What to expect during pregnancy: A Prenatal Journey

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Pregnancy is a wonderful time, but it can also be tinged with worry and anxiety over the new life you are creating. It’s easy to second guess your choices and wonder if you are making the right decisions around movement and exercise, among other things, as you navigate life with a baby on board.

Whether you are new to yoga or a seasoned practitioner, prenatal yoga is a wonderful form of exercise throughout your pregnancy. Like other forms of maternity-focused classes, prenatal yoga is a multifaceted approach to movement that incorporates stretching, focused breathing, and a deep mind-body connection. Flexibility, a calm mind, and the ability to tap into breath work will help you throughout your pregnancy as well as during the delivery. 

Body changes during pregnancy

This is no big surprise, but your body is constantly changing throughout your pregnancy. In the first trimester, morning sickness, nausea, fatigue, and food aversions can leave you feeling mentally and physically weak. Honor the work your body is doing in creating life by taking it easy. Stick to gentle movement and stretches which can help combat some of your pregnancy symptoms and look for restorative yoga classes. Avoid twisting, deep back-bends, or a lot of belly-up core work now, as well as throughout your pregnancy. 

As you move into the second trimester, you may find many of your early pregnancy symptoms, like fatigue and nausea, lift and you may get a surge of energy. Enjoy it and use this time to safely build strength and increase flexibility by committing to your prenatal yoga practice as often as desired and tolerated. These classes are specifically designed with the pregnant mama in mind and will help prepare your mind and body for the rest of your pregnancy and delivery.

With size being your biggest obstacle in the third trimester, you may need to adjust some postures to accommodate your growing belly. Props like blocks, bolsters, and blankets can be especially helpful during this time to lend extra support. Your balance may be off due to your changing center of gravity as well, so extra precaution should be taken with any balancing poses. 

Prenatal Yoga benefits

With a regular prenatal yoga practice, you can expect to experience many benefits, including:

  • Improved sleep
  • Reduced stress and anxiety
  • Increased strength, flexibility, and endurance 
  • Decreased lower back pain, nausea, and headaches 
  • Supportive community & new friends in the same stage of life

The benefits of prenatal yoga extend beyond the common ones listed above and might also include a deeper connection with your unborn baby. As you learn to still your mind and focus on the present moment, you may find yourself trusting your intuition more deeply. This will serve you well throughout your pregnancy and delivery, as well as during the early days of motherhood. 

The way we see it, there’s a whole lot of upside to starting your prenatal journey and no downside. We even offer a free 14-day trial so you can try a few classes risk-free. 

When to start prenatal yoga

There’s no bad time to start your prenatal yoga journey; however, the earlier in your pregnancy you are able to begin practicing, the greater the benefits. Remember the Chinese proverb, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”? Well, that’s how we feel about prenatal yoga! 

How often should you practice prenatal yoga?

Prenatal yoga is gentle enough to do daily but the reality of pregnancy is that you never know how you will feel from day to day. While generally considered very safe and beneficial for both mama and baby, you should always check with your doctor before starting any exercise program. The crushing fatigue that often accompanies the first trimester might limit your practice, but we encourage you to try a couple of classes a week if you are feeling up to it. 

As your energy increases in the second trimester, you may find yourself craving more movement. Prenatal yoga is safe to enjoy daily if you’re feeling up to it. If your doctor green-lights this, then go for it! 

Know that your practice may shift again in the third trimester and continue to listen to your body. The strength, endurance, and flexibility you build here will help prepare you for the actual birth and help with your recovery as well.