– Stretching & Yoga

Some experts say, pregnant women are hurting themselves and risking their unborn children by practicing some common yoga poses. Enid Guthrie a Childbirth Educator, Midwife for 13 years, and Pre-Natal Yoga instructor, said she had seen women with ruptured membranes, and there was a risk of miscarriage for women who did inappropriate poses. Ms Guthrie has said she did not let her pregnant yoga students do inversions partly because the hormone relaxin causes the ligaments that hold the uterus to soften during pregnancy.

WARNING LEVEL: Low-Risk Method

The whole system of Yoga is built on three main structures: exercise, breathing, and meditation. The exercises of Yoga are designed to put pressure on the glandular systems of the body, thereby increasing its efficiency and total health. Breathing techniques are based on the concept that breath is the source of life in the body. The Yoga student gently increases breath control to improve the health and function of both body and mind. These two systems of exercise and breathing then prepare the body and mind for meditation, and the student finds an easy approach to a quiet mind that allows silence and healing from everyday stress. Regular daily practice of all three parts of this structure of Yoga produces a clear, bright mind and a strong, capable body.

TWISTS

Deep twisting positions, compressing or straining your spine and abdomen, and all yoga positions that stretch your abdominal muscles excessively, such as: Prayer Twist and Revolved Triangle

Prayer Twist

Stand with your feet together. Bend your knees with your weight in your heels. Bring your hands together in front of your chest.

Hinge your torso forward; keep your spine long, rather than allowing your upper back and shoulders to round forward. Keep your hips lower than your shoulders as you twist your torso, shoulders and head toward your right.

Hook your elbow on the outside of your thigh. Look straight ahead or over your top shoulder. Take 5-10 full breaths.

Repeat the twist to the left.

Prayer Twist Position

Revolved Triangle Yoga
Revolved Triangle
Start with your feet about double shoulder-width apart. Your front foot should be facing out, and your back foot turned at a 75-degree angle inwards. Open your arms straight out above your legs.Twist the backhand to the front foot. You can place it on your leg if you can’t reach the floor, or you could place it on the inside or outside of your front foot. Lift your other arm up into the air, opening your chest and looking out over your lifted hand.

BACKBENDS

Wheel Pose, Standing Back Bends, Camel Pose and Cobra variations

The Wheel

Start by laying on your back. Bend your knees and place your feet near your butt. Put your hands underneath your shoulders with your fingers pointing towards you and your palms down.

Extend your arms and legs without locking any joints, pushing your back off the ground. Bend at the back and continue the curve of your spine with your head.

The Wheel – Yoga
High Cobra

Start by laying flat on your stomach with your hands directly under your shoulders. Straighten your arms to push your chest up, stretching out your abdomen.

Roll your shoulders back and keep your neck long so that you don’t hunch over. You can look up at the sky, keep a straight neck, or bow your chin to your chest for a neck stretch.

High Cobra – Yoga

BELLY DOWN POSES

Face down, belly positions: Bow Pose and Locust Pose and the Low Cobra. Poses in which you lie on the belly can be practiced in the first trimester as the fetus is still very small. Later in pregnancy, it could cause complications.

Low Cobra

Lay flat on your stomach and place your hands beneath your shoulders. Push your chest up with your arms, keeping your elbows on the ground.

Don’t use your back muscles to lift yourself, only use the pressure from your arms to stretch your back. Look up towards the sky or roll your head forward to stretch your neck.

Low Cobra – Yoga
Bow

Lay flat on your stomach. Bend your knees to lift your feet into the air, and reach your arms back to grab onto your ankles from the outside.

Use the muscles in your back to create tension and lift your chest and knees off the ground.

Bow – Yoga

INVERSIONS

Poses include: Downward Facing Dog, Standing Forward Bend, Shoulder Stand and Headstand. Any type of head, shoulder, or handstand positions that require you to be completely inverted or upside down can place unnecessary strain on your reproductive system.

Headstand

Start by sitting on your knees. Grab the opposite elbow in each arm. Place your elbows on the floor in this position, leave the elbows in the same place, but bring your forearms out and clasp your fingers together in front of you. Place the base of your head inside your arms.

Straighten your legs so you are in a modified downward dog and begin to walk them towards your head. Gently lift one leg off the ground, then the other. Straighten once you feel balanced. The weight should be mostly supported by your shoulders and forearms. Keep your neck lengthened and your abdomen tight.

 

Head Stand Yoga
Shoulder Stand

Lay on your back and lift your legs up off the ground, rolling onto your upper back. Use your hands to support right under your hips.

Keep your legs extended upwards. Don’t turn your head in this position to keep from straining your neck.

Shoulder Stand Yoga

 

ABDOMINAL WORKOUTS

  • If you strengthen your abs, it is harder for your belly to stretch to the point that it must during your second trimester. Poses like Boat Pose help strengthen your core muscles.

POSES THAT CAUSE BELLY PRESSURE

  • Hugging your knees in or putting pressure on your belly like in plow pose has a similar effect to an abdominal massage on the uterus.

UTERINE &/or HORMONAL EFFECTS

The poses put pressure on the abdomen and uterus, working

POSSIBLE SIDE-EFFECTS

Very few reported side effects. However, positive side effects are stress reduction and physical benefits.

RESOURCES & REFERENCES