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Women need not abandon their yoga practices when they become pregnant. In fact, studies have shown that women who exercise (moderately and safely, of course) during pregnancy may feel better during preganancy, labor, and delivery compared with sedentary women.
But be sure to tell your obstetrician that you practice yoga and that you would like to continue a modified practice while you are pregnant. If you practiced yoga regularly before your pregnancy, you may be able to continue with your regular classes during the first trimester if you don't have any complications (and if you feel up to it).
Yoga during pregnancy, particularly after the first trimester, does require some special considerations. You should look for a “pregnancy yoga” or prenatal yoga class that is taught by someone who has actually been pregnant; she will have a real-world understanding of the limitations and changes in your body. As you get bigger, use more props such as blocks and straps, to help you work through poses, and use a wall or a chair to help you keep your balance when you're doing balancing poses such as tree pose.
If you can't find a convenient prenatal yoga class, you can choose a "pregnancy yoga" DVD, such as the “Simple Steps to a Balanced, Natural Pregnancy” from Gaiam's collection of wellness DVDs.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|