With a precious baby on board, it is only natural that your own personal health and safety is number one priority and prenatal yoga isn’t for everyone. Many mothers-to-be are hesitant when it comes to exercising during pregnancy as they are fearful they could cause discomfort or harm to their unborn child.

However, health professionals are confident that gentle exercise is important to a healthy pregnancy, when conducted within safe parameters.

Prenatal yoga – do it safely

If prenatal yoga is performed correctly, there should be no concern to the mother or baby. In fact, the benefits of gentle exercise, including pregnancy yoga, support a healthy pregnancy.

Here are some simple guidelines for basic safety:

Get prenatal yoga advice

Get advice from your healthcare provider. Speaking with your healthcare provider, midwife or doctor before starting prenatal yoga, will help to answer any questions. It is usually safe for mothers-to-be to practice prenatal yoga, but your personal circumstances may be different, depending if you have any medical conditions, or experience back problems, for example.

Set goals

Set realistic goals. It is always important during pregnancy to listen to your body so setting realistic goals goes hand-in-hand with this. Daily physical exercise of 30 minutes is typically recommended during pregnancy on most days of the week. Although, it does depend on how you have been feeling during the pregnancy period. With pregnancy yoga, don’t over-commit. However, it is good to structure exercise into your weekly routine so that you keep-it-up!

Pace yourself

Pace yourself and don’t over do-it. During the pregnancy yoga class, pace yourself for the duration. If you are out-of-breath, take a break and aim to slow down for future classes so you can complete the session. Perhaps one day you don’t feel as strong as other days. If this is the case then don’t push yourself beyond comfortable levels. It is is really important to listen to your own body and not try to keep up with others.

Keep hydrated

Keep hydrated. It is important during any yoga class to stay hydrated. Particularly when pregnant though, maintaining a steady body temperature is vital. Drink plenty of water through the day and take a bottle to the class to regularly rehydrate.

Know what to avoid

Avoid certain postures – there may well be some poses that just don’t work for you. This could depend on your health and flexibility prior to pregnancy, the size and position of your bump or how far through the pregnancy term you are.

  • Bending from the hips is important, to protect your spinal curvature.
  • Poses where lying on your belly or back are usually avoided in prenatal yoga classes, as are inverted poses, where the legs are raised over the head or heart.
  • Many normal yoga poses can be adapted for pregnancy yoga though so ask your teacher for an alternative, or, if it feels better to you, then sit any postures out.
  • Props, blocks and cushions may be useful to support you in your yoga practice.

Styles of yoga to avoid during pregnancy

Most pregnancy yoga classes will focus on hatha yoga or restorative yoga as a basis. This is because these are gentle types of yoga that can cater for the changing body of a pregnant woman.

Some vinyasa flow classes may be suitable if they are slow-paced however, it is best to clarify with the teacher first. Vinyasa flow can be too demanding during pregnancy, especially if you are completely new to yoga.

Bikram yoga or other hot yogas, are generally not advisable for pregnancy due to the temperature of the yoga studio and the intensity of the yoga practice. If you are a Bikram yoga enthusiast though, speak with your teacher as they may be able to give bespoke advice.

Prenatal yoga in London

There are many classes for prenatal yoga in London, with teachers who are qualified in providing extra care and attention for you and your baby. Some studios are dedicated just to pregnancy yoga and mum and baby yoga following the birth.