New mothers-to-be and mothers-to-be (again) can benefit so much from attending a prenatal yoga class. In certain regions they can be hard to find or offered on a less regular basis, but if you do find one, join! Not only do you create space for your growing baby, you also get to connect with a tribe of yogi-mommies who may become great friends.
If you were previously a yoga practitioner before getting pregnant, the rules change a little bit to accommodate your little one, so read on. Here are 5 things to remember as a student in a prenatal yoga class.
1. Drink Water!
So you are pregnant and have to pee very often, right? And, that can get a tad old, right? So, sometimes you avoid drinking fluids because you want to avoid having to stop what you are doing in order to go to the bathroom.
Do NOT do this in yoga class. Drink when the instructor tells you it is a drink break time. If that causes you to have to pee during class, then that is absolutely fine. No one will begrudge you for leaving class to take care of business.
2. Have a Chair Handy!
Your body is changing on the daily. Some women start to lose their balance, due to a changing center of gravity, as early as the fifth month of gestation.
Poses like Triangle or Warrior II, which your pre-pregnancy body would not consider to take that much balance work, suddenly become like Tree Pose in the effort required to stay up. Having a chair nearby to the front or side of your mat will be that comfortable helper, allowing you to feel safe and secure.
3. Flex those hands and feet when they’re up!
Edema, or fluid retention and subsequent swelling, is common later in your pregnancy. If you have your arms up in Warrior I, then stretch out those hands and make fists.
If you are in Legs Up the Wall pose, then roll those ankles and point and flex those toes. These actions help to contract your muscles, which is one of the primary ways to move lymph fluid around your body to be processed.
4. Lay on the Left Side!
Once your belly gets big enough, it will start to put a lot of pressure back onto you when you lay on your back. Eventually this growing belly will crush both the aorta (sending oxygenated blood to the rest of the body) and inferior vena cava (bringing carbon dioxide rich blood back to the heart).
Crushing these major vessels will cause the yogi-momma to experience shortness of breath, dizziness, and nausea to name a few things. Also remember that the baby’s oxygen is coming from the momma’s vessels, so crushing those large vessels also causes the baby to be in distress.
Easily remedy this by propping up your right side with a bolster or blanket when lying down in supine poses. Savasana is a perfect example of a pose that should be propped so that your right side is more elevated than the left side.
5. Move Mealtimes up Before Class!
While pregnant, your digestive processes become significantly slowed. That energizing meal that you used to eat thirty minutes before class pre-pregnancy will now be sitting in your stomach or small intestine causing you some discomfort.
This may also cause a lack of space to an already shrinking abdominal cavity, and this may affect your ability to sink into poses. In general, eat smaller meals more often, but consider meal timing more carefully before you hit up a prenatal class.
If you’ve attended prenatal yoga class, what has been your favorite pose, or your favorite reason to attend?