A Beginner’s Guide to Prenatal Yoga

Prenatal yoga is the perfect type of movement to treat yourself during pregnancy. It can help to alleviate stress, relieve pain, and prepare you for labor – amongst many other things!

Read on to find out everything you need to know about prenatal yoga before getting started.

What are the benefits of prenatal yoga?

There are many benefits to prenatal yoga, all of which are great reasons to start practicing yoga during pregnancy.

Sleep Through spending time relaxing, you are more likely to have good-quality sleep.

Stress Yoga is well-known for its ability to alleviate stress, something that can be particularly beneficial when expecting a child.

Strength and flexibility of muscles Through prenatal yoga we are able to open the hips and strengthen the muscles in the lower body that are needed for childbirth.

Pain relief Yoga can provide quick and effortless relief from common pregnancy pains such as headaches and backache.

Shortness of breath It’s common to feel out of breath during pregnancy, prenatal yoga classes can help by allowing you to spend time relaxing and breathing deeply.

Meet other mums Prenatal yoga is a great way to meet other expectant mothers going through the same joys and concerns as you!

What to expect during a prenatal yoga class?

A prenatal yoga class will usually be designed using the following sections:

An introduction Your teacher will ask you how many weeks along you are as well as for the details of any injuries that you have.

Breathing You’ll usually spend a little time connecting to your breath and the practice, something that you’ll be reminded to turn back to throughout the class.

Warm-up The warm-up will consist of gently moving each of your body parts through their full range of motion in a safe and supported way.

Poses Poses will usually be a mix of seated and standing asanas designed to work with your pregnant body, provide pain relief, and prepare you for labor.

Cooldown The final cooldown will be a chance to stretch your muscles once again and begin to settle into the final savasana.

Meditation This will not happen in every yoga class, and may sometimes be built into the breathwork at the beginning of class.

Savasana The final savasana of your class will be modified to suit your pregnant body, you’ll usually lay on your side with lots of cushions for support.

Which styles of yoga can be practiced during pregnancy?

There are many different styles of yoga (link to article about the different styles), most of which are not suitable during pregnancy.

The safest styles of yoga to practice during pregnancy are:

  • Hatha yoga
  • Restorative yoga
  • Prenatal yoga

Whenever attending a yoga class that is not specifically designed for pregnancy, it’s important to talk to the teacher so that they can decide whether they feel confident about having you in their class and if so, can better provide you with adjustments.

Important things to remember when practicing prenatal yoga

When practicing yoga during pregnancy, there are a few important things to remember:

Listen to your body If there was ever a time to listen to what your body is telling you, it’s during pregnancy.

Don’t push yourself Due to a peak of the hormone ‘relaxin’, you will experience increased flexibility during pregnancy. It’s important that you don’t take advantage of this as you can overstretch and cause injury. Instead, go into poses with what you would consider to be your normal range of motion.

Enjoy the opportunity to look after your body and connect with your growing baby during prenatal yoga. If you’ve never practiced before, now is a great time to start!