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August 26, 2009

Yoga-first trimester

Early pregnancy can be a pretty nerve-racking cause everyone's telling you what to do and worse still, what not to do. Some helpful things I've heard regarding unwanted advice during pregnancy:
  • It's about them and not about you.
  • It's just practice for being a parent, you'll be getting plenty of unsolicited advice from here on in!
Back to yoga, I've been sifting through the advice for the useful bits and here's what I've come up with.

In the first trimester you'll likely be feeling pretty gross and exercise won't be the top of your agenda. So if you don't want to, don't do it. You really can afford to rest now and make up for it later when you feel stronger.

If you've been doing yoga for a long time and you aren't feeling too gross then you won't need to adjust your yoga routine much in the first few months. My teacher advised me to go easy on squats. If you've been doing back bends and headstands for a long time you may feel strong enough to continue. Breath of fire or bundha's (locks) in the abdomen area are no good for pregnant women. Of course mulabundha, which is a lock of the base chakra, is the same as what we call pelvic floor exercises, so this one is great.

There are some general things pregnant women ought to know about exercise:
  • Be careful about over heating, this can be quite dangerous
  • Stay hydrated, your body is making all sorts of new fluid (amniotic fluid, new blood, the embryo itself is still fluid) so don't let yourself dry out
  • Your body is making a new hormone called relaxin, which allows your body to open for birth. Relaxin also makes you more flexible so you have to be extra careful not to overstretch
  • Lying on your back may be uncomfortable, but as long as it's comfortable it's not dangerous
  • You may be experiencing both low blood pressure and low blood sugar. Be careful standing or sitting up quickly. If you feel dizzy sit straight down.
I personally felt uncomfortable with positions on my stomach (like cobra) just because of the nausea. If anything makes you feel sick, just don't do it.

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