3 Tips For Enjoying Yoga Safely During Your Last Trimester

If you are like many expectant mothers, the last trimester of your pregnancy is the most challenging and uncomfortable. It may seem as if the increased size of the baby and the physical changes that you will continue to experience during that time could result in an inability to benefit from yoga classes. Fortunately, it is possible to modify some of the poses and limit the amount of time that you spend in each pose, which will often allow women to continue this valuable practice. Here are some tips to follow that may allow you to be safer and more comfortable practicing yoga, even during late pregnancy.

#1-Avoid Compressing Your Abdomen

It almost goes without saying that it is not a good idea to put any unnecessary or excessive pressure on or around your baby. The trick is to know how to modify each pose, so that you can avoid any unnecessary risk.

For example, the belly backbend could be awkward or even painful during late pregnancy. Instead of going into the backbend with a deep arch, which could stretch your abdomen and cause stress on your uterus, consider the cow pose. The cow pose allows you to be on all fours and requires your hips to align with your knees, while your shoulders align with your wrists. If it often more comfortable to be on all fours, with your abdomen facing downward, as opposed to essentially being upside down, with your abdomen facing upward. 

#2-If It Hurts, Stop Immediately

One common misconception about exercising is that you should "work through the pain." The truth is that mild discomfort while you are stretching is not unusual and is common during late pregnancy. However, pain is never something you should ignore. If it hurts, stop and choose another pose.

Specific examples include new or increased lower back pain. Since that complaint is experienced by many expectant mothers, it is easy to disregard, but you shouldn't. Gentle yoga stretches are often very helpful. Another example is neck pain that occurs as you move into deeper or more complex poses, especially if you already suffer from that type of discomfort.

In that case, you may find that keeping your neck in line with your lower body, instead of moving it with your spine helps with the discomfort. If it does not ease immediately, stop the pose.

#3-Do Not Start Any New Or Complex Poses During Your Third Trimester

You may have heard that running is safe during pregnancy for women who were runners before. The same is true of yoga. If you regularly attended yoga classes or performed yoga poses at home before getting pregnant, your doctor may give you permission to continue now. 

However, although yoga during pregnancy has many benefits and has been credited by some for easier labors, you should not jump in to difficult or challenges poses during late pregnancy. For instance, you may not know that increased flexibility typically occurs during pregnancy, as the result of the hormone relaxin that is present during those nine months.

As a result stretching too much could be a problem, since you will be more prone to:

  • Pulled ligaments
  • Pelvic pain/instability
  • Joint pain/instability

In conclusion, yoga is thought to provide a wide variety of benefits to its faithful practitioners. If you are in good health and not experiencing a high-risk pregnancy, it is a good idea to speak with your physician to verify that it is safe to participate in modified movements and limited amounts of time in each pose, through the end of your pregnancy.  

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