Prenatal yoga - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 04-14-2010, 11:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi everyone! Quick question for any mamas out there who teach/practice yoga.

I went to my local yoga studio yesterday for the first time to join the prenatal yoga class. The owner asked how far along I was (9 weeks) and she said that I shouldn't do yoga between the 11th and 13th week, because of developmental issues for the fetus. I'm just wondering if anyone else has heard this and what it's based on. I'm going to contact the prenatal yoga class instructor and see if she can give me more information but I just wanted to ask you ladies!

Lisa ~ Homeschooling mama to 9yo ds and 7yo dd both born at home and expecting #3 in November!
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#2 of 10 Old 04-14-2010, 12:27 PM
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the prenatal yoga class i attend won't let women join until they are 14 weeks. i don't know why that is but it sounds in keeping with your instructor's advice.

Me, DW , and DS born 7/6/10
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#3 of 10 Old 04-14-2010, 12:40 PM
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Ours is the same. I have, however, been going to a fitness yoga class taught by a prenatal-certified instructor. It's been great because it's a lot more challenging but she knows what I should modify/omit.

I have found that liability plays a role in what you can and cannot do in prenatal, at least in our studio: we cannot do any balance poses without touching the wall, for instance. I wonder if that is the primary reason they don't start prenatal till the 2nd tri?

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#4 of 10 Old 04-14-2010, 12:59 PM
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I started prenatal yoga at 9 weeks in this pregnancy and did "yogalates" in my previous two pregnancies from conception until 20 weeks. No one ever mentioned this to me- I would love to know the reasoning if anyone finds out!
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#5 of 10 Old 04-14-2010, 01:13 PM
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It is my belief that, the decision to practice yoga (or not) during the 1st trimester is an individual matter. With this said, I also believe that if you haven't practiced yoga before, you should probably go with the advice of your instructor/studio, simply because you don't really have any other frame of reference. Certainly, it is not unusual for women to be told not to practice yoga during the 1st trimester. I think that this has historically always been case, in yoga tradition (not a yoga history expert by any means, so please correct me if I'm wrong!).

However - I've been practicing yoga for around 12 years now, and have continued to practice throughout my first trimester (I'm at 14 weeks today). For the last 18 months, I've been regularly attending an Ashtanga class, which is certainly quite physically challenging, but I have felt comfortable doing almost everything I was doing before I got pregnant, with the exception of some of the deeper back bends, deep twists, and upward facing dog. I also skip the occasional vinyasa, because I definitely tire more quickly than I used to :yawning.

Once I found out I was pregnant, I spoke at length to my yoga instructor about practicing during the 1st trimester. Her advice was quite simple: do what you feel comfortable doing (paying particular attention to the deep twists/backbends, as these can often be uncomfortable for pregnant women). She believes - as do I - that your body is the best gauge for what you should, and should not be doing. If something feels uncomfortable, don't do it. Her advice was based around the fact that because I have been practicing yoga for quite a long time, I was at a point where I could make the distinction between a challenging (but healthy) pose, and one that could be injurious.

Funnily enough, the founder of Ashtanga (Sri K. Pattabhi Jois) believed that women should not practice Ashtanga Yoga at all during the first trimester! However, he was not a woman and did not know the experience of being pregnant, and how capable pregnant women actually are, so I choose to ignore him in this instance .

As I mentioned in my first paragraph, though - if you're entirely new to yoga, take it easy and follow the advice of your instructor. I don't think there is really a sensible alternative, and you certainly don't want to push yourself in a way that is damaging to you or your baby.

Catherine, DH and DS kid.gif Dylan Michael, born 9/23/10 
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#6 of 10 Old 04-14-2010, 01:52 PM - Thread Starter
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I am new to taking yoga classes but have done a few DVD's in the past. The class I took seemed pretty laid back and definitely geared towards pregnant women (obviously) I felt like it wasn't anything more than my body/baby can handle, so I think I'll go back next Tuesday and ask the instructor about it (the instructor last time was a sub).

The only time I got uncomfortable was during a forward fold pose, so I just modified it to not bend too far.

I just thought it was curious that she mentioned the 11th - 13 week as the time to not practice. It seemed very specific. Not just the first trimester.

Lisa ~ Homeschooling mama to 9yo ds and 7yo dd both born at home and expecting #3 in November!
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#7 of 10 Old 04-14-2010, 02:10 PM
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I've never heard this before and I've been doing yoga for a long time. I've been too busy and sick lately so it hasn't come up yet with this pregnancy (14 weeks now and haven't been to a class nor done my at home practice since before Christmas. ) but with DS I continued with a regular fairly easy Hatha class throughout pregnancy. As pregnancy progressed, I made my own modifications based on intution, common sense and advice I'd picked up on on-line and in prenatal dvds.

If there had been a prenatal class close to me, I would have gone but as it was, I felt very confident in a regular class right up until 39 weeks.

Happy mumma to my boys Henny Tom (Nov 30, 2008), Arlo Odie (Oct 5, 2010), and baby SISTER! due mid-Dec 2014.
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#8 of 10 Old 04-14-2010, 02:46 PM
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I think the concern is that women who have never done yoga before find out they are pregnant and then head into a prenatal or regular class without having done yoga before. The body has a memory, and if you have already been a practitioner, the body will already be adjusted to the movement and there won't be much of a concern. However, I had a newly pregnant woman come to my class and push herself into postures that she shouldn't have been doing, simply because I am pregnant and therefore if I can do it, she should be able too. I gave her many modifications and even still she came into king pidgeon (hey, the body is limber and open during pregnancy so I can do it!) and injured the area around her IT band. It was so bad she had to stop almost everything except for prenatal water class.

I guess it's just scary sometimes for the instructor when there are new pg women who may be new to yoga as well and feel like since their body FEELS more open, they should be able to things they couldn't previously do. Especially in the beginning some may feel that since they arent' really showing or feeling anything yet, it's all fair game.

One of my teacher friends who used to practice with B.K.S. Iyengar said he would tell pregnant women that you practice yoga for 6 months after the baby too (breath in, breath out, this to shall pass), so you dont' have to feel bad about missing practice after baby comes

Aidan 8/11/99 Bryn 9/7/04 Jardin is here! 8/23/10 ~Kindness is My Religion~ Dalai Lama
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#9 of 10 Old 04-14-2010, 10:05 PM
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Our studio lets us start at 12 weeks, though I think people already in classes before pregnancy are welcome to stay in them until they feel a need to switch to prenatal.

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#10 of 10 Old 04-15-2010, 12:14 AM
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I have been practicing Iyengar yoga for about three years and my instructor also mentioned to me that 11-13 weeks is a critical time because it is the period when the placenta is implanting. Who knows for sure if there is anything that yoga could do that would disturb the implantation but it is probably not to bad to take it easy during that time. For the 11-13 weeks period she continued to exclude the poses that focus on the abs and really limited or supported standing poses.

Not sure if this is what your instructor had in mind but it is a possible explanation.
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