What to Think About Before Doing Prenatal Yoga

Part of a healthy pregnancy is keeping up with a regular exercise regimen. This can feel impossible during your 1st trimester when you may be sick or exhausted. As you start to feel like yourself again during the 2nd trimester, you might feel like you want to try some physical activity. I know I felt a little limited in what exercises I could do while pregnant but I also knew yoga was fairly safe. After conferring with my doctor, they determined it was safe for me to do yoga. I started researching different poses that were safe during pregnancy and what modifications were out there. There are a variety of things to think about before practicing, like what types of yoga aren’t safe, talking to your instructor, and poses to avoid.

Most yoga will be relatively safe during your pregnancy but as soon as you find out you’re pregnant you should avoid hot yoga. Raising your body temperature too much can be dangerous for your growing baby, similar to why you should avoid hot tubs! You don’t want to do anything that will intentionally raise the baby’s temperature. Hydration is also incredibly important during pregnancy and it can be challenging to keep hydrated during hot yoga.

If you attend a class regularly that is not a prenatal class, be sure to tell your instructor and they should be able to tell you which poses to avoid and which ones you can modify. You’ll also want to tell them which trimester you’re in because the trimester you’re in can determine what poses you can do. Like after the first trimester it’s important to avoid any poses you do on your back because they can reduce blood flow to the uterus. You will also want to avoid extra pressure on your abdomen so avoid poses with a deep twist, or try to twist your shoulders more rather than your abdomen.

It’s also important to remember that starting in your 2nd trimester or whenever you start showing, your balance and equilibrium will be off. I started to notice balancing being a challenge around 28 weeks. Just be aware of this and use either a wall or chair to help you balance when doing poses like Warrior III or any other balance pose. My suggestion for these is just to find something to focus on and take it slow. If I tried to do a balance pose at my regular pace I found myself becoming very wobbly and having to start over quite a bit.

There are tons of resources out there for prenatal yoga. If you don’t attend a regular yoga class there are plenty of yogis on YouTube that have videos for prenatal yoga flows. If you find those aren’t quite your speed, what I liked to do sometimes was just use the videos I’ve always followed along with and modified some of the poses. Whatever you decide to do just make sure you’re listening to your body and don’t push yourself too far. It’s important to stay fit during pregnancy but always keep in contact with your doctor to make sure it’s healthy for you to continue exercising.