The benefits of Yoga during pregnancy are many – it can help improve circulation, general health, prevent too much weight gain, and promote relaxation and reduce stress as well as help to have an easier labor and child birth.
But it is also important to be careful and taking a general yoga class when pregnant may not be a good idea. Rather, it is better to practice yoga during pregnancy that is specifically performed with the pregnant body in mind and has been suitably modified.
Many celebs such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Giselle Bundchen swear by the benefits that come from performing yoga during pregnancy, but it is still important to perform even the classic asanas with the swell of the abdomen in mind.
Some important dos and don’ts for yoga during pregnancy should include:
- Women who have conceived later in life or have had a difficult or assisted conception, or those have a history of complications during a previous pregnancy, should be careful, particularly during the first trimester. The yoga that is performed during this period should be very gentle and should avoid poses that are challenging such as those that require double leg lifts. The focus should be mainly on relaxing and soothing stretches.
- During the second trimester, extreme stretching exercises should be avoided or should be performed only under trained supervision.
- Also from the second trimester onwards, exercises or poses that require one to lie on the back should be avoided. This can put pressure on the unborn baby. The asanas that require such lying on the back should be suitably modified to become suitable for performing during pregnancy.
- During the last trimester, extreme backbends and low forward stretches are to be avoided.
- Many experts advise that no exercise that requires breath retention should be done during yoga for pregnancy.
- Though it can be very beneficial to perform focused inhalations and exhalations, because this can help greatly at the time of the delivery, hyperventilation should be avoided.
- Poses and exercises that involve squats can be very beneficial because they help to stretch and exercise the pelvic muscles and which can be very helpful at the time of delivery. It should be kept in mind however, that if a woman has experienced complications in a previous pregnancy, she should refrain from doing squats after becoming 5 months pregnant.
- If you are planning to do Pranayam (specific breathing exercises that can be very beneficial as part of the program of yoga during pregnancy) during pregnancy this is a very good idea. Pranayam can help with improving stamina, strengthening the immune system, and help one feel more positive and strong. However even Pranayam is best done under the guidance of persons who are trained specifically.
- Above all, listen to your body when it comes to yoga during pregnancy. If something feels uncomfortable, if there is pain, or if it just doesn’t feel right, for some reason, don’t do it.