Is Yoga during pregnancy really “working out”??
I used to often giggle when I talked about my experience with yoga during my first pregnancy. It really helped to keep me limber and relax and once I got into my thirst trimester, I couldn’t wait to be placed on the “throne” (no, not that throne). The one I am referring to is whereby they prop up a bunch of bolsters to support you from your tail bone all the way up to your head and your sprawl across them like a Goddess. Actually, I sprawled so much, I would fall asleep and wake up when the class was over.
Seriously though, when I think of what I did way back then, I have to admit, there wasn’t any real exertion happening, strength be created or cardiovascular training going on. It was primarily stretching, relaxation and……did I say relaxation? But let’s be honest, I was a little afraid to write this post initially because I know that some of my closest friends that are “yogi’s” would beg to differ, but remember, I am speaking from a different mind-set all together.
There is no question the numerous benefits to yoga during pregnancy.
Breathing is probably one of the most important skills that surprisingly enough, so many women have a hard time grasping. Proper breathing techniques help to relieve stress, keep calm and reduce blood pressure (which if you ask me, sounds pretty darn important during labour and delivery)
Focus is another great aspect of prenatal yoga. Learning to connect with all your muscles, bones and learning how to relax and focus on the task at hand will only add value to your yoga practice and in the delivery room.
However, there are a few movements that I am not comfortable with. Downward dog during pregnancy is contraindicated due to the blood pressure changes that occur when the head is lower than the waist. Tingly arms and light-headedness is often a complaint and Mother Nature’s way to telling you this is not an advisable position. During pregnancy, downward dog should be modified against a wall.
Planks are another that are not recommended during pregnancy. Approximately 80% of pregnant women suffer from diastasis recti so a front loaded position puts too much pressure on the separation and should be avoided.
Other than that, I would have to say I was a fan but if you are looking for prenatal yoga to be your entire exercise regime, I would have to say no. Strength training, in my opinion is still one of the best ways to manage a healthy pregnancy, maintain proper weight gain and support a pain free pregnancy. Add some yoga and relaxation and you’re set up for success.
So tell me, did you practice yoga during your pregnancy?