OMG I’m Pregnant!
What the Heck do I do??
Yay! Congrats! You are so pregnant. Don’t worry I won’t tell anyone, promise. It can be our little secret until you get ready to share the news with everyone on Facebook. If this is your first time, you are probably going crazy wondering already if you are going to be a good mom. Or maybe you are wondering if you will be one of “those” pregnant ladies that are gorgeous and glowing, and have the perfect baby bump. You may even be skipping ahead and thinking about that process of actually birthing a child from your body. Well look no further ladies…today is your lucky day. I can help you with that. All of that. And maybe even more.
I can bet that at some time in your yoga life you have asked your teacher how to help you with (insert condition here). And being the guru they are you were provided with a couple of poses to do at home, a few modifications for class, and then miraculously you were healed. That is because yoga is the answer and cure to all ailments. Note: I facetiously make that claim; however, there is TONS of factual research to actually back this bold claim up. Yoga can heal. Yoga can prevent. Most importantly, yoga can give you awareness over your body that is a priceless tool in your medical handbag. So what does this all mean to you and your new body? This means yoga, prenatal yoga to be exact, is your new go to. Prenatal yoga is going to prevent pain, heal those ailments that pop up, give you new-found awareness of your baby and body, prepare you for labor, and maybe even keep you looking smoking hot for those maternity photos you are going to take.
The first thing most newly pregnant ladies ask me is, “Can’t I just keep doing Hot/Power/Vinyasa/regular yoga?” Welllll….you can, but it really is not ideal, and it definitely won’t last. There are so many things we do in a prenatal class that you just will not get from your “regular” yoga class. We all know you cannot lay your baby bump down on the hardwoods, but let me share with you my top 5 reasons to start doing prenatal yoga now.
1. You get to interact with other expectant mothers. Do not underestimate the need to commiserate with other pregnant ladies. Believe me no one else wants to hear all the good, bad, and ugly truths of how your pregnancy is going. You may think your best friend cares about your morning sickness woes, but alas she really does not. Swelling feet, backaches, heartburn, and sleepless nights are all part of the process, and the only women who really want to discuss these are other pregnant women. Being surrounded by ladies all in the same boat make the process significantly more enjoyable…so unless you can start your own pregnancy pact with your besties, I suggest getting into a prenatal yoga class.
2. I know your pregnant body better than you do. Ok so that sounds ridiculous right? I may not be a medical professional, but I know a lot about that baby body you are currently constructing, as do all of your prenatal yoga teachers. We have special in-depth training so we can know more about your body than you might in early pregnancy. Being pregnant is so much more than just getting a belly…you may not have a clue what is happening inside your body, but I do! Did you know that your blood volume nearly doubles? If you don’t know that and you stand up too fast after a forward fold you might get dizzy and fall over. Trust me from experience…and your regular yoga teacher probably doesn’t remember to mention that every time you stand up.
3. Your hips don’t lie. Piggybacking a little off of #2 is this insane surge of hormones that you do not even realize you are getting. Sure, you probably noticed a little moodiness or crying, but what you have not noticed yet is the relaxin. Relaxin is a super special hormone that softens your tendons, ligaments, and muscles in and around your joints, specifically the hips. It is released immediately and peaks around 3 months. It then lingers throughout your pregnancy. What does all of this mean? Most importantly it means your pelvis is going to be prepped for birth. However, it also means now is not the time to get into your deepest split or other hip opening pose. The relaxed joints may allow for these deeper poses, but your body cannot really handle them. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should….learn it and love it.
4. Just Breathe. Breath is paramount in any yoga practice, especially prenatal yoga. The breathing techniques you pick up in prenatal practice will literally guide you through your entire labor process. You need to know which breath is effective during which stage of labor, and most importantly you need to practice!
5. Mad props. Instead of asking me what poses you can’t do while pregnant, ask me what modifications and props you need to get into your favorite pose. I can get you into most asanas…you just need the right props, and enough time to set yourself up. I cannot get you into a safe backbend in the middle of a power flow, but I can put you into a delicious fully supported backbend that will ease all that low back pain if you take the time to set up. You may think your first prenatal class feels a little slow, but you will get into a lot more poses than you expect. Besides, it isn’t very fun to be sitting around watching everyone else in Dhanurasana and Bakasana with now clue how to modify. (note…do NOT do these poses while pregnant please and thank you)
So, if you find yourself with a little yogi within now is the time to really pay attention to your practice. Listen to your body, ask for advice, and most importantly enjoy the ride. Your body and your baby will thank you.
Michelle Young, E-RYT and PRYT is a yoga teacher, business owner, mother, and lover of life. She is also part of the Atlanta Yoga Scene family, co-editing and blogging about her love of yoga and the journey of motherhood. She has been teaching in the Atlanta area since 2008 in the disciplines of Hot, Vinyasa, Hatha, and Prenatal yoga. Michelle owns and teaches at Lime Tree Yoga in the Old Fourth Ward, and is the private instructor for the Atlanta Hawks. She combines her love of yoga and travel by leading yoga retreats around the globe. You can reach Michelle at firstname.lastname@example.org or at email@example.com