Preparing the body and mind for childbirth is a trip, and we could all use a little roadmap. To help you create your own path, I’m sharing some tips and resources I’ve learned through prenatal yoga teacher training and my own motherhood journey.
Whether or not you've practiced yoga before becoming pregnant, there are some important things to keep in mind when approaching your physical yoga practice.*
NEW: Get access to a full library of pre-recorded prenatal yoga classes taught by Jane. Classes are designed for all trimesters, and they're on-demand, so you can practice on your own time. Click here for details.
1. Keep in mind the sensations in the pregnant body will differ during yoga practice than your experience before becoming pregnant. You may not feel familiar "stretches" you're used to, partly because the body is producing more relaxin to let your belly grow, your ligaments loosen, and eventually prepare for labor. That relaxin can actually make stretching easier, which is why it's even more important to go easy with prenatal yoga.
2. Take it easy with lunges and create a lifting UP sensation rather than a shifting forward movement, which can overstretch the round ligament and cause groin pain.
3. Twists should be "open," (twist in the opposite direction of the top knee) and to about half of your effort. Envision twisting only from the upper-back, not below the chest.
4. Side bends of all types are SO good for the low back to release tension and to create more space.
5. Cultivating an awareness of the breath is super important in prenatal yoga, so you can use it as a tool during labor and birth.
If you're practicing yoga live with a teacher, be sure to tell them before class how far along you are and if you're having any specific discomfort.
Every Mother is an excellent resource for mindful movement in the motherhood journey.
I didn’t know about the risk of abdominal separation (diastasis recti abdominis, or DRA) before I was diagnosed with it following the birth of my son. [It’s not standard to check for DRA in the 6-week postpartum appointment, so be sure to ask your provider to check you for it]. While it’s a condition affecting the majority of mamas postpartum, there is little knowledge even in the medical community about preventing or resolving it.
Starting around 8 weeks postpartum, I followed Every Mother’s Embody Reclaim path for 12 weeks and made significant progress in resolving my DRA. The approach of 10 minutes of core compressions a day is very doable for a new mom, and their mobile app makes sticking to it easy, since you can do the workouts anytime, anywhere.
For a 15% discount on your initial Every Mother subscription, use my referral code JaneD15 in the promo code field at checkout.
One video that I found amazingly helpful when I was pregnant was from Spinning Babies and Blooma Yoga, it's called "Daily Essentials: Activities for Pregnancy Comfort & Easier Birth." It talks about everything from how to safely get in and out of the car with a baby bump to a 30 min yoga flow that helped me so much I DID IT EVERY DAY in the last several months of my pregnancy.
Here are Spinning Babies’ tips for daily movement for pregnancy comfort and ease in childbirth. Bottom line: walk every day, do forward leaning inversions, sit well, stretch, and rest well.
Nutritious Movement During Pregnancy - Articles, videos and podcasts on how to move in ways that support your changing body
Amelia Travis of Stoked Yogi - Hilarious observations and thoughtful advice on pregnancy and motherhood
The Best Prenatal Fitness Apps & Sites by Motherly
8 of the Best Pregnancy Workouts on YouTube by the Everymom
*Disclaimer: You must consult with your healthcare provider before starting any prenatal yoga or exercise program. Special cautions may apply to individuals with specific health issues, therefore you should consult your provider to find out if special restrictions apply to you. Not all exercises are suitable for everyone and yoga or any exercise program may result in injury. To reduce the risk of injury, never force or strain during exercise. If you experience pain, discomfort or feel light-headed during exercise, stop immediately and consult your healthcare provider.
Questions about prenatal yoga and movement? Comment here or reach out to [email protected]. Namaste, mamas.