Yoga and Exercise Build Strength During Pregnancy

By Karen Woodman, Obstetrics PT

 

Yoga is a safe way to improve flexibility and build your strength during pregnancy, but there are some precautions. Keep in mind the following recommendations before you start any yoga program:
 
  • Avoid extreme end-range twisting movements. Remember, your ligaments are lax and you are more prone to spinal injury with extreme movements, especially if you are combining twisting and bending (never a good idea, actually).
  • Avoid 'Downward Dog'. Yes, I know…it is a common yoga pose, but it is not recommended during pregnancy because the increased pressure of the abdomen being pushed into your ribcage in a prolonged standing with head down position compromises the diaphragm and your ability to breath. It also can lead to lightheadedness. Just skip it to be safe.
  • Avoid 'hot' yoga. You don't want your core body temperature to rise over 102 degrees or there is an increased risk of neural tube defects.
  • Drink lots of water…you can dehydrate quickly with exercise.
  • Monitor your tolerance to exercise. If you feel like the exercise is causing you to pant or feel hot and sweaty, slow down.
To get started, try this Top Ten Pregnancy Yoga website for review of some of the videos available. Please let me know about any other good ones out there! I am not making any specific recommendations, so keep in mind the above tips when choosing any exercise program, and have fun!