Prenatal Yoga: Third Trimester
As you enter into the third trimester, just the thought of moving your body around starts to feel a bit much. Prenatal yoga can become as difficult as tying your shoe laces, or turning over in bed. Your belly is a major part of your movements, now more than ever. One can begin to feel more lethargic.
Maybe you were able to keep up with your yoga during the second trimester, but during the third trimester it is time to take it a little slower than before. All poses (asanas / postures) that compress the belly must be avoided.
Be extra careful as your due-date approaches. However, there is no reason to stop practicing yoga as long as you feel you have the energy to do so.
› New yoga students
Sometimes women only find the time to start yoga once they go on maternity leave. It's never to late to start yoga and this goes for when you are pregnant as well - you simply have to avoid overdoing it.
› Experienced students & Yoga at home
At this point you may already be on maternity leave. You have more time to take shorter classes but 2 or 3 times a week in order to get your body ready for the big day.
Continue to practice often and you will experience the positive benefits of a solid and stable yoga routine until your pregnancy is complete. Prenatal sun salutations can be done as long as you feel able to do them. Some students have been known to do yoga up to the very same day that they deliver!
› Mental balance before the baby arrives
Yoga not only helps you physically prepare for giving birth but it also enables you to prepare mentally as well with the practice of pranavama and meditation during the course of prenatal classes. It helps you to mentally prepare for the baby's arrival by teaching you how to listen to your body, how to be in the moment without anxiety, stress or panic.
By developing a pranayama practice you learn how to breathe properly and fully during your prenatal yoga classes. These long inhalations thought the nose and exhalations through the nose or the mouth give you the calmness your internal organs need to prepare for the birth.
› Third trimester modifications
At around 36 weeks, the main modification to make is to decrease the number of inversions practiced. As the baby starts to move to its birth position during this time, you do not want to do any poses that may change its position in a negative way.
For example, avoid doing Legs Up the Wall (Viparita Karini) and Bridge Pose (setu bandha sarvangasana), unless your baby is in a breech presentation, in which case these poses can help her to turn.
Poses done on all fours are good for turning a baby that could be breeched. You may also want to manage your Downward Dogs because they are considered to be a mild inversion. You can always substitute with a Cat-Cow (Marjariasana).
In addition, be careful with any pose that becomes uncomfortable. Squats (Malasana) are always appropriate until the end of pregnancy, unless you are at risk of premature labour.