Yoga for pregnancy

Posted on 22/09/2023

Wellbeing, Health

Pregnancy yoga can be a great way to relieve symptoms of swelling or discomfort in your growing and changing body. In this blog we look at the benefits of yoga during pregnancy and point out some of the yoga poses to avoid while pregnant.

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In prenatal yoga classes you can expect to use yoga poses and breathing techniques to reduce stress levels and tune into the 'Rest and Digest mode' which may also help improve your sleep.

If you have any concerns about doing yoga during pregnancy please consult with your doctor. Most classes are suitable for women from 12-weeks of pregnancy onwards.

Benefits of pregnancy yoga

Prenatal yoga is a great way to enjoy gentle exercise during this exciting but challenging time. It is also extremely useful for reducing some of the discomfort that pregnant women can experience.

Many pregnant women experience back pain, hip pain, and general discomfort as their bodies adapt to their growing baby. Prenatal yoga can alleviate these discomforts by stretching and strengthening the muscles, especially in the back and pelvic region. It also promotes better blood circulation, which can reduce some of the swelling and cramping often experienced during pregnancy.

Pregnancy can be an emotionally challenging time, and yoga provides a calming and relaxing environment aimed at calming the mind and the body. Classes include breathing techniques and meditation, which can help reduce stress, anxiety, and promote better sleep.In preparation for the arrival of a new baby, classes equip women with valuable breathing techniques and positions that can be used during labour and childbirth. It can enhance endurance and stamina, which can be beneficial during the birthing process.

Yoga postures that focus on the pelvic floor can be particularly beneficial during pregnancy. A strong pelvic floor can aid in bladder control, support the growing uterus, and assist in postpartum recovery.

What yoga poses should you avoid when pregnant?

While yoga can be beneficial to during pregnancy, there are certain postures (asanas) that are not suitable. These can vary depending on the stage of pregnancy. At Grace and Gravity our prenatal yoga classes are all delivered by experienced, qualified teachers (link to video) who will never instruct on anything which is unsafe for mum or baby.

  • Avoid any poses that will put additional pressure on the abdomen, this includes, planks, crow pose, bicycles or crunches.
  • Any pose which requires you to twist is not considered safe during the first trimester, such as a supine twist or a recline twist. If practicing later in pregnancy, twists should come from the shoulders, not the abdomen, ensuring your bump isn’t bend or folded at all.
  • It is well known that lying on the back during pregnancy, especially in the later stages as it puts pressure on the vena cava which is responsible for blood flow. For this reason poses such as savasana or corpse pose are not recommended during pregnancy, lying on the side should be the alternative.
  • Balance poses in yoga are fine to do during pregnancy if you are already experienced in this area, however they are generally not recommended incase of the risk of falling or slipping. Instead try using a wall or chair to ensure there is support.

Check out Esther’s website who offers special pre and post-natal yoga at our studios as well as Mum & Baby Yoga for when your little one is on the move!

Esther pregnancy yoga supports the incredible body to stretch, nurture and relax, sharing breathwork and postures to support you both in your pregnancy journey, and prepare you for your birthing experience. She offers sessions both online and in person.