Women who live for the next Hatha or Vinyasa session will likely face two challenges — motherhood and hanging up the yoga mat. While the latter will only be for a time, yogi moms will feel the itch to find their flow or center. Luckily, this is what prenatal yoga is for.
Of course, prenatal yoga will be different from regular yoga. This is due to the cascade of changes that occur during pregnancy — particularly during the second and third trimesters.
The differences will usually be in the positions. Prenatal yoga will benefit moms in the same way regular yoga does — and the baby joins in too!
Read on to learn more about prenatal yoga and why it’s excellent during pregnancy.
Prenatal Yoga vs Other Forms of Yoga
Pregnancy elicits a concatenation of changes. These changes can affect how the mother moves and balances. Expecting moms can also experience differences in how they breathe.
All these differences influence what moms can expect in a prenatal yoga class. Prenatal yoga differs from regular forms of yoga in the following ways:
No Flexion in Prenatal Yoga Poses
When we talk about flexion, we mean spinal flexion. Spinal flexion occurs in positions where the head comes close to the knees. The reason prenatal yoga lacks forward folds is the change in the size of the abdomen.
With abdominal girth increasing during the second and third trimesters, any sort of flexion will add pressure to the uterus. This is unsafe for both the mother and the baby. For this reason, moms new to prenatal yoga can feel at ease knowing that there will be no standing forward poses or tortoise poses.
Prenatal Yoga Allows the Use of Props and Assistive Objects
Expecting mothers will experience weight changes. This will alter the way they balance or assume certain poses. Recognizing this, yoga teachers encourage mothers in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy to use props for assistance.
Props or assistive objects can include yoga blocks. Pregnant mothers can use yoga blocks for balance when performing side bends. If balance remains to be a limiting factor, mothers can also hold on to straps or the wall to help them with balance-demanding poses.
Limited Inverted Positions in Yoga
Yoga is famous for its inverted positions. Inverted positions or poses will require practitioners to place the head lower than the body. Some classic examples of inverted poses are the downward dog, headstand, bridge, and crow stand.
Once again, the limitations in inversions come down to safety. Another reason for minimal inversions is that inversions can cause changes in circulation, putting the expecting mother at increased risk of fainting.
Hence, most prenatal yoga poses will have either the head above the waist or parallel to it.
Scaling of Prenatal Yoga Poses
Different mothers will tolerate different things during their prenatal yoga practice. This is why teachers need to keep a close eye on all those present during the prenatal yoga class. With differences in the stage of pregnancy, flexibility, and tolerance, how one mother assumes an asana will not be how another performs it.
Why Pregnancy Shouldn’t Get in the Way of Yoga: The Benefits of Prenatal Yoga
Prenatal yoga might not be as challenging to the joints as Hatha yoga. Nor might it be as rigorous as Ashtanga or Vinyasa yoga. Nonetheless, the benefits of prenatal yoga are worth mentioning given how they benefit both the mother and the baby.
The advantages of prenatal yoga abound. In detail, here are several of them:
Changes in weight during pregnancy can cause problems with circulation, particularly in the lower extremities due to increased weight. Prenatal yoga poses can help relax the lower extremities and allow any fluid buildup from swelling to dissipate. The redistribution of fluid reduces pressure on the blood vessels, ensuring better circulation for the mother.
Reduced Risk of Pregnancy-induced Hypertension
Pregnancy-induced hypertension doesn’t happen to everyone. Nonetheless, to be on the safe side, expecting mothers need to prevent it. Besides a healthy diet with low-sodium, mothers need to engage in relaxing physical activities that calm the mind and body. Prenatal yoga fits this description to a tee.
Natural Mood Stabilizer
Hormones in pregnancy can cause erratic changes in mood. This is why most mothers will report experiencing mood swings. While there are medical interventions for this, natural mood boosters are safer — and available. An expecting mother’s happy hormone fix has a name; it’s called prenatal Savasana.
Better Delivery Experience
Prenatal yoga poses can improve the tone of the pelvic muscles. Mothers with stronger pelvic muscles can better tolerate natural delivery and are less susceptible to complications. This is one more reason for expecting mothers to grab their yoga mats and blocks and search “prenatal yoga near me.”
Mom and Baby Time
Whenever an expecting mother shows up to our classes, we remind them that it’s not just an experience for them. Prenatal yoga is also an experience for the baby. Hence, more than a calming, healthy, and necessary physical practice, prenatal yoga allows the mom and baby to bond.
Expecting mothers need to check with their physicians before attending a prenatal yoga class. Once the physician gives the green light, prenatal yoga awaits.
Here are some ways moms can enjoy a pleasant and safe mom-and-baby yoga experience:
Stay Away from Fully Supinated Positions
Supinated positions are positions that require lying flat on back. Contrary to popular belief, such positions are bad for moms in the second and third trimesters. This is because the uterus exerts pressure on the heart when the mom lies flat. Prenatal poses that replace supinated poses require mothers to lie with a pillow supporting the back.
Skip Bikram Yoga for Now
Bikram yoga is a form of yoga performed in a hot room. This is not a recommended form of yoga for expecting mothers due to the risk of dehydration and cramping. Hence, stick with a school’s prenatal yoga class offerings, especially after the first trimester.
Don’t Be Afraid To Inform the Teacher of Any Discomfort
Prenatal yoga classes have teachers that are understanding and supportive of a mother’s needs. Mothers in the class shouldn’t hesitate to report any sensation like cramping, discomfort, or an inability to assume a certain pose.
If Possible, Take Wider Stances During Forward Bends
A wider stance allows enough space to accommodate the abdomen during 90-degree forward bending pose. This will eliminate the chances of the abdomen being compressed during the bend. In the third trimester, a mom must take a wider stance and bend forward at an angle less than 90 degrees.
Don’t Skint on Hydration and Rest
Pregnancy takes a mom’s water and energy requirements and multiplies it by two. For this reason, moms need to be mindful of their fatigue and hydration needs. As a rule of thumb, mom’s in the later stages of pregnancy need to rest frequently. As for hydration, it’s helpful to bring a two-liter bottle and consume it throughout the duration of the class.
Prenatal Yoga Near Me: Everyone’s Welcome
Safe and healthy for both mommy and baby, prenatal yoga is any mom’s key to a healthier and happier pregnancy. At Zuda Yoga, our yoga classes are scalable to all skill levels and open to anyone — including expecting mothers.
We may not have a class specifically for prenatal yoga. Nonetheless, we make up for it by adjusting and tweaking it for moms. We do this in keeping with our philosophy of inclusiveness.
In short, everyone’s welcome. Whether it’s your second or first prenatal yoga experience, find your flow with us at Zuda Yoga.