Many women are now looking to yoga as a safe and fun way to stay fit during pregnancy. Many doctors even suggest that yoga practice can help a woman learn helpful labor breathing techniques better than a Lamaze class. With the variety of stretching and relaxation techniques, yoga can be very beneficial for learning to combat the pain or uneasiness of pregnancy, and for helping a woman develop the mental skills needed to go through labor and delivery.
When searching for a yoga class, you should always meet with the instructor first to make sure they’ve received certification in teaching yoga techniques to pregnant women, since many poses that are safe in regular class aren’t safe for a pregnant woman. Be sure to choose clothing for your yoga classes that is light and breathes well so that you won’t overheat in class. You should be able to find a wide variety of yoga clothes for pregnant women in maternity boutiques.
You should also plan on bringing your own mat from home for every yoga session. Although many studios have mats and equipment available for your use, these mats may not be germ free, which can lead to trouble since a woman’s immune system can be weaker during pregnancy. If you need to purchase a mat, check to see if your gym sells them, or visit any sporting goods store to buy one. Best of all, yoga mats are cheap – you’ll only spend $10-25 on a good quality mat.
Another big concern with pregnant women taking yoga is making sure they stay hydrated. Make sure you drink lots of water both before and during your yoga class. Most instructors recommend bringing a plastic water bottle that you can set by your mat. Never attend yoga classes immediately after eating a large meal since some pregnant women feel nauseous when working out on a full stomach. However, you may want to have a light snack before attending yoga so that you don’t feel lightheaded.
The goal of these classes is not to lose weight, but to stay active. During any yoga session, you should never do anything that feels uncomfortable or hurts you in any way. Don’t feel pressured to continue trying if you can’t complete a pose. Take your time and ease into any yoga class you take, especially if yoga is a new workout experience. Of course, you should always consult with your physician on which yoga techniques he or she believes are safe for you during pregnancy. His or her recommendations may also vary depending on your trimester.
Keep in mind that the number or length of yoga classes you could successfully complete before pregnancy may not be the same as during. Most physicians recommend that pregnant women participate in yoga exercises no more than three times a week. If you’re also attending other types of workout sessions in addition to yoga, you may need to cut down the number of yoga classes in which you participate.
As you progress into the later months of pregnancy, you may need to cut back on your physical activity altogether. Women who are on physical restrictions for activity – including bending, stooping, or twisting – should not participate in yoga. Make sure that the leader of any yoga class you attend knows what to do in the event of an emergency. For example, if you were to pass out during class, there should be someone with the phone numbers to reach your doctor or hospital.