Participation in Prenatal yoga can decrease many common aches and pains of pregnancy like back pain. It can help you sleep better, reduce your anxiety and stress levels, and increase strength, flexibility, and stamina for childbirth. Prenatal yoga can also give you breathing techniques to help with labor.
Not only is it good for mama, but new research shows it’s good for bubba too. This study suggests that yoga can reduce certain complications like pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes in mama, while improving fetal birth weight and APGAR test results in the baby.
It’s a wonderful way to connect with the tiny human growing inside you and tune into your body and mind as it experiences this miracle of life.
What to Look for in a Prenatal Yoga Class
Before you start a Prenatal yoga class, make sure to get the all-clear from your doc or midwife. While yoga is safe and very beneficial for pregnant mamas, it isn’t necessarily for every pregnant mama.
Once you have the tick of approval, look into classes in the area. Many studios offer prenatal specific classes. Some require you to sign up for a set number of weeks — say 2 classes a week for 6 weeks. Others offer drop-in options. Give your selected studio a call to check what their preferred method is.
While there is no law against practicing in a "regular" class (one not specifically for pregnant women), make sure you don’t end up in a heated yoga class and double check the intensity is appropriate for your level of fitness. Make sure if you attend a regular class and your bump isn’t quite noticeable to strangers, you let the instructor know prior to starting the class.
So what else should you look for in a class?
1. Qualified Instructor
Find a qualified instructor that’s up to date on the latest research and news in prenatal yoga. Most respected yoga teacher training programs offer information on Prenatal yoga — specifically the restrictions, safety concerns, and suggested asanas for each trimester.
While it definitely is not a requirement, some women feel more comfortable with a female instructor who has been through pregnancy and childbirth, as they can relate to the common aches, pains, and side effects, as well as the recovery post-delivery.
Again, I want to stress, this is by no means a requirement, but something many women do consider when choosing a class.
2. A Class That Grows with Your Belly
A lot of Prenatal classes include women from 12 weeks all the way to 38 weeks, so make sure the one you join offers modifications and props for all stages of your pregnancy.
In the beginning, you might not need a bolster or a block for certain poses, but by the time your bun is the size of an eggplant, you’ll definitely want a studio and an instructor that can work with all stages of pregnancy.
3. A Comfortable Community Vibe
Pregnancy is a special time in your life, but it can also be nerve-wracking and stressful with the pressure not to do anything wrong. It’s important to find a class where you can be comfortable, ask the questions you need to ask, get the modifications and personal attention you need, and feel supported as your body (and mind!) changes.
If a modification isn’t offered, ask for one. Or if you’re unsure of something, feel comfortable asking the instructor for additional help.
So whether you’re a newbie yogini or a daily practicing pro, Prenatal yoga is beneficial for you and your bubba. Have a bit of a Google with the above tips in mind and find a local class that fits you just right.
Are there any other things you look for in a prenatal yoga class? We’d love to know!