Updated: Sep 7
As a mum of two and as a yoga teacher, I can attest to experiencing a different yoga practice through my pregnancies. Throughout my first pregnancy I enjoyed an athletic practice versus in my second I felt the need to embrace a more yin/restorative practice. Different babies, different experiences. Just as each individual's body is unique, each pregnancy is unique. No matter the differences though, the overall intention for all pregnancies remains the same: create space.
How each of us go about creating space for our growing belly babies might look different to the next expectant mama, so my best piece of advice in maintaining fitness throughout a pregnancy is to practice how it feels best for you and your growing baby. Pregnancy is a great time to start tuning inward and really listening into how your body feels, what your baby needs and creating movement to help nourish those needs and wants. But...you're here for a bit more that just that one tip, so read on for tips to help you stay fit, healthy and most importantly to enjoy your pregnancy throughout each trimester.
The overall intention in keeping fit & healthy during your pregnancy is to create space: physically, mentally and emotionally. It’s a phase of life to maintain your fitness and embrace your intuition. While you will find that modifications to your fitness routine will be necessary, you will still be able to continue enjoying your favourite ways of movement throughout your pregnancy journey. - Jessica Dietrich
This is the most gentle and vulnerable time of your pregnancy. Your new little belly baby is working together with your body to make a safe and viable home in the womb. To help facilitate that process you need to keep your body temp below 38 degrees Celsius, avoid strenuous activity and keep stress (emotional and physical) down to a minimum. Your body is producing a surge of hormones, which can cause nausea, tiredness or even sickness - remember it’s ok to take a rest.
Avoid heated classes
Replace closed twists, like a twisted lunge, with open twists.
Replace large back bends, like wheel or camel pose with supported bridge.
Replace big inversions, like handstands with gentle inversions, such as waterfall or a supported bridge.
Listen to your body: when you’re tired take a rest, when your energetic ride that wave! This is not the time to push through any pain or tiredness. Start to listen and react to your body’s communication.
Your baby has implanted into the uterus, and your risk of miscarriage has greatly decreased! Many women start to feel more energetic - enjoy this energy surge and head back into your favourite fitness activities. The general rule of thumb is you can continue your fitness routines that were established prior to pregnancy, but it is best to not begin any new fitness routines. You’ll start to develop a belly bump during this trimester and will need to accommodate for this growing belly while exercising.
Continue modifications from T1.
Create more stability & balance by practicing a hip width stance for standing postures and lunges, such as chair pose and warrior lunges.
Avoid crunching abdominal exercises, like bicycle legs and boat pose. (remember: create space)
Modify with planks and bridge lifts.
Once belly has popped, avoid stomach lying postures, like bow pose and cobra. This will require you to modify your vinyasa during yoga class. (Learn the prenatal vinyasa in the Prenatal for Beginners class)
If lower back pain begins, please see a physiotherapist as this could be a variety of things and will require special modifications to combat the pain.
Lengthen your lumbar spine in all poses to counteract the pregnant bodies natural desire to over bend the lower back as the belly expands.
Belly baby and you are starting to really bulk up and prepare for baby’s entrance into the world. Your body returns to producing a large amount of hormones and baby might start causing you some discomfort around your pelvis and ribcage…just to name a couple areas.
Continue modifications from T1 and T2
Squats are great! Use these to build endurance for labour and keep up strength to assist in your postnatal recovery.
Embrace support from props: blocks, bolsters, walls and blankets will assist in helping you to create balance and space.
As baby grows, your diaphragm loses space. Support your breathing functions by utilising your intercostal muscles.
To counteract your growing breasts and to prepare for feeding baby, enjoy chest & shoulder opening postures like cow-face arms and downward dog with blocks or the wall.
Keep fit and healthy throughout your pregnancy with the Prenatal Yoga Channel inside the Updog Yoga Mamas online subscription. Expectant mamas will enhance their growing bond between baby and mama, while safely enjoying yoga. Your first 7 days are free, start practicing today!
Please note: The above are suggestions based on a normal, healthy pregnancy. Please refer to your medical care provider to discuss the best way for your body to maintain fitness during pregnancy.
The Updog Yoga Mamas intention, is to provide a way for mamas to bring yoga into their daily routine without complication. I want to empower mamas to acknowledge their energy and their families energy each day, and then select the best practice for that day. Whether it be a 10 minute grounding meditation to balance out the emotional rollercoaster of motherhood, a 30 minute gentle yin to restore the body after a sleepless night or a 45 minute power flow to energise the body and mind - mamas now have the choice to cater their daily practice to suit their needs. Join now >