Prenatal Yoga and Movement
Preparing the body and mind for childbirth is a trip, and we could all use a little roadmap. To help you create your own path, I’m sharing some tips I’ve learned through prenatal yoga teacher training and my own motherhood journey. Please see below and leave a comment to let me know what you think!
Five Tips for Prenatal Yoga
1. Keep in mind the sensations in the pregnant body will differ during yoga practice than your experience before becoming pregnant. You may not feel familiar "stretches" you're used to, partly because the body is producing more relaxin to let your belly grow, your ligaments loosen, and eventually prepare for labor. That relaxin can actually make stretching easier, which is why it's even more important to go easy with prenatal yoga.
2. Lunges should be with the back knee down and 90 degree angles in the knees. Imagine a lifting UP sensation rather than a shifting forward movement, which can overstretch the round ligament and cause groin pain.
3. Twists should be "open," (i.e., twist in the opposite direction of the top knee) and to about 50-60% of your effort. The upper-back cue "twist above the braline" is a good practice, too.
4. Side bends of all types are SO good for the low back to release tension and to create more space.
5. Cultivating an awareness of the breath is super important in prenatal yoga, so you can use it as a tool during labor and birth.
More Prenatal yoga resources:
Stoked Yogi - Hilarious observations and thoughtful advice on pregnancy and mermaid-hood, I mean motherhood
Core Compressions and Kegels
Every Mother is an excellent resource for mindful movement in the motherhood journey. I didn’t know about the risk of abdominal separation (diastasis recti abdominis, or DRA) before I was diagnosed with it following the birth of my son. [It’s not standard to check for DRA in the 6-week postpartum appointment, so be sure to ask your provider to check you for it]. While it’s a condition affecting the majority of mamas postpartum, there is little knowledge even in the medical community about preventing or resolving it.
Starting around 8 weeks postpartum, I followed Every Mother’s Embody Reclaim path for 12 weeks and made significant progress in resolving my DRA. The approach of 10 minutes of core compressions a day is very doable for a new mom, and their mobile app makes sticking to it easy, since you can do the workouts anytime, anywhere.
One video that I found amazingly helpful when I was pregnant was from Spinning Babies and Blooma Yoga, it's called "Daily Essentials: Activities for Pregnancy Comfort & Easier Birth." It talks about everything from how to safely get in and out of the car with a giant belly to a 30 min yoga flow that helped me so much I DID IT EVERY DAY in the last several months of my pregnancy.
Here are Spinning Babies’ tips for daily movement for pregnancy comfort and ease in childbirth. Bottom line: walk every day, do forward leaning inversions, sit well, stretch, and rest well.
Questions about prenatal yoga and movement? Leave them here or reach out to email@example.com. Namaste, mamas.