There are many physical and emotional benefits to practicing yoga during pregnancy and this is fast becoming the exercise system of choice of expectant women all over the world. It is not a very vigorous exercise system and is therefore perfectly geared to the special requirements of expectant mothers. There are lots of bending and stretching exercises in addition to meditation and deep breathing techniques that are of immense use to women during this period of their lives. However, a woman should be very careful about the kinds of positions or asanas she practices because some of them are very harmful to her during this stage in her life.
It is therefore extremely important that a pregnant woman only joins a pre-natal Yoga class and also that she informs the instructor about how far along her pregnancy is so that she can be given the correct positions to practice. A woman can exercise on her back during the first trimester but she should not continue with them once she enters the second trimester. The reason is that blood flow to the uterus is cut when she lies on her back. There are many other asanas she can do as her pregnancy progresses. She should always do standing poses during the second and third trimesters with the help of support because her center of gravity would have shifted considerably because of the growing baby bump, putting her at great risk for falls and therefore injuries.
When a woman is in her third trimester, her body contains greater concentrations of a hormone called Relaxin that is necessary to stretch her joints apart in order to prepare it for the impending labor. However, this hormone loosens all the joints in her body, making it very easy for her to twist and sprain them.
She should therefore cut out all vigorous exercises during this period. It is very important for a pregnant woman to avoid doing deep twists during pregnancy for this reason.
Hot Yoga is a very popular form of this exercise, especially with women who want to lose weight. However, it is most inappropriate for pregnant women because it is done in a very hot room in order to ensure that perspiration occurs. This is not at all suitable for a pregnant woman because it increases her blood pressure too much and it also causes her to lose lots of moisture. High blood pressure and dehydration are both very dangerous for the fetus and should therefore be avoided.
Pregnant women should always remember one thing it is that they should listen to their bodies for cues especially when they are exercising. Their bodies will tell them when they are exercising too much or wrongly and should stop. A pregnant woman should only do Yoga as long as she is feeling comfortable. She should also talk to her doctor before she starts an exercise schedule during pregnancy so that she does not harm herself inadvertently. She will then be able to get all the benefits of exercising without worrying about her health.