when should you start prenatal yoga
You can start prenatal yoga right from your first trimester. Prenatal yoga can help relieve pregnancy discomfort and help you prepare for childbirth

You can start prenatal yoga right from your first trimester if your gynecologist approves. However, it’s important to overdo it in order to avoid exhaustion during the first three months of pregnancy. If you do prenatal yoga the right way, it can help minimize pregnancy symptoms such as nausea and backache.

With proper care and safety precautions, prenatal yoga is great to practice throughout your pregnancy to prepare yourself for childbirth and have a healthy baby.

What can you expect during a typical prenatal yoga class?

A typical prenatal yoga class will focus on stretching your body, breathing, and bringing you into a state of self-awareness and peace.

  • Gentle stretches: You will gently stretch various parts of your body, including your arms and neck.
  • Deep breathing: You will practice taking slow, deep breaths in and out through the nose. Your growing baby stretches the uterus and diaphragm, causing breathing difficulties by decreasing your lung capacity. Deep breathing increases oxygenation to the blood, helping you avoid this. This type of breathing also helps with contractions during labor.
  • Poses: You will be taught different poses during standing, sitting, or lying on the ground, helping you develop your strength, flexibility, and balance. You will be asked to make use of blankets, bolsters, cushions, wedges, and belts for proper alignment, support, and comfort. These props help women maintain proper yoga postures without endangering their fetuses.

What are the benefits of prenatal yoga?

Yoga can have significant benefits both physically and mentally, helping you to prepare for all stages of pregnancy including labor and delivery.

According to studies, prenatal yoga can help alleviate problems including:

During prenatal yoga sessions, you get to meet other pregnant women and bond through shared experiences. This can help ease the stress of childbirth.

How to practice prenatal yoga safely

While gentle yoga is safe for most pregnant women, some types of yoga poses are too strenuous and may not be safe. Let your yoga instructor know about your pregnancy before you start a yoga class.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to prenatal yoga:

  • Avoid postures that involve spreading your feet far apart because this may be too stressful for your joints and pelvic area.
  • Avoid abdominal poses, sharp twists, and inversions during the second trimester. Inversions can put pressure on your lungs and cause severe discomfort.
  • Avoid lying on your back in your third trimester. Use props for support.
  • Avoid hot yoga that involves doing vigorous poses in a heated room. Hot yoga can increase your body temperature, causing a condition known as hyperthermia.
  • You should be able to speak normally while performing yoga. If you find it difficult, it means you are exerting too much, which is not good.
  • Make sure that the room in which you practice prenatal yoga is well-ventilated to avoid overheating.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.
  • Avoid poses that cause discomfort.

If you experience signs such as vaginal bleeding, decreased fetal movement, or contractions during prenatal yoga, discontinue and contact your doctor.

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Medically Reviewed on 9/22/2021
References
Pregnancy week by week. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/prenatal-yoga/art-20047193

Benefits of Yoga During Pregnancy. https://www.webmd.com/baby/benefits-yoga-during-pregnancy#1

Babbar S, Shyken J. Yoga in pregnancy. Clin Obstet Gynecol. 2016 Sep;59(3):600-612.

Kawanishi Y, Hanley SJ, Tabata K, et al. Effects of prenatal yoga: A systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Nihon Koshu Eisei Zasshi. 2015;62(5):221-231. Japanese