Prenatal Yoga: Safe Poses to Strengthen Your Body and Relieve Discomfort
Pregnancy| | By Sierra McCleary-Harris
“Is it safe for me to exercise regularly while pregnant?”
While everyone — and every pregnancy — is different, it’s usually perfectly safe to maintain an exercise routine throughout your pregnancy. In fact, not only is it safe, but it’s encouraged.
Intense cardio might’ve been your thing before conceiving, but as your pregnancy progresses, you may find yourself looking for ways to stay fit that don’t also zap all your energy. Enter prenatal yoga.
Prenatal yoga is a great way to lessen some of the stress — both physical and mental — that pregnancy puts on you. More than just increasing your strength and flexibility, prenatal yoga can help you sleep better and develop better breathing techniques — not to mention reduce nausea.
So, which yoga poses are safest? We’ve rounded up a few yoga poses that have the prenatal seal of approval. Check them out below, but keep in mind that it’s just a sampling of the many (many) poses that are safe to incorporate into a prenatal practice!
Done together, cat and cow pose are a great way to warm up your spine, as well as relieve stress and lower back pain. It also helps stretch the muscles in your hips, chest, and back. Plus, lengthening your spine helps to calm your mind.
Chances are that even if you’ve never stepped foot in a yoga class before, you know what downward-facing dog is. For years, downward dog has been avoided in many classes, but new research suggests that the pose can be perfectly fine for women experiencing healthy pregnancies. If you do choose to incorporate it into your practice, it should probably be done for shorter periods of time since the heart is below the stomach. Honestly, that seems like welcome news. Who wants to chill in down dog for extended periods of time, anyway?
Considered a full body workout in itself, sun salutations are more of a mini sequence than a pose. Though sun salutations are already pretty low-impact, they should still be modified for a prenatal practice.
Warrior 2 and Extended Side Angle
Warrior 2 is an asana that commemorates a fierce mythical warrior. This pose strengthens the legs and ankles; stretches the chest, lungs, shoulders, and groin; increases stamina; and relieves backaches through the second trimester. However, as your pregnancy progresses, you may want to skip the whole “jump your feet apart” bit.
Extended side angle pose helps you find some length in that side body you stretched out with Warrior 2. On top of helping you feel all limber, this pose is known to help relieve lower back pain and constipation.
Child’s pose is such a lifesaver. It’s a restful pose that provides a welcome break between some of the more challenging poses, but it’s also pretty great on its own. The further along you are, the more props you’ll need to do this pose safely, but it’s worth it. Focus more on lengthening the spine, and don’t worry about getting your tailbone to meet your heels. That’s probably not going to happen with a burgeoning baby bump in the way, so don’t hurt yourself trying.
Let us know which other poses you’ve done safely — and comfortably — while pregnant. And don’t forget to SHARE these pregnancy-approved yoga poses with your friends!