Can You Do Yoga While Pregnant?

If you are pregnant, you might be wondering if you can do yoga or not.

Whether you are a seasoned pro, or you want to take it up for the first time, you will be pleased to know that yoga is absolutely fine to do whilst expecting a baby (though the latter is probably not the best idea).

Can You Do Yoga While Pregnant

In fact, it might even benefit your wellbeing. Taking time out for yourself is a must before the little one arrives because as soon as he or she does, you will not be getting any peace and quiet for a while. 

One of the things to consider before you practice yoga is what poses you can do safely. When a person carries a child, the body is different to how it used to be.

Whilst the uterus grows and grows, your organs will be shifting and becoming squeezed in order to make room.

Not only that, your hormones will be oozing through your body causing all sorts to happen, from up and down emotions, unexpected reactions, and tiredness. 

So long as you modify yoga poses, it is absolutely safe to keep on doing it. So, let’s take a look at yoga and pregnancy in more detail.

Should You Practice Yoga Whilst Pregnant?

If you enjoy the benefits of yoga, then you may not want to give it up whilst you are pregnant. Fortunately, you do not have to. This is because so long as you take the approach of ‘less is more’, yoga will be safe to keep on practicing.

This means modifying certain poses, or not doing them at all. This is why it is important to tell your yoga instructor that you are pregnant, or to check out YouTube for some pregnancy safe yoga poses if you are doing it at home.

The one thing you are trying to avoid is any pressure around the abdomen. 

However, if you have decided to take up yoga for the first time and you are pregnant, the general rule of thumb is that you should not start a new exercise once you are carrying a child. 

If you do want to try yoga, then have a look at the gentle prenatal yoga (we have an article on it right here) that has been created to be safe for pregnant women to do.

What Benefits Are There For A Pregnant Woman To Do Yoga?

Yoga not only has the usual benefits – helps you to relax and focus on yourself – but there are other things to consider too:

  • If there is a local yoga class for pregnant women, this can be a place to socialize with others who are going through the same thing. You can also make new friends, and go for a light lunch afterwards.
  • Yoga has been said to help with depression, and could even calm the anxiety you might feel when it comes to being postnatal.
  • Yoga may also give you a starting help when it comes to potential labor positions that feel comfortable for you. 
  • Yoga includes breathing techniques and these may help during the time you have contractions and are giving birth. 

Do remember that as your tummy grows, your balance will become off because the center of gravity has changed. This means you may not be able to balance as you once did, so take each pose slowly and don’t do anything you are not comfortable with. 

You could use something like a chair too, or some other kind of support. Just make sure you and your baby are kept safe. 

What Yoga Poses Should You Avoid Whilst Pregnant?

What Yoga Poses Should You Avoid Whilst Pregnant?

When it comes to yoga and being pregnant, the main types of poses you will want to avoid are anything that puts pressure around the abdominal area, and that causes you to lie on your back or twist your waist.

If your abdominal area is twisted, it can put a lot of pressure onto your organs, and if you lie down on your back after the first 16 weeks of pregnancy, then you risk your circulation from becoming restricted.

Some poses to avoid are:

  • Planks
  • Crunches
  • Bicycles
  • And crow pose

Should You Do Hot Yoga Whilst Pregnant?

If hot yoga was your preferred style of yoga before you became pregnant, then we have some bad news for you. Whilst regular but modified yoga is fine whilst you are carrying a baby, hot yoga should be avoided.

This is because when you do hot yoga you will become very warm. This could cause you to overheat which puts both you and your baby in danger.

So, in other words, do not risk it!

After Pregnancy, When Should You Get Back to Full Yoga?

Unless you have been told otherwise (by a medical professional, for example), you can start doing full yoga whenever your body feels up to it.

Carrying on with light yoga post-birth is fine, so long as you are not causing your body any harm. When you feel like you are 100 percent ready and able, feel free to get back to doing the downward dog. 

Although, do avoid any backbends because this can cause diastis recti, where the muscles in the stomach part.

Final Thoughts

When you are expecting a child, you may want to continue practicing yoga. Whilst this is fine to do, you will want to modify or omit poses, and take it more slowly than what you may be used to.

This also means not pushing yourself too far either, as precautions must be taken to make sure both you and your unborn baby are safe.

If you are thinking of taking up yoga for the first time and are pregnant, it is best to wait until you have given birth before buying a mat and attending a lesson.

This is because it is not recommended that those who are pregnant take on a new exercise routine.

If you are unsure, always speak to a medical professional for further advice. 

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Angela Frederik
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