Carrying a baby for 9 months (let’s be honest, it’s more like 10 months) takes its toll on a woman’s body. When you feel exhausted all the time, trying to stay awake at work, accepting that you indeed have a “baby brain,” and wanting to maintain a healthy lifestyle are all difficult tasks for a pregnant woman to do.
We know that exercise is important, but finding the energy to do it is sometimes not even an option. Before I was pregnant with my first son, I used to do a variety of exercise classes, from cardio to a few days of yoga mixed in between. As my pregnancy progressed, I found that I didn’t have the energy to keep up with my many classes, but yoga was something that helped me throughout the difficult times for the 9-month duration.
Making sure that your body has the strength to endure a possibly long labor or a difficult recovery is an important consideration for all mommies-to-be. Wear comfortable shaping leggings. When continuing your yoga journey through your pregnancy, you will want to modify some of the poses you perform; plus, focus on those that are more nurturing for your pregnant body. This includes areas such as the upper and lower back, the neck, avoiding twisted poses, and anything that puts pressure on your stomach.
Poses for Your Back
Carrying a belly with a baby about the size of a watermelon puts a lot of strain on your back. One of my all-time favorite prenatal poses, even now post-baby, is the combination of cat and cow.
- Begin on all fours with your belly pointing down towards the mat.
- Inhale and curve your back pointing your head up to the sky.
- Exhale and curve your back inward like a cat with your head pointing down to look at your chest.
- Repeat as necessary.
This pose is great for relieving tension in the lower back and can be performed throughout the day as needed, from first thing in the morning to before you go to bed.
A wide-legged child’s pose is a must-do for any pregnant woman. When else can you use the excuse to take it easy if not when you are carrying a child?
- Begin on all fours and then sit back so that you are kneeling.
- Spread your legs apart and carefully lower your body so that your belly fits between your legs.
- If you choose to keep your arms by your side, this will focus on your lower back.
- If you want to stretch out your shoulders and neck, then reach your arms above.
- Breathe in to lengthen the body, and maintain this position for as long as you like.
Poses to Calm and Clear the Fog
Often, as a first-time mom-to-be, we can feel anxious and nervous about the future. We are also so tired from trying to maintain our regular schedule that we sometimes walk around in a fog. Leg strengthening poses, such as the warrior pose, are great for moving blood circulation throughout the body and awakening the senses.
- Begin in a wide-step sideways.
- Turn your right foot out 90 degrees while keeping your back straight and your arms raised so they are parallel to the floor.
- Exhale and bend your right knee so it is aligned with your ankle.
- Inhale and turn your head to look past your outstretched arm.
- Remain for a couple of breaths and repeat on the other side.
The forward fold is another great pose for creating movement within your blood flow, which is important as our internal organs are being compressed by the little one inside us, and this affects our circulation. This pose allows us to stretch out the back once again and also rejuvenates us and will help clear any brain fog you may be experiencing.
- Begin in a seated position with your legs outstretched in front of you.
- Raise your arms with an inhale and reach as far as your baby belly will let you go with an exhale.
- Stay here for as long as comfortable, but do not push yourself.
Maintaining your yoga practice throughout your pregnancy is good for both you and your baby. If you feel unsure about what you can or cannot do, talk to your doctor and your yoga instructor for clarification. Most importantly, take it easy, and only do what feels good to you. Enjoy taking your baby along for the ride within your yoga practice.