for pregnancy?”

This is an absolutely essential enquiry and the answer is yes – as long as it’s taught and practiced correctly.

The reason why your health practitioner will recommend prenatal yoga rather than just sending a pregnant woman along to a yoga class is that there are yoga postures and techniques which are contraindicated (not good) in pregnancy.

These poses include most inversions (turning the body upside down); twists – when practiced in a ‘closed’ fashion and all prone (lying on belly) poses. There are some yogic techniques such as breathing techniques which are highly unsuitable for pregnancy as well. Unless your regular yoga teacher has studied prenatal yoga it is highly unlikely that he or she will;

  1. Know these contraindications
  2. Know about the issues and complications that can come with pregnancy and can modify the yoga accordingly
  3. Know what Yoga techniques best support and nurture your growing baby.

If you do choose to join the Yogayin Prenatal Yoga Course I will cover all of this with you.

When Should I Start?

Prenatal yoga is generally recommended in the second and third trimesters of your pregnancy. This is mainly because of the potential for miscarriage in the first trimester. So, although prenatal yoga is generally safe for all trimesters, a lot of women – unless they’re experience yoga practitioners – prefer to wait until week 13/14 to begin. This period can also be when first trimester issues, such as nausea, have started to subside. You will generally find you have more energy, less fatigue and a clearer head in your second trimester making it an excellent time to begin any exercise regime.

How to choose a yoga class that is safe for pregnancy and practice yoga safely while pregnant checklist

Any good prenatal yoga class with an experienced and qualified instructor should be safe for you to practice. They should provide you with modifications for your trimester. In my Prenatal Yoga Course I have a third trimester student taking you through modifications to the poses.

However it’s always wise to check with your health practitioner – be it GP, Obstetrician or Midwife first to be completely sure.

Here is a list of things to be aware of when choosing and practicing a yoga class:

  1. Check your prenatal yoga teacher’s qualifications and experience before commencing a class. This applies to online videos (Youtube or other) and DVDs as well. Be cautious if they don’t provide qualifications. (Follow this link for my qualifications)
  2. Consult your health practitioner (obstetrician or other) before commencing the class.
  3. If you’re new to yoga and have a history of miscarriage do wait until your second trimester before starting classes.
  4. Listen to your body. It’s natural to experience some exertion when you’re stretching the body but it something feels wrong, pull back and don’t practice it.
  5. Never practice prenatal yoga in a heated room (over 25 degrees). It can make you feel quite ill and, as your pregnant body naturally has a higher temperature than normal, it’s not good for your baby either.
  6. When practicing balancing poses use a wall or something sturdy so you don’t fall.
  7. If you feel any dizziness when practicing a forward bend, stand up. Blood pressure changes are very common during pregnancy.
  8. If you feel whilst lying on your back, roll over onto your left side. Lying on your back whilst pregnant can block the Vena Cava, a large vein which supplies blood and oxygen to your baby.
  9. Don’t practice these contraindicated poses:
    1. Inversions (turning the body upside down);
    2. Twists – when practiced in a ‘closed’ fashion and all prone (lying on belly) poses.
    3. There are some yogic breathing techniques which are highly unsuitable for pregnancy as well.

Unless your regular yoga teacher has studied prenatal yoga it is highly unlikely that he or she will:

  1. Know these contraindications
  2. Know about the issues and complications that can come with pregnancy and can modify the yoga accordingly
  3. Know what Yoga techniques best support and nurture your growing baby.

If you take into account the checklist above you can rest assured that your prenatal yoga class is safe for you and your growing baby.

Be well,
Namaste,
Allannah

2017-10-11T22:35:48+00:00 By |

About the Author:

Allannah has been a Certified Yoga Teacher since 2006, a Certified Yoga Therapist since 2015, and has been practicing Yoga since 1999. She specializes in yoga for women. Her greatest expertise is in Yoga for Fertility, Prenatal Yoga, Postnatal Yoga, Yoga for Endometriosis and Therapeutic Yoga. Allannah brings to her teaching over 15 years of personal study in Traditional Chinese Medicine. She has been proudly mentored by Yoga Australia Director and former Australian Institute of Yoga Therapy President, Leigh Blashki, since 2005. Allannah's formal study as a Yoga Teacher & Yoga Therapist was at one of only two Australian Government accredited courses in Australia.