The instant you find out you’re pregnant, a whirlwind of emotions take hold of you. The world begins to spin faster, your heart races, and some million-plus questions race through your head. [tweet_dis]Even if you’re reading this while sitting on the bathroom floor with a pee-stick in your hand, I can very honestly tell you, you CAN control these emotions with yoga.[/tweet_dis] How do I know? Because I’m there with you. We’re in this together.
So, who am I? I’m a 300-hour certified Hatha, Prenatal, and Postnatal Yoga instructor who just so happens to be pregnant. Yep! I definitely sat on the bathroom floor with a crazed smile drenched in excited yet fear-filled tears just like you may or may not have also done. Now that I’m well into my pregnancy, I feel even more confident in my abilities to teach yoga to women in various stages of their pregnancies, although one thing should be kept in mind: each body and each pregnancy is different. [tweet_dis]One size does not fit all, and that goes for prenatal yoga as well.[/tweet_dis] I may be living, breathing, and certified in prenatal yoga, but PLEASE consult with your midwife or regular health-care professional before you begin your prenatal practice. Your doctor knows your body and your baby’s well-being even more than you do right now. Before we move onto each trimester, please complete step 1: Consult your doctor.
First Trimester: 0-13 Weeks
For these first few months you may experience a new level of exhaustion and/or sick that you never knew was even possible. The last thing I wanted to do during my first trimester was exercise, but as a yoga instructor who taught 3(+) evenings a week, there was really no avoiding that. So naturally my worry set on, “what can I do during yoga?” Well there is some good news here. Not much actually has to change! Because you may be feeling sluggish, take it slow! Take time to get into each posture and spend several extra breaths getting comfortable. Allow yourself room for modifications. During this time, especially if you’ve been overrun with morning sickness, avoid inversions.
Pro Tip: Instead of downward facing dog, place your hands firmly on the wall and walk your feet back until your heels are slightly lifted from the floor. Keep your head in line with your arms for this upright version of down dog.
Second Trimester: 13-27 Weeks
Welcome to the honeymoon phase of your pregnancy! Morning sickness has subsided, your energy surges back up, and you may notice a significant appetite increase. Just because you think you’re ready to jump into your Power Yoga routine, doesn’t mean that your body and baby are quite up to speed. Avoid abdominal work, especially if you’ve started feeling some (completely normal) round-ligament pains. Your uterus is doing a lot of growing these days, so right now it’s especially important to give your core room instead of crunching it up. You may notice a new tightness in your legs making your triangle pose and forward folds surprisingly challenging. Do not force the pose! Let your body guide you. If you feel pain, slowly move to a more comfortable place. If your bump is making an appearance, begin to eliminate front-lying postures from your practice. Lastly, you may be shocked at your new shortness of breath. Although your bump is still quite small, your baby is already putting some pressure on your lungs.
Pro Tip: Instead of lying flat on your back for savasana, use a bolster or two to prop yourself up slightly or lie on your left side with a pillow or blanket between your knees. This will allow both you and your baby more oxygen for your well-deserved meditation time.
Thirst Trimester: 27-40 Weeks
Talk about growth! Your baby is rapidly preparing to enter the world and your belly is now the size of a beach ball (or bigger!). With all that super cute roundness, your spine may be feeling ready to snap. Prenatal yoga during your third trimester is all about finding comfort. Allow props, such as chairs, to support your practice. Continue to avoid inversions and back-lying postures. If you haven’t already, completely eliminate front-lying postures from your practice.
Pro Tip: Use a chair to support your legs during warrior II pose. Begin seated in your chair. Slowly slide your legs to each side of the chair finding your warrior II.
Fourth Trimester: 40-52(+/-) Weeks
BONUS! Little did you know, there is a fourth trimester! And yes, your baby will have already been born. Although you are no longer carrying your baby in your womb, this is no time to jump back into your regular practice. Begin to very slowly reintroduce back- and front-lying postures, down dog, and forward folds to your practice. Move at a snail’s pace. Your body is especially fragile during this time, as you heal and live this sleepless yet beautiful new life.
Pro Tip: Consult with your doctor before attempting inversions after giving birth.
Are you pregnant? Let me know how you’re feeling or any questions you have in the comments below!