Yoga Practice

Bad Yogi Prenatal Yoga: The Dos and Don’ts by Trimester

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!

 

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20 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Erin Motz

    June 22, 2017 at 11:21 am

    OMG YOU LOOK ADORABLE!!!

    1. Megan Reddix

      Megan Reddix

      June 22, 2017 at 5:58 pm

      Oh my goodness thank you! That was pretty early in my pregnancy. Now I’m MUCH rounder and my hair is (interestingly) quite a by longer.

  2. Avatar

    Erin Motz

    June 22, 2017 at 11:26 am

    Also, this is super helpful! 🙂

    1. Megan Reddix

      Megan Reddix

      June 22, 2017 at 5:58 pm

      I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  3. Avatar

    Kat

    June 22, 2017 at 4:32 pm

    Great article! 😊 Are there any poses to avoid when trying to get pregnant?
    thanks!

    1. Megan Reddix

      Megan Reddix

      June 22, 2017 at 6:00 pm

      Thank you, Kat! Definitely not! In fact, if you haven’t started a regular you practice, now is definitely the time to pick it up (at least 30 minutes daily). The more yoga you do, the more prepared your body becomes, and the more relaxed you’ll feel. Yoga is actually a great way to boost your libido, too!

      1. Avatar

        Kat

        June 23, 2017 at 2:30 am

        Great! Thank you! 😃

  4. Avatar

    Jenna

    June 22, 2017 at 5:48 pm

    This is great, thank you! I am entering my second trimester and I am curious about inversions (miss them!!) and twist! What are your thoughts?

    Thanks!

    1. Megan Reddix

      Megan Reddix

      June 22, 2017 at 6:06 pm

      Congratulations!! I am moving into my third trimester and I recently explored a little further into this exact topic! You see all those fun pregnant Instagram yogis practicing their inversions, but after some detailed research over the past year, many conversations with my guru, and lots of health assessments with my midwife, I will always and STRONGLY advise women to stay away from inversions during pregnancy. I am at my top health and have practiced inversions in my daily practice for decades, so I feel ya! I’m missing them too, but so many things could go wrong. During pregnancy your balance is constantly shifting so you never really know when you’re going to topple over. On top of that, the sudden change in blood flow could be dangerous for you and especially for your baby. As for twists, practice them lightly. Instead of twisting from you lower spine and core, focus more on sending your shoulder back and moving through the top of your spine. All twists should be kept super light!

  5. Pála Margrét

    Pála Margrét

    June 22, 2017 at 7:47 pm

    Question! Why lying on the left side, but not the right? Not pregnant, but I try to lie on the right side when relaxing or falling a sleep to activate Ida nadi, the relaxing energy instead. Am I wrong? 🙂

    1. Avatar

      Weronika

      June 23, 2017 at 3:32 am

      When youre on right side, your growing uterus is squeezing vena cava inferior, one of the most improstant veins in human body:) it is more safe on the left side:)

    2. Megan Reddix

      Megan Reddix

      June 24, 2017 at 5:11 am

      Exactly what Weronika said. You CAN sleep and lay on your right side safely, however you and your baby have increased blood flow while lying on your left.

  6. Amanda Sides

    Amanda Sides

    June 27, 2017 at 1:23 pm

    Megan, congratulations! I didn’t know! I can’t wait to see the yogi mama you’ll be. 🙂 Hope things are going well. And thanks for writing this! I always cringe when I see the Instagram shots of heavily pregnant women in headstand and handstand…. I’m all about listening to your body and doing what you can do, and we’re all different, but it’s just not necessary and can be definitely harmful. It’s only a couple of months without those poses! I’ve never been pregnant but I know yoga is a powerful tool for going through it and preparing for labor/delivery, so I’m a huge proponent of getting pregnant women to class! Even better if that practice can start before the pregnancy, so you’re not doing two new things at once. 🙂

    1. Megan Reddix

      Megan Reddix

      June 28, 2017 at 4:25 pm

      Thank you, Amanda! Things are going great, so far, and our little girl already seems to be quite the yogi herself 🙂
      I am so with you! It terrifies me to see Insta-videos of mamas putting themselves into inverted arm balance poses. Even the steadiest yogi becomes shaky during pregnancy, and it’s not because you’re any less strong, but because you’re body is already doing an awful lot of work growing and caring for another little being. Your body is now a temple for two! Balance is especially tricky during pregnancy, and can be thrown off at any unexpected moment. Sometimes I’ll just be walking and veer off in a moment of unbalance. I can’t imagine trying to walk on my hands during this time (although I do miss it!) I’d rather my little love be nice and safe in there than to succumb to my own selfish desires.
      Without inversions, yoga (especially during pregnancy) is magical!

  7. Avatar

    Isabelle

    July 3, 2017 at 1:11 pm

    This is a great article. Thank you so much. I am moving into my third trimester and had just an Epiphany the other day that rather than take it up a notch, slowing down may be just as well. I didn’t do as much yoga as I would have liked during my first two trimesters, mostly because after a day of work I was out and my usual morning practice had to make room for food prep. Now that I am on my summer break I want to make my yoga practice more regular again and am looking forward to pre-natal sequences, besides keeping up my daily 30 minute walks, I just caught up on again. To be completely honest I feel working full time during pregnancy kinda makes you miss out on workout time because energy levels definitely drop. But I’ve come to terms with that whatever I have done has been enough.

  8. Avatar

    Dani

    July 5, 2017 at 3:53 am

    Great article! I wonder about downward facing dog in the third trimester – yay or nay? I’m 28 weeks now and have seen it in some prenatal yoga videos but am never to sure as it’s also kind of an inversion?

  9. Avatar

    Angela

    July 30, 2017 at 6:08 am

    Thanks for sharing this. I’m into my second trimester and needed a guide as to what adjustments to make during pregnancy. Yoga is proving to be my favourite preganancy workout.

  10. Avatar

    molly gracer

    August 26, 2017 at 3:00 am

    Thank you for providing great information.

  11. Avatar

    Kristina Ron

    December 12, 2017 at 1:27 am

    Wonderful…you have explained the information of practising yoga semester vise very nicely and thank you for sharing this information…

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