At Pink Stork, we believe in supporting your mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical health. Yoga, especially prenatal, hatha, or restorative yoga, is a great way to support you and your baby holistically by offering exercise and stress relief during your pregnancy. Yoga involves deep breathing, which could relieve shortness of breath and help you better prepare to breathe through contractions during labor. It also supports the strength, flexibility, and endurance of the muscles used during labor. Other benefits of yoga include better sleep and lower back pain, and being better prepared physically and emotionally for the big day!
For Your First Trimester
Cat and Cow Pose
What it does: This pose helps with the strength and flexibility of your abs and lower back.
How to do it: Start on your hands and knees, with your hands beneath your shoulders and your legs hip-width apart. Make sure your back is flat and your neck long. For Cow, inhale and stretch gaze, chest, and butt up towards the sky, creating a U with your spine. Flow into Cat: Exhale and round your spine, dropping your gaze to the mat. Continue this sequence for several breaths.
For Your Second Trimester:
What it does: This pose helps strengthen the inner thighs and other core stabilizers.
How to do it: Stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart. Turn your toes and knees out at a 45 degree angle. Stand straight; imagine your chest lifting and your tailbone tucking in. Raise your arms like a goal post. Bend your knees, keeping them at the 45 degree angle. Return to standing. Repeat. (If you need to, feel free to use a chair in front of you, rather than raising your arms, to help maintain your balance.)
For Your Third Trimester:
What it does: This pose offers a nice, easy stretch for your back and hips.
How to do it: Like Cat/Cow Pose, start on your hands and knees with your hands beneath your shoulders and your legs hip-width apart. Breathe in and circle your hips in one direction. Breathe out when you get halfway through your rotation. Continue circling and breathing. Switch sides when ready.
For Your Fourth Trimester:
What it does: This pose strengthens your back.
How to do it: Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor close to your glutes. Lay your hands at your sides and keep your neck long. Breathe out as you raise your hips, pressing into your hands and lifting your chin first to your chest then to the sky. Keep your knees straight. Hold or lower. Repeat 10 times.
Don’t do hot yoga or Bikram yoga, which can raise your core temperature.
If you’re in your first trimester, avoid intense classes that can elevate your heart rate too much.
Avoid deep backbends, twists, and inversions.
Toward the second trimester, avoid laying on your back in savasana, which can compress the vena cava vein.
As with any diet or exercise program, be sure to check with your doctor to help decide how yoga could fit into your pregnancy plans.
Sources: CorePower Yoga, motherhoodcommunity.com, Human Kinetics