Prenatal Yoga for Every Trimester

Second Trimester (14-28 weeks):

Many women choose to join a prenatal yoga class at this time. If you're a regular yoga practitioner you might choose to continue with a more rigorous practice and modify or eliminate poses as you progress in your pregnancy.

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During the second trimester the volume of blood in the body expands increasing your blood circulation, metabolism rate and resting heart rate. This results in lower blood sugar, which can lead to a light-headed, dizzy feeling. Eating a light snack before practice, drinking plenty of fluids and increasing your protein intake can help steady the blood sugar.

Although your balance may be slightly compromised due to your changing body, at this time most women experience more energy and stamina allowing for a strong practice.

Your breath may feel shorter due to shifts in hormone levels. Be mindful to breathe deeply and consistently and to manage an appropriate pace. With a growing belly it's important not to crush the baby, keep your chest 80-85 degrees from the floor during forward folds. You may also consider modifying core strength poses, like boat pose, in order to relax the abdominal and pelvic muscles to help prepare you for labor.

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Every person is different. Honor wherever you are and listen to what your body and the baby ask of you. It's easy to judge yourself, especially if you are used to moving at a more athletic pace.

This is a time to practice surrendering and non-judgment. One woman's experience can be completely different from another woman's. It's all about the health of you and the baby and ego has no space here. There is no competition.

Third Trimester (29-40 weeks):

Your belly is bigger, your breath is shorter and your baby's movement is stronger. Your balance is even more compromised due to the increased weight and modifications and props are now required.

It's advised to not lie on your back after the 6th month of pregnancy for long periods of time. Lying on your back puts pressure on the vena cava, a large vein running down the sides of the spine and behind the uterus. If you choose to lie on your back, breathe deeply and keep it short.

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It's also important to keep your head above your heart at this time. For example, if you're lying on your back and have your legs straight up the wall, use pillows and props to lift your head and heart up. Lying on your side with a pillow between your legs and under your head is also recommended for corpse pose.

Your groin and sacroiliac joints are looser now, be mindful not to overstretch in hip opening poses like bound angle pose.

Labor and Post-Pregnancy:

The breath practice required in yoga prepares you for labor and those unexpected moments in life.

Practicing yoga throughout your pregnancy assists you mentally and physically teaching you trust your internal wisdom and to listen to your body.

The breath slows our minds and connects us with our spirit, our intuition and the present moment. By surrendering, you allow the baby's development and birth to follow its proper path.

Once your baby is born, it's important to keep up a yoga practice. Take the time to nurture yourself and to continue the healthy pattern you have already established. Breathe, let go and enjoy the ride.

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