Prenatal Yoga

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Don’t be surprised if you spend most of your first trimester trying to keep your eyes open, especially if you work full time. Before you’ve even realised you’re pregnant, your body is working hard behind the scenes to transport the fertilised egg down the fallopian tube.

Rising levels of the hormone progesterone ensure that the muscular walls of your uterus are ready for the fertilised egg to embed. Your body also starts producing a hormone called hCG or human chorionic gonadotrophin which is unique to pregnancy. This is the hormone that causes the little positive sign when you pee on a stick.

If you go for a pregnancy blood test, they will be checking the amount of hCG in your blood and will be able to estimate how many weeks pregnant you are. 

The combination of the hormones and all the changes that are happening in your body can cause you to feel tired and tender. 

How Prenatal Yoga can  help during pregnancy. 

Attending a prenatal yoga class is the perfect way of quietening your mind and tuning into how you feel physically, mentally and emotionally. Prenatal yoga is not about twisting yourself into pretzel like poses or pushing yourself beyond your own limits. In fact, its quite the opposite.

Yoga during pregnancy is about slowing down and honouring your changing body. Its about noticing all the changes and adapting your practice and your daily activities accordingly.

The best part about yoga during pregnancy is that you get to practice the same breathing techniques that you will use during labor and get comfortable using them. You will learn how to use your breathing to effectively reduce stress and tension and to focus your attention. This is invaluable training especially if you are planning to use hypnobirthing techniques. 

Here Are 5 Safety Precautions to Keep in Mind During First Trimester Prenatal Yoga:

Because of all the newfound physical demands on your body, first trimester Prenatal Yoga is often gentler than other practices to give your body the time and space that it needs to adjust to the changes.

1. Avoid Applying Pressure Directly Onto Your Lower Belly

The first trimester of pregnancy has the greatest risk of miscarriage. So, of course, you want to avoid movements that may contribute to that.

As your body works hard to implant the fetus, avoid putting deep pressure directly on your lower belly. This means avoid postures like Dhanurasana (Bow Pose) and Salabhasana (Locust Pose), which put unnecessary pressure on your uterus.

2. Avoid Deep Twists and Backbends

Similarly, you want to avoid disruption of the implantation process as much as possible. So stay away from deep belly twists and deep backbends that could compromise this process.

Avoid overstretching the abdominal muscles and compressing the uterus.

3. Avoid Jumps and Jolting Movements

Again, since first trimester prenatal yoga is all about nurturing the implantation process, you’ll want to avoid jerky movements that could disrupt this.

So hold off on jumping back to chaturanga for now. You can always bring that practice back in your next trimester.

4. Avoid Deep Core Work

While core strengthening may be helpful for later trimesters to learn how to use your core  in the pushing phase of childbirth, deep core work – especially during the more delicate first trimester – is probably best to avoid in order to maintain healthy implantation.

5. Avoid Certain Pranayama Techniques

Throughout pregnancy, you want to avoid breath retention (practices in which you hold the breath) so as to keep oxygen flowing to your baby.

Avoid breathing practices like breath of Fire and Bellows Breath and rather focus on gentle techniques like Nadi Shodana..

Here Are 5 Prenatal Yoga Poses and Practices for Your First Trimester:

Although it may seem like there’s a lot to avoid in first trimester Prenatal Yoga, there are still a lot of things that you can do.

1. Expansive, Soothing Pranayama

Pranayama

Gentle, expansive breathwork is an excellent addition to any practice, but it’s especially helpful for first trimester Prenatal Yoga.

Let’s try it:

  • Start in a comfortable seat
  • Draw your hands to your rib cage with your fingers pointing forward and your thumbs wrapping behind your back
  • Inhale deeply through your nose (or your mouth) and feel your lungs and ribs expand
  • Exhale deeply through your nose (or your mouth) and feel everything compress and draw in
  • With each breath, feel your entire rib basket move beneath your hands
  • Continue breathing like this for about a minute or so

2. Cat/Cow

Cat Cow pose

This gentle release of the back body can help to relieve tension in the neck, shoulders, and lower back while mobilizing the entire spine.

Let’s try it:

  • Come onto all fours with your shoulders stacked over your wrists and your hips stacked roughly over your knees
  • As you inhale, soften your belly toward the floor, draw your chest forward toward the top of your mat, and energetically draw your hands toward the back of your mat. Hug your shoulder blades together and maybe lift your gaze
  • As you exhale, press down against your palms, round and curl your whole back body, and gaze toward your belly button
  • Continue flowing back and forth between Cat and Cow Pose as you follow the rhythm of your breath for as long as it feels good

3. Seated Figure-4

Seated Figure 4

This gentle hip opener is such a good first trimester Prenatal Yoga pose because you can choose how intense you’d like it to be.

Let’s try it:

  • Come to sit on a prop or your mat with your knees bent and your feet on the floor in front of you
  • Reach your arms behind your hips and lean your weight into your arms
  • Lift your right foot off the floor, open your hip, bend your knee, and cross your right ankle over your left knee to create a figure-4 shape
  • Gently press your chest forward toward your legs and gently press your right knee away from you
  • Hold for a few deep breaths before switching sides

4. Wide-Legged Child’s Pose

Wide Legged Childs Pose

This gentle posture is perfect for first trimester prenatal yoga because it helps you to slow down and relax while also offering a soft hip opener.

Let’s try it:

  • Come onto all fours with your shoulders stacked over your wrists and your hips stacked roughly over your knees
  • Walk your knees out wide and release the weight of your hips down toward your heels
  • Melt the weight of your torso toward the floor between your legs and rest your forehead onto a prop or the floor
  • Soften your full body and draw your attention to your breath
  • Hold here for a few breaths or a few minutes 

5. Reclined Bound Angle Pose

Reclined Bound Angle

This super soothing and restorative posture is always a winner in first trimester Prenatal Yoga classes. It’s relaxing, supported, and just enough.

Let’s try it:

  • Lay a bolster down lengthwise on your mat and come to sit in front of it
  • Place your hands behind you to support your weight and slowly release your spine down onto the bolster behind you
  • Draw the soles of your feet to touch and open your knees out wide. You may wish to slide blocks underneath your knees to support their weight. Your feet can draw in toward your pelvis or slide away toward the end of the mat
  • If you’d like, you can roll up a blanket or a towel to slide it underneath your neck for extra support
  • Relax your arms by your sides or open out wide into a T-shape or reach them up over your head – choose whatever feels most comfortable for you
  • Soften your gaze or close your eyes and surrender into this shape for as long as you’d like 

The Takeaway on First Trimester Prenatal Yoga

As always in your yoga practice but especially during pregnancy, listen to your body! If something feels wrong, it is. Pay attention to what your body is telling you and adjust accordingly.

Your body is intuitive and incredibly knowledgeable on its own. Learn to trust your innate wisdom and you will never be led astray.

I’m often asked how frequently you should attend prenatal yoga. The more you do the better and 3- 4 times per week is ideal. But we understand that life sometimes gets in the way of the best laid plans.

We offer daily live yoga classes in The Due Date Club but you can also access the on demand replay classes in our extensive yoga library if you miss a live class.

Aim to do 2 classes every week and you will definitely feel the benefit. 

eeInformation ref: https://www.yogiapproved.com/first-trimester-prenatal-yoga

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