“When can I start” or “Should I stop regular yoga” is a common question about Prenatal Yoga.
Yoga has incredible benefits for your body and your baby but it also affects the nervous system (in a good way!). It helps to calm and soothe your body. You’ll read and hear all kinds of opinions about when to start prenatal yoga. The most important factors are safety and also listening to your body and doing things that feel good and right. In general, I recommend being cautious in those early weeks and cocooning your baby who is nestled inside of you, developing all of their major systems. After talking to countless OBs and midwives, and researching what the Yoga Masters recommend, I recommend waiting until you’re at least 10 weeks along in your pregnancy to begin prenatal yoga if you have never done it before.
Pattabhi Jois (the founder of Ashtanga / Power yoga) himself recommended that you do not do Ashtanga or Power Yoga in the first trimester. It’s generally agreed in the yoga community that you shouldn’t do a Hot Yoga class either while pregnant. Your body temperature should not go that high since it can affect the development of the baby.
After 10-12 weeks, your pregnancy is generally considered well established. After that, you can start anytime you feel comfortable up until the end of your pregnancy.
What if I’m nauseaus?
Some women feel like prenatal yoga helps reduce nausea. Others like to wait until their nausea has faded some. It’s up to you. In general, if you’re feeling o.k., then it’s fine to start prenatal yoga.
What if I’m High Risk?
If you’re high risk, you will need clearance from your doctor or midwife before registering. I’ve had plenty of high risk women in my classes, which benefit greatly from the relaxation and anxiety reducing benefits of prenatal yoga. But you need that clearance, girly! You don’t want to risk anything as precious as a baby, nor do I.
What if I’ve been doing yoga already? Should I stop?
It depends what kind. Pattabhi Jois himself recommended that you do not do Ashtanga or Power Yoga in the first trimester. It’s generally agreed in the yoga community that you shouldn’t do a Hot Yoga class either while pregnant. Your body temperature should not go that high since it can affect the development of the baby.
With all other types of yoga, I would check with your personal instructor. There are specific poses you shouldn’t do or that need to be modified when you’re pregnant. Generally though, if it’s a gentle type of yoga, then by all means keep practicing if your body feels the need, even in your first trimester. It is considered safe to continue practicing if you already have a regular practice. The most important thing is to listen to your body and what it needs during pregnancy.
When should I switch from Regular to Prenatal Yoga?
Most women at some point will want to join a Prenatal Yoga class versus staying in their regular class. Your body slows down, it’s harder to breath, there are poses you shouldn’t do and it’s nice to be around other pregnant women in a more gentle class. That usually happens sometime during the second trimester.