This post is written for pregnant yogis & for those who’d like to understand us a bit better!
First trimester yogis
For many of you a time of excitement, growth, and uncertainty, these first three months are an adventure!
As a pregnant yogi myself, I understand that keeping up your yoga practice can be difficult! For the first couple of months, I struggled to even get up to do simple tasks. I just wanted to sleep all day and night. It gets better though! In a few months, you’ll be full(ish) of energy again! In the meantime, get that extra rest AND try to get up to exercise for at least 30 minutes a day. That could translate to a simple walk around the block, an easy swim, or a gentle yoga practice. Each pregnant mama is different. Some of us can run a marathon in the first trimester while others, like myself, have never been able to run a marathon and shouldn’t start now. Some of us need to be gentle with ourselves; others can charge on with their routines and workouts. Find where you are on the spectrum and adjust.
Some common symptoms besides tiredness are nausea, dizziness, and stuffy noses! A lot of the symptoms are caused by hormonal and blood pressure changes. We’ve all heard of morning sickness as a symptom. If you’re part of the majority that suffers from nausea, remember that it should only get better after the first trimester. I was one of the lucky ones who was nausea free for the most part. Instead, I had the dizziness and stuffy nose. I couldn’t breathe through my nose for over two months! (I tried peppermint essential oils, a neti pot, allergy medicine…sadly nothing helped the inflammation and extra mucus. TMI?)
First Trimester’s Yoga Challenges: Pranayama (Breath control), Uttanasana (forward folds), Downward facing dog, Fast movement up and down, Balances
Adjustments: Breathing through mouth, slow up and down movements, and using a wall for balance
Second trimester yogis
I’m currently in my second trimester and feel pretty good! I have most of my energy back, which is a pretty big deal. I pulled out my planner again and have been motivated to reach my goals. Exercising almost daily hasn’t been difficult either lately. (Edit a week later: But some days, moving is frustrating. My body is growing daily and that is both a physical and mental adjustment!)
Also, my dizziness isn’t as constant and my ability to breath regularly is mostly back. Although I occasionally feel lightheaded during my yoga practice and outside of it, it doesn’t happen everyday now. Keep drinking plenty of water to help counteract any blood pressure changes and to keep leg cramps at bay. Also, eat every couple of hours (I love this part!).
During the first 20 weeks of pregnancy, your hormones are greatly changing. Your blood vessels dilate as your body produces more blood. At times, this can make you either lightheaded or heavy with a headache.
Try not to lay on your back for too long! The baby is heavy enough to compress a major blood vessel now when you’re lying flat on your back. I find laying down and getting back up too complicated anyway now, so I choose to avoid supine poses when possible.
Symptoms: Dizziness, lightheaded, headaches, leg cramps
Second trimester’s yoga challenges & adjustments:
Challenge 1: Closed twists
Adjustment 1: Open twists: Twist away from your front knee, find space/ Try a gentle twist
Challenge 2: Supine poses (on back)
Adjustment 2: Seated poses: Try the same poses like twists, side stretches, etc. while seated.
Challenge 3: Balances
Adjustment 3: Use a wall or other supporting device to help you keep your balance while finding the proper alignment.
Challenge 4: On-the-Belly poses
Adjustment 4: Try these poses seated. Cat-cows can replace any cobras or up dogs; camel pose can replace bow pose. Be creative!
Third trimester yogis
I’m not there yet, but I’ve done some research!
Be gentle with yourself. Listen to your body. Your body is pretty good at giving you signs of fatigue and exertion.
Try to keep your posture up! Tendency is to release your lower back because your belly is heavier and bigger now. But, this can contribute to some major back pain. So stand tall, sit down when needed, and gently hug that baby in with your ab muscles.
Last tip: Get plenty of rest. You’re almost there!
Symptoms: Fatigue, carrying more weight, swollen feet/legs, lower back pain, shortness of breath
Third Trimester’s Yoga Challenges: Steady breathing, Supine positions, Stomach positions, Twists, Balances, Everything Else (JK!)
Adjustments: Slow down, choose alternative poses (not on back or stomach), twist gently, use the wall for balances, and meditate often 😉
For more third trimester information, I found this great detailed article in Yoga Journal.
Note: I’m not an expert and do not have a prenatal yoga certification! I’m just a yogi who is pregnant, has done some reading, and has attended a couple brief prenatal yoga “workshops” during my generalized yoga teacher training. XO