The regular practice of Yoga during pregnance can help women to prepare their mind and body for labor and birth as this helps them to focus, to concentrate and to keep them healthy. The Yoga postures are gentle ways of keeping the body active and supple and minimize the common Pregnancy Symptoms like morning sickness and constipation. It can also help in ensuring easier labor and smooth delivery by relieving tension around the cervix and birth canal and by opening the pelvis. The breathing excercises are also helpful during labor. Yoga also helps in restoring the body shape, uterus, abdomen, and pelvic floor, and in relieving upper back tension and breast discomfort after childbirth.
During the early period of pregnancy up to around the thirteenth week, students should take it easy as they adjust to changing hormones and energy during an often intense and delicate period of transformation.
· No kapalbhati pranayama or other breathing techniques that involve pumping action in the belly. · No pranayama which involve retention of breath.
· Minimize twisting in order to not pull the broad ligament that attaches to the uterus. When twisting, focus should be on the movement in the upper thoracic spine.
· Basic pelvic awareness exercises like bridge rolls.
· The fetus is very small and the uterus well protected inside the pelvis, so students can lie on their belly, until they are "showing". · Shoulder strengthening and opening exercises.
· Triangle Pose, Warrior Pose II and Warrior Pose III as hip openers that stimulate circulation in the legs and contribute to strong feet and legs.
· Regular meditation is recommended to adjust and accept the changes going inside the body.
It is the time to focus on cultivating strength and stamina, to refine awareness of the pelvis and spine, and to build more internal support for the inevitable challenge to balance and ease what will happen as the baby grows. The size of the belly varies greatly in the second trimester; different women show at different points in time. As as woman's pregnancy start to show, the pelvis no longer protects the uterus, so it is time to start adapting poses accordingly. Toward the middle of the second trimester, students should tune in more to any sense of numbness while lying on their back as the increasing weight of the baby may place pressure on the vena cava, restricting the flow of blood back to the mother's heart.
· No jarring movements and intense abdominal work. It is important to avoid pressure on the abdomen and to develop a supple belly; female athletes with tight abdominal muscles are at highest risk of perineal tears and urinary incontinence.
· Pelvic neutrality exercises in Mountain Pose and Raised Hands Pose to cultivate alignment of the spine, and stay with the Bridge Roll practice.
· Surya Namaskar with the feet wider apart and include squats. · Standing asanas to develop or maintain leg strength and open the hips and pelvis (wall or chair can be used for support if needed). · Seated hip openers and forward bends with legs apart if necessary.
· For relaxation place legs straight up the wall, with the feet together and knees apart; raise the hips and legs onto a long bolster in Savasana.
· In the second trimester students should not lie on their stomach anymore. Third trimester The focus should be on cultivating energy, especially by resting amid the flow of asanas to allos the body to integrate the practice more fully. It is increasingly important to limit time lying supine as the weight of the baby puts greater pressure on the vena cava. Relaxin hormone levels are now sufficiently high to cause the softening of ligaments throughout the body (not just the pelvis). This can potentially lead to fallen arches, weakness in the knees and other joints throughout the body.
· Continuation of working on postural alignment, to give support to the spine. · Increased use of chair to support a variety of standing and sitting asanas.
· Birthing visualizations in squatting and other abducted hip opening positions. · Rest in Baby Krishna pose; lying on the side of the body with cushion between the knees, under the head, and under the upper arm for easy comfort and relaxation.