Prenatal Yoga: First Trimester
Prenatal Yoga: First Trimester
It is very important for a woman to recognise that in the first three months of her pregnancy she will experience major changes in her body.
1st trimester: The beginning
Before the physical body starts to show signs of being pregnant, things begin to shift internally. This is not only a challenge for pregnant women but also for anyone that is beginning a mindful practice such as Prenatal Yoga.
The main message in yoga is to become more aware of the feelings and sensations in your body. You may think you know what your body can physically do, but when you are pregnant you must practice listening actively to what your body can do.
You also have to be aware that everyone's body is different and that each day the body will respond in a unique way. Naturally, your body knows what it needs. Become aware by embracing the attitude that your body knows what's best for it.
Make sure to discuss your plans to practice yoga with your midwife and your doctor before getting started.
Thoughts about Prenatal Yoga
Here are some thoughts about prenatal yoga from some pregnant students from all over the world that I have had the pleasure of teaching yoga to:
› "Do I practice when I have morning sickness?"
For those that feel sick in the first trimester, this is a way of your body telling you to relax. Take some time to rest. Go ahead and miss a few classes. This is a wonderful time to attend a restorative or basic class until the feelings go away.
› "Do I share my pregnancy with those I do not know?"
Some women may not feel comfortable discussing their pregnancy with a lot of people in the first stages of their pregnancy.
Despite wanting to keep things private, it's very important to communicate to any yoga teacher that you are pregnant so that we can guide you with modifications on an individual level. This is not as simple as noting postures down, because every body is different.
› "I am pregnant and a new student of yoga"
Many of my yoga students have heard of the great benefits of practicing yoga during a pregnancy. They decide to find a prenatal yoga class and begin to take yoga for the first time. I recommend finding a teacher that is certified to teach prenatal yoga through one of the Yoga Alliance governing bodies.
Prenatal yoga requires commitment. It is best to continue with it for a minimum of 16 weeks during your pregnancy. Start out by taking some prenatal classes early in your pregnancy.
However, if you are not feeling well, it is better to wait until your morning sickness has gone away before starting yoga classes. Most women's morning sickness passes by the second trimester.
› "I have been practicing yoga for years already"
That's a great start. However, most prenatal classes may then be a bit too gentle for you. One recommendation is to choose a class based on how you feel that day.
Another recommendation is to incorporate some prenatal modifications into your regular practice. Communicate this information to the teacher so he / she is aware of what you are doing.
As you move forward in your pregnancy, you will find the prenatal classes fit more and more to your energy levels.
› "I want to practice at home, how do I begin?"
You can start with 30 minutes of prenatal yoga DVDs, or take a class series from a registered prenatal yoga teacher. Prenatal yoga sequences are created and taught with modifications to prepare the body for pregnancy.
Modifications during the 1st trimester
Many prenatal modifications are created to accommodate a big baby belly and to prevent compression of the uterus. In the first three months of pregnancy, the uterus stays fairly small and is protected by the pelvis.
During this time, uterus compression is not a major issue. However, any discomfort you may feel, even during the first trimester, you should pay close attention to. Always breathe and have compassion for your body.
Be careful! This is not the time to push yourself and take on postures that are more advanced than the level you have been practicing at. It is a unique time to practice the yoga of listening, that is, listening to your body, tuning into its needs and understanding what your body really wants to do.