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EMBRACING PRENATAL YOGA by Dr. Peter McIlveen

For those who uphold an active lifestyle, remaining active while pregnant is key, as it’s been shown that active women more easily adapt to pregnancy than their out-of-shape peers. Carrying the weight gain during pregnancy is more manageable, the physical demands of labor and birth will be more prepared for, and getting in shape post-pregnancy will be a more attainable goal.

Even if you weren’t active before pregnancy, participating in more gentle exercise designed for pregnancy, such as pregnancy Pilates or an aquanatal class, can be beneficial if safety guidelines are adhered to and your OB/GYN or midwife gives you the green light. You’ll find you’re more energized, happier, well-rested and less susceptible to back and muscle pains related to pregnancy as well as pregnancy complications.

One of the most popular forms of exercise designed specifically for those with-child is prenatal yoga. Moms-to-be who practice prenatal yoga have found that the exercise helps in maintaining flexibility and muscle tone as well as developing crucial breathing techniques that will help during labor.

However, for years, prenatal yogis are often advised against engaging in poses that require them to lie on their backs or hold an inversion position, for fear it could reduce circulation to the fetus and contribute to a spike in fetal heart rate. But studies have shown this isn’t the case! Women who have performed these poses later in their third trimester have demonstrated no adverse changes in maternal or fetal wellbeing. These poses include:

Corpse pose, which is a resting pose performed typically at the conclusion of your practice, where the practitioner lies flat on their back with their eyes closed and arms relaxed at their sides.
corpse pose

Downward facing dog is a pose in which the practitioners body assumes an inverted “V” shape, with their hands and feet planted firmly on the floor, and their backsides are pointing upwards.

downward facing dog

Child’s pose occurs when a practitioner starts off by kneeling, and then bends their upper body downwards until their head rests on the floor in front of their knees.

child's pose

Happy baby pose requires the practitioner to lay on their back and bend their knees into their belly, gripping the outside of their feet with their hands, opening their knees slightly wider than their torso until their shins are perpendicular to the floor.

happy baby's poseAs always, consult with your own OB/GYN or midwife before changing your physical routine or if you’d like to incorporate yoga into your pregnancy exercises. If you’re in the first stages of pregnancy, or are planning on become pregnant, please reach out to the warm and welcoming professionals at Total Woman Care Obstetrics & Gynecology.