How to Keep Safe in an Ante-Natal/Pregnancy Class


How to keep safe during your pre-natal yoga practice:

If you are in a regular yoga class, it is imperative that you let the yoga instructor know that you are pregnant so she can advise you of any necessary modifications or postures to avoid:

  • Keep well  hydrated
  • Yoga should be in a well ventilated room
  • Listen to the signs of your own body; you should be able to talk during a posture otherwise you are over-exerting
  • Avoid any breathing technique that involves breath retention; instead you are looking for slow, deep, steady breathing throughout the duration of your class. Also avoid kundalini breaths, kapalabati or alternate nostril breathing.
  • Pressure should be kept off your abdomen, therefore no strenuous forward or back bends or lying on your back or belly: lying on your back could reduce blood flow to your uterus
  • Twists should be modified :  avoid the waist and move instead from your upper back, shoulders and rib cage:  do not try for a deep twist
  • Inverted postures should be avoided or any pose that puts your legs above your heart
  • Due to your center of gravity being off balance, whenever there is a posture that necessitates balance, keep your heel against a wall or use a chair to keep yourself stable
  • Due to the fact that your body produces a hormone called relaxin during pregnancy your body is looser and more flexible which could put you more at risk for strains and injuries if you stretch your muscles too far, especially your abdominal muscles.  A guide would be not to stretch more than you would have done prior to pregnancy
  • If there is any sign that things are not according to norm, such as vaginal bleeding or decreased fetal movements or contractions stop immediately

Tips for bending:

  • Do not do a standing forward bend but bend your hip flexors so you are reaching forward with your heart and your tail bone is in line with the crown of your head
  • Any forward bends whilst seated should be done with a yoga belt around your feet which enables you to lead with your heart and keep the stomach away from your thighs
  • Always be conscious of not compressing your abdominal muscles and sometimes elevating your position by placing a blanket under your sitbones and opening your legs wider will give you more space to bend forward

Poses that are safe and those to avoid:

In general, these poses are safe in pregnancy:

  • Butterfly stretch
  • Cat-Cow
  • Cobra (in the first trimester, if you feel comfortable doing this face-down pose)
  • Seated forward bend (with modifications as described above)
  • Side angle pose
  • Standing forward bend (with chair for modification)
  • Triangle pose (with chair for modification)

These poses should be avoided:

  • Backbends
  • Balancing poses on one leg (unless supported by chair or wall)
  • Camel
  • Handstands
  • Headstands
  • Upward bow