Let’s talk about getting upside down.
Inversions during pregnancy seem to be a hot debate among teachers, midwives, doctors, those who have been pregnant, those who are, and yoga know-it-alls. The best advice I was ever given while pregnant: “Do what feels good. Stop when it doesn’t.” Simple and effective. I could end this post there, but that’s no fun…let’s keep going.
We should first define what we consider an inversion for this post. I am talking legit, flipped on your head inversions….not deep forward bends, not downward facing dog, not even Viparita Karani, but head/hand/shoulder stands, and the variations of those poses. If your feet are over your head THAT is an inversion.
Secondly, I strongly suggest that your pregnancy not become the time you decide to try a headstand(or insert other full inversion here). I don’t need to say much more here…be prudent and responsible with your body…9 months will pass quickly, and we will get you there soon, but not today.
So what are these inversions doing to my baby body anyways?
1. Circulation: Inverting draws blood back to the heart where it can be oxygenated and then sent back to the uterus. It also keeps the flow of blood in our extremities from becoming stagnant. Swollen feet? Not if you get them up.
2. Give that baby some room: Ugh there is sooo little space for so much going on in there. Getting upside down creates instant open space in the pelvic cavity for the baby to move, and you to feel some relief. Doing regular inversions will release the utero-sacral ligament over time and keep that room open for business.
3. Relieve venous pressure in the legs: Varicose veins, cramping, swelling…gross! Invert and prevent.
4. Back relief: Years of spinal compression and gravity alone are ruining your back. Your pregnancy is speeding up the process. Inverting counters that natural pull that both baby and gravity are creating on your lumbar spine.
5. Happiness: Inversions make us feel strong, powerful, and beautiful during our pregnancy. They also make us happy. Come on, who doesn’t want to feel that way?
If you haven’t noticed… I am a big fan of inversions during pregnancy. I did them until the day I delivered. I had a perfect, natural, and incredibly fast labor and delivery. Are they related? No clue, but the correlation cannot be discounted. I realize I am opening the debate here for someone to counter my 5 points as to why we should do inversions during our pregnancy, and I am open to hearing all points of view. Bottom line: Do what feels good. Stop when it doesn’t. No one can know your body better than yourself.
Michelle Young, E-RYT and PRYT is a yoga teacher, business owner, mother, and lover of life. She is also part of the My 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 [email protected] or at [email protected]