Now that yoga is becoming very normal in our world, you will see it in more and more places. Likewise during pregnancy. Women are increasingly doing prenatal yoga to prepare themselves physically and mentally for what is to come during pregnancy and childbirth.
But what are the dos and don'ts of prenatal yoga?
What is Prenatal Yoga?
Prenatal Yoga is a form of yoga that is specifically aimed at pregnant women. The purpose of this yoga form is multifold:
- You build your stamina
- Through breathing techniques you learn to deal with fatigue
- And with stressful situations
- You learn how to relax in difficult situations
- You strengthen your whole body and specifically your pelvis and your lower back
- You get a better posture
- You learn how to cope with contractions and how to relax in between
- You are part of the pregnant women tribe
- You experience what other pregnant women experience
Prenatal yoga focuses purely on the period of the pregnancy, but of course you can also use all the techniques and tools that you learn in the period after. Overall, you literally and figuratively become a stronger woman.
This form of yoga is different from maternity gym. Prenatal yoga focuses more on the mental part and on how you relax and deal with stress. Prenatal yoga is also a lot more active, with pregnancy gym being more practical where you also talk more and get information.
The do's in prenatal yoga
It is not the case that when you are pregnant that you immediately run to a random yoga studio (while you can still run), take a yoga class and then are practicing prenatal yoga. There are some important aspects that you absolutely need to keep in mind, for yourself and for the little miracle in your belly.
Consult with your doctor and midwife about your health
Most likely your doctor and the obstetrician will only applaud prenatal yoga (and exercise in general), but you want to be sure. Therefore, at each visit, discuss:
- The status of your health
- How you exercise
- How you want to exercise
- What advice do they have in this
Start on time with prenatal yoga
The advice is to start with pregnancy yoga from your third month. From now on you have more certainty within your pregnancy, you are still active and fit and well able to move. This contributes to all yoga exercises that you do, making your body stronger and preparing yourself for these exercises in the period when you become less mobile.
Are you already a few months in and haven't started prenatal yoga yet? Even then you can still enroll. Just when you notice at a given moment that you are suffering from your pelvis, your lower back, your stress and/or your fatigue, go to yoga.
Prenatal yoga until just before delivery
You can continue with prenatal yoga until just before delivery, precisely because it focuses on mental preparation, breathing and relaxation. The physical side remains an important part of prenatal yoga, but as mentioned, it is part of yoga.
Check with your health insurance about pregnancy yoga
Do you want to know whether your pregnancy yoga is reimbursed? Please inquire prior to your course whether this specific prenatal yoga is reimbursed by your health insurer and what you need to arrange for this.
Not all courses are reimbursed and there are specific rules when it is reimbursed. Think, for example, of proof of participation and completion of the pregnancy yoga. You do not want to worry about this during yoga, so arrange everything in advance.
Be honest, sincere and yourself
This principle applies to every form of yoga (and preferably in life at all), but being honest, sincere and being yourself is especially true in prenatal yoga:
- You are surrounded by other pregnant women
- Everyone is unique
- Every body is different
- Everyone reacts differently to their pregnancy
By being honest, sincere and yourself, you are open to learn from others and to let others learn from you. It is a shame to pretend to be different, stronger, less emotional, more stable or whatever. Make yourself vulnerable and you will see that others will do the same. This allows you to learn so much more from each other.
Listen to your body
This one sounds so logical, but this one might just be one of the hardest. Your body changes and what you can and cannot do is suddenly very different than before your pregnancy. That is why it is all the more important to listen to yourself and your body. Don't put pressure on what you should be able to do, just do what you can and what feels right.
The don'ts of prenatal yoga
Of course there are also aspects that you should not do when you are pregnant and want to follow prenatal yoga. Your body, your baby and your mental peace are the most important during this beautiful period. So make sure you don't get in your way.
Doing a different yoga style
No matter how healthy, fit and active you are, don't just continue with all your sports and yoga styles when you are pregnant. By doing prenatal yoga you learn what you can and cannot do, but also what your body does and does not need. If you really want to do other forms of yoga, make sure you discuss this with your prenatal yoga teacher, so that you know what you can and cannot do during other yoga styles.
Work with a yoga teacher who has experience with prenatal yoga
Informing your yoga teacher that you are pregnant and that you are not allowed to do straight abdominal exercises is not enough to protect yourself during your pregnancy. Because you really want to protect yourself (and your baby). By continuing with yoga without proper guidance, you can teach yourself wrong postures and techniques that actually make you less strong during your pregnancy.
Take your partner with you to every class
Prenatal yoga is not meant for taking your partner with you to every class. Some courses have a partner lesson, so that your partner also learns how to relax and can support you in this. But in general, prenatal yoga is only for pregnant women. Enjoy, you're part of the pregnant women tribe ;)
Going to prenatal yoga infrequently
You are busy, you feel good and you miss a class. Oh, and next week isn't convenient either, you'll be back the week after. That is such a shame and don't do it!
Consciously choose to go to your prenatal yoga class every week, to work on your own health. It's good for you and your baby, especially when you're so busy. By committing and going structural, your body and mind will become stronger, which will only benefit in your last trimester.
Do not start yoga immediately after giving birth
After you give birth, you can continue with yoga, but in the form of post-natal yoga. Do give your body a few weeks of rest (at least four) and always consult your doctor first, but it is often good to get exercise again around this time. Realize and accept that your body has changed and that you are not the same physically strong lady you were before your pregnancy. Therefore, build up slowly and let yourself be guided by a yoga teacher specialized in prenatal yoga or postnatal yoga.
Enjoy your pregnancy and the prenatal yoga
Prepare well, read about what you can and cannot do during your pregnancy, but most importantly: enjoy this period. Enjoy the new yoga style you can do now and what it does to your changing body.
Are you curious about the yoga exercises within prenatal yoga? We have listed seven yoga exercises for you that are good for you during your pregnancy.