Most women find they must make adjustments to their nutrition and exercise regimens when they become pregnant. Yoga can help the body relax and keep the mind calm, helping women adjust to the the changes and stress their bodies will go through. Once you find out you are pregnant, ask your doctor about beginning yoga classes. Many hospitals, gyms and health clinics offer prenatal yoga classes, which are centered around pregnancy and differ from regular yoga classes. If you participate in regular yoga classes, tell your instructor that you are pregnant.
Many women choose yoga to cope with the stresses of hormonal fluctuations and body change. With your doctor's permission, yoga can be started as soon as you find out you are pregnant, which is normally within the first trimester. Prenatal yoga is safe to do for the length of your pregnancy. Your first classes will teach you the basics of yoga poses and the benefits associated with each. Prenatal yoga movements have special considerations for your growing belly. Poses that require bending are best done when you bend at the hips and not the waist, avoiding pressure on your abdomen and ribs. When performing twisting poses, twist from the shoulders and back, not the waist, according to Baby Center.
What to Avoid
Although yoga movements are fluid and gentle, in your second trimester additional weight and pressure will be exerted on your uterus as the baby continues to grow. For this reason, you must avoid strenuous yoga exercises. Prenatal yoga is designed to be gentle on your abdomen and back. Avoid poses that require you to stretch your back muscles or abdominal muscles, such as backbends, the Camel pose, handstands and headstands. After your second trimester, use a chair to help you balance while doing standing poses. Avoid Bikram, or hot yoga, because it is done in an overheated room and can endanger your baby's growth and development.
Prenatal yoga can enhance your pregnancy experience. Advocates claim that prenatal yoga can improve sleep, aid breathing and relaxation, reduce stress and anxiety, strengthen muscles for delivery and reduce risk of pre-term labor. Yoga is also beneficial for reducing pregnancy symptoms such as back pain, nausea and headaches.
Some conditions, such as tears or separation of the uterine lining, pre-eclampsia, premature labor or a rupture of the amniotic sac, will prevent you from participating in yoga.