Yoga Inversions During Pregnancy - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 3 Old 07-21-2010, 11:21 PM - Thread Starter
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My yoga teacher says that inversions are great during pregnancy. But everything I read online says it isn't safe and better to avoid it. What do you think?
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#2 of 3 Old 07-22-2010, 05:51 AM
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it depends upon a lot of factors.

first, it depends upon what the teachers is classifying as inversions. standing forward bend, downward dog--these are technically inversions, but most people don't think of them this way. those are generally safe for pregnancy.

likewise, certain back bends also are inversions--such as bridge pose and upward bow pose. these can be excellent for pregnancy, but they can also be risky depending upon the practitioner and her unique situation. so, most books and such might leave these out (or contraindicate them) simply because a small population of pregnant women might be at risk by doing them.

finally, more intensive inversions such as crow's pose (also called crane), hand stand, and head stand are commonly contraindicated, as are shoulderstand. the reason for this is really due to the experience of the practitioner (and also teacher in some cases), as opposed to whether or not it's "ok" for pregnancy in general. they are--but really only for experienced practitioners. most people coming to prenatal yoga are beginners, starting because they are pregnant. so, these sorts of inversions are generally avoided to keep these women safe from injuries that the postures could cause with the changed center of gravity and such, not because they would cause harm to the baby per se.

as ever in yoga, you are in charge. so while the teacher might encourage certain inversions, you needn't do them if you do not think or feel they are right for you.

personally, i did scorpion pose in the hand stand version and have photographs of it two weeks before the baby's birth (but around his EDD), so that's a pretty hefty inversion, back bend for being that full-on pregnant. but, i felt comfortable doing it, and so i did it.
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#3 of 3 Old 07-22-2010, 08:41 AM
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i agree with zoebird that it depends on what you are calling an inversion. i personally don't practice full inversions (ie handstand, headstand, shoulder stand) beyond about 25-30 weeks because 1) it doesn't feel good/comfortable to me physically or energetically 2) once i put on about 20 extra pounds it feels like too much extra weight for me to comfortable support in headstand or shoulder stand

each time it has been somewhat different (i've practiced and taught through 2 pregnancies) as to when i stop, and i base it entirely on how i am feeling while practicing. i think these are definitely not asanas to *learn* while you're pregnant, if for no other reason than that they require a lot of core stability and that can be weakened/compromised during pregnancy due to the relaxin hormones and the stretching of the abdominal muscles. i also stop practicing deep back bends around that same time, and for me that is because i can not maintain my bandhas or hold my abdominis recti together properly once my abdominals are stretched out beyond a certain point.

so like zoebird said, it's different for each individual. listen to your body, and you'll be OK
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