Yoga - Tips and Exercises for Pregnancy
by Kim Draper
Yoga can be a great way to stay flexible and prepare for birth.
There are many ways to learn yoga: in a class with a professional
teacher, or at home with a book or video tape.
Yoga has been used for centuries to help center a person and relieve
stress. In many countries, yoga for pregnancy is considered the only
option. Yoga can be a great way to stay flexible and prepare for birth.
There are many ways to learn yoga, in a class with a professional
teacher, or at home with a book or video tape. As with any exercise
program it is best to consult your physician before beginning.
If you are having a fairly normal pregnancy, then yoga is fine for
you. If not, then you may want to check with your doctor before you
begin a class or do this at home. If you are trying to conceive, yoga
may be able to help you along the way to building your family. Some
poses that may help you conceive are the same poses that you need
to avoid as soon as you become pregnant
From the beginning of your pregnancy to the end, yoga can teach you
relaxation, breathing, and stretching and strengthening exercises
to help you feel comfortable with the changes in your body, mind and
spirit during and after pregnancy. It's also beneficial in many other
- Helps you develop awareness of yourself and your baby so you
can participate more fully in you and your baby's health and well-being.
- Allows your body to stretch to remove tension and tightness and
relieve the other common annoyances and discomforts of pregnancy.
- Increases energy and vitality.
- Encourages you to strengthen where you need to for birth and for
mothering a growing child.
- Provides breathing exercises that deepen your relaxation physically,
relieves stress and improves your body's circulation, immune, and
- Practices meditation to enhance your concentration and your focus.
- Gives you and a partner loving, supportive yoga postures to practice
together. And, offers you visualizations to heighten your relationship
with yourself, your partner and your baby.
Positions To Avoid During Pregnancy
Positions that should be avoided during pregnancy depend on what stage
of pregnancy you are in. During the fifth month of pregnancy, the
uterus is growing rapidly, getting heavier and heavier. Due to the
heaviness of the uterus, lying on your back for more that 10 minutes
may cause some compression to the blood vessels, which would decrease
blood to the uterus an oxygen to the baby.
During the fifth month (or sometimes sooner), it may be uncomfortable
to lay on your stomach. So these types of exercises should be avoided.
A good rule to follow is do not do any positions that are uncomfortable
or do not feel right.
Positions, Early Stages and Ending Stages:
Pregnancy Sit up - Lie on your back, feet flat on
the floor close to your buttocks, and clasp your hands behind your
neck. Inhale and lift up the head and shoulders and twist to the left.
Exhale as you go down. Repeat twisting to the right side. Keeps the
abdominal muscles strong without strain. When these muscles are exercised,
help to hold the baby correctly in position.
Modified Child's Pose - Sit on the floor with knees
wide apart and resting on the floor. Bend forward. Join your hands
together and put them on the floor and rest your chin on them. Helps
to open pelvic area. Also gives you a comfortable resting pose and
a gentle forward bend.
Modified Forward Bend - Sit on floor, spreading
your thighs apart to accommodate your abdomen. Bend forward and try
to hold the toes with your hands. Keep the knees straight. This helps
to open pelvic area.
Modified Cobra Pose - Stand with feet together (you
may separate them for comfort) and hands clasped at the back.
Inhale and drop the head back. Hold and breathe gently. Inhale again
arcing the back, pushing your chest and arms back. Finally push your
hips forward. Avoids abdominal pressure and strengthens the legs while
giving a good backward bend.
Modified Cat Pose - Kneel on all fours, inhale and
lift one leg straight up behind you, raising your head at the same
time. Hold the pose and breathe normally, then exhale and lower the
leg. Change legs. Keeps the lower back limber and strengthens the
Wall Butterfly - Lie with buttocks and feet against
the wall, soles together, and let your knees drop open. Use hands
to press knees down toward the wall. Opens up pelvic area, to give
an easier labor, and strengthens the legs and lower spine.
Wall Squatting - Separate your feet widely and place
the soles flat on the wall. Gently pull your knees out and pull down
with your hands, pressing your feet against the wall. Opens up the
pelvic area, to give an easier labor. Promotes elasticity of vaginal
Pelvic Lift - Kneel on all fours, exhale and arch
upward, flattening the lower back. Then inhale and arch downward curving
the lower back. Lift your head up and back and breathe naturally.
Repeat several times. Strengthens the uterus. It encourages deep breathing
and eases lower back strain. It makes you feel healthy, and some mothers
find this position comfortable during labour. It stretches the spine.
- Lie comfortably on your back, ankles crossed. Tilt the pelvis
up, pressing the small of your back against the floor. Exhale, squeeze
your thighs together, and clench the buttocks, contracting the pelvic
muscles. Hold for a count of 5, inhale and relax.
- Sit, squat or stand comfortably. Exhale, and contract the muscles
of the anal sphincter. Hold for a count of 5, inhale and relax.
Exhale again, and contract the vaginal muscles. Hold for 5, inhale
Keep the pelvic, anal and vaginal muscles strong and healthy. The
muscles, like elastic will stretch fully for the birth and quickly
return to normal avoiding postnatal problems like a leaky bladder.
Also help to develop awareness and control of the muscles, so that
you can actively help in easier birth.
Abdominal Corpse Pose - Lie sideways using your
hands as pillows and draw one leg upwards while lying to take the
weight of the abdomen and distribute it over the rest of the body.
Helps in relaxation. Must be practiced after doing all other exercises,
this is the cool down exercise.
There don't seem to be many books on Yoga and pregnancy, but one
that looks well explained and short enough to be read in less than
nine months is Yoga
for Pregnancy by Francoise Barbiraet.
Yoga during pregnancy really can offer very extraordinary benefits,
but it's important to take care too. Opinions on what is appropriate
vary, but most Yoga practitioners agree on the following points:
- The start of pregnancy probably isn't the best moment to start
Yoga for the first time ever. If you do so, it should certainly
be with the guidance of a Yoga expert, and one who understands Yoga
- If you're thinking of attending a class or are just starting
one, let the tutor know that you're pregnant.
- Don't practice Yoga between weeks 8-13.
- Avoid postures that compress the abdomen, and also anything involving
- Don't take postures to the point where you're fatigued.
For more of Kim's writing, please visit her websites
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