Pregnancy affects each of us in different ways. There are no hard and fast rules about what is definitely ‘safe’, and many people continue to exercise right up to their due date, but here are some things to consider for yourself:
- Only choose exercise that makes you feel restored and renewed afterwards, rather than tired and depleted. Pregnancy may be a time of great tiredness. Your body is working 24 hours a day on one of the most physically challenging projects it will ever do – making your baby!
- Stick to exercise that you are very familiar with before becoming pregnant, or that is specifically designed for pregnancy.
- Be conscious that your body is going through massive changes and look after it. Don’t let it become breathless or overtired. Be mindful that your ligaments will be relaxing so the body is less stable and overstretching should be avoided.
- Rest whenever you need to (and whenever you can).
- Learn how to consciously relax very deeply.
- Pregnancy has its challenges but it is also a time to feel, strong, graceful and beautiful.
- Enjoy your pregnant body and allow it to move, breathe and relax.
Yoga and Pregnancy
When you come to a Pregnancy Yoga class or workshop, you can be assured that all of the practices offered have been chosen for with the pregnant body in mind. Only practices that are both safe and useful are included in Pregnancy Yoga. If you wish to continue attending your general Yoga class or are keeping up your usual home practice, here are some things to consider:
- Only do things that make you feel comfortable and happy. Keep your practice slow and steady and ensure it is nurturing and not depleting.
- Postures to avoid include anything lying on your front (e.g. cobra or bow pose), deep, closed twists, inversions* (e.g. headstand and handstand) and large back bends.
- Avoid any postures or practices that leave you feeling tired and breathless.
- Ease gracefully and slowly from posture to posture rather than jumping.
- Prioritise stability over stretching. It is easy to over-stretch during pregnancy and to damage your ligaments. Much caution required!
- Keep pranayama (breathing) practices flowing and easy. Avoid anything that involves holding the breath or pumping breaths.
- Make plenty of time for deep, conscious relaxation and connecting with your baby.
*There is diasagreement over whether or not inversions should be practised during pregnancy. I tend to err on the side of caution. We do not know for sure it would be harmful, but equally we do not know for certain it is a good idea.